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Bersin & Associates Announces the 2012 Learning Leaders™ Winners and Complimentary Research Report Showcasing Strategies for Success

Winning Organizations Focus on Business Alignment, Metrics, Social Networking, and Simplicity

Oakland, CA – Feb 8, 2012 – Bersin & Associates, the premier research and consulting firm empowering Human Resources (HR) organizations to drive bottom-line impact, today announced the winners of the Bersin & Associates 2012 Learning Leaders Program, now in its sixth year. The firm also announced the availability of its report on the 31 winners, titled Learning Leaders™ 2012: Lessons from the Best.

The complimentary, 108-page report details how winners improved their businesses with innovative, efficient and effective approaches to employee learning and talent management. This year’s Learning Leaders™ winners emerged from hundreds of applicants – including industry leaders in management consulting, hospitality, business-process and document management, financial services, and wind power. Executed in the face of a challenging economic recovery, winning programs focused on business alignment, measurement, social networking, and simplicity. As in past years, Bersin & Associates conducted the awards program in partnership with Elearning! magazine.

“This year’s Learning Leaders demonstrate that the focus of learning has evolved from simply building a skill set to driving the right skills for competitive business advantage,” said Kim Lamoureux, Senior Director of Research Practices and Principal Analyst. “Learning teams increasingly measure how training and development contribute to the top and bottom lines of their organization. Social networking for the first time played a role in almost every entry, enabling learning and talent leaders to leverage the expertise of their people to find new talent and train current employees without creating formal programs. ”

Another core theme: simplicity. “At a time when rapid change is commonplace and employees must juggle conflicting priorities, simplicity is becoming really important,” Lamoureux said. "Finding ways to deliver simple solutions requires innovative thinking, and this year’s winners demonstrated a drive to make it very easy to meet one critical learning or talent need successfully.”

Bersin & Associates’ report explains winning strategies and best practices for employee learning and development. For example, it tells how Cisco’s new year-long training program for new sales representatives uses virtual delivery, rather than in-person classroom sessions, and blends formal training with on-the-job experience. The program has made associates 10 percent more efficient upon moving into the field, which translates to $111 million in increased bookings for the year.Elearning! magazine features winners in its February special issue.

“True innovation is the differentiator of high performing organizations,” said Catherine Upton, CEO and Publisher, Elearning! Media Group. “Despite a challenging business environment, the 2012 Learning Leaders have embraced new business processes and technologies to build competitive advantage. We are honored to present the 2012 Learning Leaders to the global community via Elearning! and Government Elearning! magazines.”

Learning Leaders categories and winners include:

Leadership Development Strategy Excellence

  • AT&T, for a strategy anchored by a portfolio of learning offerings known as Leading with Distinction (LwD). This program helps leaders at all levels to enhance their capabilities, challenging participants to identify opportunities for driving significant business success, and encouraging collaboration across business units and geographic boundaries.
  • Grant Thornton, for its LEADS leadership development strategy, designed to develop leaders who live Grant Thornton’s global vision and values. Participants in just one element of LEADS – the Senior Manager Development Program – attributed more than $17 million in new revenue over the past 18 months to the effective implementation of the strategy.
  • IRS, for a strategy that addresses the impending retirement of 65 percent of its senior leaders. The agency has developed a mix of formal and informal learning opportunities, including coaching and mentoring, to shorten the leadership development process so that a potential leader could progress to executive readiness in about half the approximate 18 years it now takes.
  • Marriott International, for a leadership development program and strategy that leverages a global framework while permitting adaptation as needed. One year after implementing the program, Marriott saw the time to fill senior leadership roles decline by 25 percent to 55 days.

Learning, Leadership and Talent Initiative Excellence: Informal Learning

  • Accenture, for its newly integrated content and community site. By making resources available in one place, the organization achieved a 42 percent increase in the number of employees engaging in collaboration activities.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton, its enhanced, multi-faceted mentoring program. The program aligns with business goals and talent strategies; meets employees’ needs for affiliation, connection and development; gives employees greater control; and helps the organization build its talent pipeline.
  • Marriott International, for a self-service program that helped 130,000 associates worldwide prepare for a transition to Windows 7/Office 2010. The organization saved $50,000 by repurposing existing e-Learning resources. Feedback on the relevance, appearance and cost-effectiveness of offerings and tools has been positive.

Learning, Leadership and Talent Initiative Excellence: Leadership Development Programs

  • CA Technologies, for its Management Academy curriculum. Presented via a modular set of more than 100 formal and informal learning offerings, the curriculum advances managers’ skills and allows them to choose the tools that will benefit them most. The performance-management compliance rate improved an average of 7 percent.
  • PwC, for a global leadership development program known as Genesis Park. The program uses blended learning and social networking and culminates in an intensive 10-week residential experience. It accelerates the development of top managers into resilient, responsible and authentic leaders.
  • SunTrust Banks, Inc., for its “Advanced Leadership Program” (ALP), an executive development program designed to drive employee engagement and business transformation. A formal business impact analysis correlated leadership engagement levels to improved financial performance. Engagement levels of ALP graduates ranked significantly higher than other leaders in the company. SunTrust has demonstrated a clear linkage between ALP and increased sales, revenues and new client relationships.

Learning, Leadership, and Talent Initiative Excellence: Learning and Talent Technology

  • AT&T , for a learning management system consolidation that brought all leader-led learning, virtual classrooms, simulations and Web-based training onto one platform. The new system has generated millions of dollars worth of savings in headcount and IT infrastructure.
  • Hewlett-Packard, for its Social Learning Center for Sales Skills, an environment that supports a wide variety of learning assets, including video, documents, discussions, blogs, polls, events and games. HP introduced the approach first to its Imaging and Printing Group and has now rolled out the platform to its entire sales force.
  • Vestas Wind Systems, for developing an approach called achievement-based learning in which learners choose pathways for achieving specified goals. Options include taking a class, consulting a colleague or finding another way “unlock the achievement.” Forty-two percent of the learners studied unlocked all achievements that they attempted, vs. an estimated 30 percent for standard e-learning courses.

Learning, Leadership, and Talent Initiative Excellence: Operational Training and Development

  • AT&T, for a two-pronged training program that helped to unite separate collections organizations after a merger. One workshop series for collections representatives built skills through audio examples, learning activities and role-playing. A second series helped managers to build coaching skills and effectiveness. The initiative resulted in a 5 percent increase in overall dollars collected per call.
  • Xerox Corporation, for its Service Delivery eXcellence initiative. This blended training program included on-demand course materials, instructor-led virtual classrooms, a wiki site and other online resources that helped the company deliver consistent learning effectively across regions and time zones, and in different languages.

Learning Organizations and Governance Excellence

  • AT&T, for a learning organization that consists of two primary branches – its corporate AT&T University and Learning Services – governed by multiple learning councils and task teams. The approach helps to promote productivity, ensure business alignment and build credibility with senior leaders.
  • HCL Technologies, for the collaborative work of TechCEED, the company’s technical training team, in successfully partnering with business units across the organization through the implementation of the Business Aligned Training Academy model. This collaborative model has promoted agility and innovation, reduced the cycle time for processing training requests, and enabled business units to direct resources to their highest priorities.
  • Jiffy Lube, for the collaborative work of its centralized training department, Jiffy Lube University (JLU); and the Training Committee of the Jiffy Lube Association of Franchisees. JLU provides learning content and promotes best practices, while Training Committee members provide a broad perspective on the needs of employee learners across the enterprise.
  • Xerox Corporation, for optimizing a federated organizational model through its Global Learning Network. The corporate Global Learning organization provides process leadership and governance, and sets enterprise-wide learning strategies. Other members of the network are empowered to translate the direction set by the Global Learning Network into practices and programs that best meet business needs.

Vendor Innovation in Learning and Talent Management: Business Solutions/Content

  • Capital Analytics, for its Business Impact and Optimization Methodology, a collaborative and statistically rigorous process for isolating and improving the business impact of human capital investments.
  • Dextro, for its work with the government-sponsored México Emprende Initiative. Over the course of a year, Dextro provided training to 3,000 Mexican micro businesses on an array of topics to promote long-term sustainability. At the time it applied, the company planned to reach another 5,000 businesses.
  • GlobalEnglish, for its Corporate Learning Service platform (its latest version is now known as GlobalEnglish Edge™). The platform helps to develop long-term proficiency in business English and provides real-time performance support for learners on-the-job.
  • Korn/Ferry International, for its Korn/Ferry Navigator, a modular leadership development program that helps clients direct resources to development of the skills and characteristics that are most crucial, in greatest demand or best suited to their specific needs and goals.
  • Vangent, for a turnkey talent- and operations-management solution it provided to the U.S. Census Bureau. Vangent played a vital role in operations, processing more than 75 million forms, handling more than 11.5 million citizen contact calls, and providing key human capital solutions to ensure high productivity and exceptional contract performance.

Vendor Innovation in Learning and Talent Management: Platform/Tools

  • Allen Communication Learning Services, for DesignJot, an Apple iPad application designed as a tool for instructional designers and professionals in the learning and development industry. It facilitates collaboration between designers and stakeholders.
  • KnowledgeAdvisors, for it Talent Development Reporting Principles (TDRP), a standardized framework for reporting on the current state of talent development within an organization. The company hopes the framework will be broadly adopted, providing a common terminology and measures that will promote understanding of successful practices and enable meaningful comparisons across organizations.
  • Triple Creek, for Open Mentoring, a Web-based, Software-as-a-Service product that offers a configurable, scalable system for enterprise mentoring and structured social learning in dispersed organizations.
  • Work4 Labs, for Work for Us, an application that helps companies leverage social media to find, engage, and hire top candidates. Work for Us enables recruiters to post jobs directly on their company’s Facebook page, to socialize distribution and referrals through candidate connections and to automatically create targeted job ads to reach relevant candidates based on their education, work history, location, and interests.

Vendor Innovation in Learning and Talent Management: Informal

  • Bloomfire, for its social learning suite, a platform for social learning using PC and mobile devices. Knowledge-givers can use its simple authoring and uploading tools to package what they have to share in videos, documents, text messages and other formats. Knowledge receivers can search and browse, and get answers from questions submitted to their peers.
  • SuccessFactors, for Jam, an enterprise social software platform, and SuccessFactors Social Learning, a social learning solution powered by Jam. SuccessFactors Social Learning facilitates the creation and sharing of video, embedded screen captures, communities, wikis and blogs, and supports native mobile apps for iPhone/iPad, Android and Blackberry

Learning Leaders™ winners will be recognized at Bersin & Associates’ research conference, IMPACT 2012: The Business of Talent, April 10-13. In addition, HR, learning and talent practitioners from winning organizations – past and present – will participate in panel discussions and present case studies on a wide range of topics. Organizations to be represented include AT&T, Accenture, Cisco, Kelly Services and Xerox Corporation.

To receive a complimentary copy of the Bersin & Associates Learning Leaders 2012: Lessons from the Best report, go to For more information on the Learning Leaders Program, go to To join the mailing list for Learning Leaders Program news, updates, and the next call for applications, contact Learning

To learn more about Bersin & Associates or its WhatWorks® membership, e-mail or call (510) 251-4400.

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Bersin & Associates empowers HR and learning organizations to drive bottom-line impact through world-class research and consulting. The company's WhatWorks® membership gives human resources, learning and talent-acquisition professionals the information and tools they need to drive change in their organizations as strategic business partners.

Members use Bersin & Associates’ insights and tools to benchmark themselves against best practices, design and implement programs across the HR and learning spectrum and select and implement systems. A piece of Bersin & Associates research is downloaded every other minute during the business day. More than 5,000 organizations worldwide, including more than 60 percent of the Fortune 100, use Bersin & Associates research and consulting to guide their learning, talent, and human resources strategies.