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Advice on Buy-In, Training, & Creating Cultural Change (Interview)

Q. What are your responsibilities as a training process manager at Nationwide Insurance?

We manage Tier 1 projects throughout the enterprise. My job is to lead thought around learning needs in the project space, facilitate business readiness and design and develop any necessary programming or materials required for business readiness.

Q. Do you believe that there is a relationship between training and growth strategies?

Both strategically and functionally.

A culture of learning aligns with any successful growth strategy, which needs people to do stuff smarter and more effectively to continue to grow. And you can’t get there unless the vision is operationalized.

Q. Is there a project or initiative that you led that you are particularly proud of?

There are many, actually. I see each one as affecting the lives of our associates and customers. Change is tough, so when we are able to bring necessary change with full enthusiasm before, during and after, it is great.

Several years ago, we built a knowledge management system to replace all the sticky-notes, index cards, etc. that 400 accountants were using.

A big cultural change to say the least, but the centralized control of information was imperative from a compliance perspective. We involved the associates from the beginning, got their buy in and participation – it was a great result.

Q. Can you explain the importance of execution when it comes to handling those big changes that can affect the culture of an organization?

Simple: from a change perspective, you only get once chance to make a first impression. From a self-efficacy perspective, a successful experience is crucial.

For example, let’s say I have a new tool to record some interaction. I could have thought that the way I was doing it was just fine (so, I am a tough sell to begin with). If I try the new tool and I am either not able to work it or it fails, I will not try much in the future.

Q. What are the top five things that every training and development initiative must have in order to be successful?

1. Executive sponsorship 2. Awareness of problem/issue being addressed 3. Understanding of and buy in to “what is in it for me” 4. Shared learning objectives 5. Detailed learning plan

Q. When you built the new management system that changed the culture, how did you get leadership buy-in?

It was easy. Having a centralized control of information was a regulatory/compliance issue. The second someone prints something, it is obsolete and we no longer can control the accuracy or currency of it.

The leaders got this easily and the solution was deemed necessary to meet regulatory compliance.

Q. Where do you see the future of training in the next 5-10 years?

I think it has to evolve to a more strategic position. We have to be about managing change and preparing people to make decisions not just understand technology.

*Q. What technologies does your company use to facilitate training? *

Everything under the sun. There is an enterprise LMS, all the CBT tools under the sun and a lot of human capital.

Most important, really, is the human capital and sponsorship in learning.

Q. Why is human capital so important?

The quick answer is that nothing happens without human interaction. Strategy is not fulfilled; objectives are not met and goals are not achieved.

Anyone who believes otherwise probably is a touch delusional.

Q. What kind of tips would you give to present and future training professionals? • Learn your craft. • Continue learning. • Become a technical expert. • Be open to feedback.

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