Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Veterans Affairs Learning University at Corporate University Week

My live blogged notes from Corporate University Week.
Alice Muellerweiss, Dean at Veterans Affairs Learning University
Trained 200,000 in the first 9 months of the learning organization. Veterans Affairs Learning University (VALU) started in 2008ish…
Support over 20,000 Veterans
Strengthen the way we serve veterans by employing more veterans – Recruit, Retain, Reintegrate our Veterans
VA for Vets program: goal is 40% Veterans working within VA
Diverse mission (still serving two family members from the Civil War!)
Mission to transform the VA to a 21st Century Org. We had antiquated systems and processes. Had a staff of 16 – had to hire in a leadership team…
16 initiatives from healthcare to backlog to human capital.
People will make the mission. Taking care of people is about developing them.
Had three stovepipes: Health, Benefits and Memorial Affairs
Created competencies, measurement, lots and lots of activities…
Don’t have a brick and mortar…people go to training on their site (more convenient for student).
When do bring in sr. execs use other people’s infrastructure (hotels) – to save money, to stay agile
10% training is f2f; 90% is online.
MyCareer at VA – just rolled out this portal. employees can see and chart their path for development. Tools to determine if they’re fit for a particular job.
In the military, you have a path…from private to general.
People leave their organizations for two reasons: their supervisor, lack of career development.
Reginald Vance, was IT initiative lead – became Director of Learning Infrastructure at VA
Human Capital Investment Plan (HCIP) – 4-5 projects identified (these pulled out to 22 projects that needed to be managed)
VA LMS was one of the first and last projects on that list.
Wanted it to be as easy as buying books online.
MyCareer at VA: Prepare, Explore, Plan, Develop – employees go into system and assess themselves to see where they are, start looking at jobs at the next level. This system just launched.
To be competent in your job to better serve our Veterans.
Providing competency model for employees, giving a career mapping tool – from an LMS to a full Talent Management System – no one else was doing this in Federal govt.
The old LMS – no one liked. Hard to log in, hard to pull records.
Went out and asked stakeholders what they needed, what they liked/didn’t like about system. We scrubbed everything and went back to the drawing board.
Use Plateau SaaS model as the TMS.
Serve 350,000 VA employees. Serve additional contractors.
Have since delivered millions of training instances…
  • Simplified reg/login process
  • When first login in – you see a To Do list
  • Some courses are self-assigned
  • Using video vignettes 3 or 7 or 15 minute-ish videos for just-in-time…
  • Tool helps supervisors walk through conversations with employees
  • (go check it out and use some of the tools – this stuff is public and anyone can use it).
  • Shows you where the jobs are located –
  • Shows what the future of specific jobs is (e.g., in one year it’s not going to be needed), so it’s got some forecasting capabilities
  • Outward facing and inward facing elements of the system.
At the VA, we have to defend every penny. VA got a ton of money for people development. Working hard to measure the impact.
In two years of investment seeing a pos return of 17% (learner gain on pre and post testing) – but some things have just launched so haven’t started measuring yet.
Seeing a difference in the field in the care our Veterans are getting, customer service…
The Secret Sauce
Having the champion – the senior most champion you can have (Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki)
The autonomy for vision (they were given an initiative and then had the autonomy to deliver on that)
Hiring terrific leaders – and empower them to get the job done. Hold them accountable.
The funding
Accountability (Dean Muellerweiss reports weekly and monthly on numbers)
Now have 60+ people on her team – growing to 73; a number of vendor partners; lots of learning leaders across VA (they don’t report to Dean – they help get training to the field);
Initially had to outsource a lot of their training function now looking to bring some of this back in.
Secret sauce:
where strategy fails: when the strategy is developed by one person and handed off.  Have to develop it together.
For the VA – it’s been time critical to launch the portal – if it’s not integrated into the fabric of the VA it could go away with the next political appointment.
Note: later in the afternoon, the VA team won the award at CU Week for best new corporate university.


Kelly Meeker said...

Really cool to see that they're delivering 90% of training online - I don't expect bigger bureaucratic organizations to be so successful in transitioning their learning!

Steve said...

VA is pretty awesome with online learning content. They've *figured it out* for their audience.