CH 8 Organizational Culture, Structure & Design
“To do more in a day, you must do less—not do everything faster,” says Oakland, California, productivity expert Odette Pollar. If as a manager you find yourself often behind, always taking work home, doing your subordinates’ work for them, and constantly having employees seeking your approval before they can act, you’re clearly not delegating well. How do you decide when to delegate and when not to? Here are some guidelines:
-Delegate Routine & Technical Matters
Always try to delegate routine tasks and routine paperwork. When there are technical matters, let the experts handle them.
-Delegate Tasks That Help Your Subordinates Grow
Let your employees solve their own problems whenever possible. Let them try new things so they will grow in their jobs.
-Don’t Delegate Confidential & Personnel Matters
Any tasks that are confidential or that involve the evaluation, discipline, or counseling of subordinates should never be handed off to someone else.
-Don’t Delegate Emergencies
By definition, an emergency is a crisis for which there is little time for solution, and you should handle this yourself.
-Don’t Delegate Special Tasks That Your Boss Asked You to Do—Unless You Have His or Her Permission
If your supervisor entrusts you with a special assignment, such as attending a particular meeting, don’t delegate it unless you have permission to do so.
-Match the Tasks Delegated to Your Subordinates’ Skills & Abilities
While recognizing that delegation involves some risk, make your assignments appropriate to the training, talent, skills, and motivation of your employees.
Probably you can’t achieve the first without mastering the second. Although hard work and talent can take you a long way, “there is a point in everyone’s career where politics becomes more important,” says management professor Kathleen Kelley Reardon. You have to know the political climate of the company you work for, says Reardon, who is author of The Secret Handshake and It’s All Politics. “Don’t be the last person to understand how people get promoted, how they get noticed, how certain projects come to attention. Don’t be quick to trust. If you don’t understand the political machinations, you’re going to fail much more often.”
A great part of learning to negotiate the politics—that is, the different behavioral and psychological characteristics—of a particular office means learning to understand the organization’s culture. The culture consists not only of the slightly quirky personalities you encounter but also all of an organization’s normal way of doing business, as we’ll explain.
To implement a particular strategy, managers must determine the right kind of (1) organizational culture and (2) organizational structure.
This is the “social glue” that binds members of the organization together. Just as a human being has a personality—fun-loving, warm, uptight, competitive, or whatever—so an organization has a “personality,” too, and that is its culture.
Culture can vary considerably, with different organizations having differing emphases on risk taking, treatment of employees, teamwork, rules and regulations, conflict and criticism, and rewards. And the sources of these characteristics also vary. They may represent the strong views of the founders, of the reward systems that have been instituted, of the effects of competitors, and so on.
Organizational structure is concerned with who reports to whom and who specializes in what work.
Whether an organization is for-profit or nonprofit, the challenge for top managers is to create a culture and structure that will motivate its members to work together and coordinate their actions to achieve the organization’s goals. A major point is that there must be consistency among all these elements.
Clan organizations devote considerable resources to hiring and developing their employees, and they view customers as partners. Southwest Airlines is a good example of a company with a clan culture. So is online shoe seller Zappos, which encourages managers to spend 10%-20% of their off-work hours with employees.
Adhocracy cultures are well suited for startup companies, those in industries undergoing constant change, and those in mature industries that are in need of innovation to enhance growth. W. L. Gore is an example of a company with an adhocracy culture. So is Google, which urges engineers to spend 20% of their time on personal projects.
Employees are expected to work hard, react fast, and deliver quality work on time; those who deliver results are rewarded. Kia Motors, which fires executives who don’t meet their sales goals, is an example of a company with a very aggressive and competitive market culture.
Each level varies in terms of outward visibility and resistance to change, and each level influences another level.
Although managers may hope the values they espouse will directly influence employee behavior, employees don’t always “walk the talk,” frequently being more influenced by enacted values, which represent the values and norms actually exhibited in the organization. Thus, for example, an international corporation hung signs throughout the hallways of its headquarters proclaiming that “trust” was one of its driving principles (espoused value), yet had a policy of searching employees’ belongings each time they entered or exited the building (enacted value)
Example: At insurance giant AIG, people worked so hard that the joke around the offices was “Thank heavens it’s Friday, because that means there are only two more working days until Monday.”
Another example: When Peter Swinburn took over in 2008 as CEO of Molson Coors, headquartered jointly in Denver and Montreal, the company had grown into one of the world’s largest breweries through a process of 10 acquisitions and joint ventures during the preceding decade. “The challenge was getting a staff of 15,000 workers on three continents to think as one,” says one account. “There were different languages and work practices.”
Swinburn came up with an unofficial motto—”Challenge the expected”—that he hoped would motivate employees to think outside their roles. One survey found that 87% of employees said the company had a “clear vision for the future” in 2009, up from 73% in 2008.
Example: Marc Benioff is founder of cloud computing business Salesforce.com, a San Francisco company known for its great sense of social responsibility and generosity. Its spirit of philanthropy is embodied in a story called the 1-1-1 rule. “When we started the company,” Benioff says, “we took 1% of our equity [stock value] and 1% of our profit and 1% of all our employees’ time, and we put it into a… public charity. At the time, it was very easy because we had no profit, we had no time, we had no equity. But then, it turned out that our company is worth, you know, tens of billions of dollars.” Salesforce.com also runs 10,000 nonprofits for free, doesn’t charge universities for its services, and, says Benioff, delivers “hundreds of thousands of hours of community service.”
Example: Employees of New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, which makes Fat Tire Ale, are given a cruiser bicycle during their first year. After five years, they get a free brewery-hopping trip to Belgium. Ten years of employment is acknowledged with a tree planted in their name in the campus orchard. (The company boasts a 97% employment retention rate.)
Results revealed that companies with clan, adhocracy, and market cultures had significantly higher levels of employee job satisfaction, innovation, and quality of products and services. Organizations with market cultures also reported higher profits and financial growth.
At Southwest Airlines, for instance, top executives constantly reinforce the company’s message that workers should be treated like customers, and they continually celebrate employees whose contributions go beyond the call of duty.
2. It Facilitates Collective Commitment Consider 3M, one of whose corporate values is to be “a company that employees are proud to be part of.” This collective commitment results in a turnover rate of less than 3% among salaried personnel. “I’m a 27-year 3Mer because, quite frankly, there’s no reason to leave,” says one manager. “I’ve had great opportunities to do different jobs and to grow a career. It’s just a great company.”
3. It Promotes Social-System Stability
The more effectively conflict and change are managed within an organization and the more that employees perceive the work environment to be positive and reinforcing, the more stable the social system within the organization. At 3M, social stability is encouraged by promoting from within, by hiring capable college graduates in a timely manner, and by providing displaced workers 6 months to find new jobs.
4. It Shapes Behavior by Helping Employees Make Sense of Their Surroundings
The culture helps employees understand why the organization does what it does and how it intends to accomplish its long-term goals. 3M sets expectations for innovation, for example, by having an internship and co-op program, which provides 30% of the company’s new college hires.
Sometimes culture can be strong enough to take the place of structure; that is, the expectations of the culture replace formal rules and regulations. In these cases, the sense of orderliness and predictability that employees look to for guidance are provided by the culture rather than by a rule book.
A culture is said to be “weak” when employees are forced to adhere to the organization’s values through extensive procedures and bureaucracies. The strength perspective embraces the point of view that strong cultures create goal alignment, employee motivation, and the appropriate structure and controls needed to improve organizational performance.
The downside of a strong culture, critics believe, is that such financial success can so reinforce cultural norms that managers and employees become arrogant, inwardly focused, and resistant to change, with top managers becoming blinded to the need for new strategic plans. Example: A case could be made that the strong cultures of American automakers for many years made them resistant to the need to make radical adjustments.
Example: Prior to the arrival of Carleton Fiorina as CEO, Hewlett-Packard’s “HP Way” culture from 1957 to the early 1990s pushed authority as far down as possible in the organization and created an environment that emphasized integrity, respect for individuals, teamwork, innovation, and an emphasis on customers and community improvement. This fit perspective was a key contributor to HP’s success—until the high-technology industry began to change in the late 1990s.
Which Perspective Is Accurate?
An investigation of 207 companies from 22 industries during the years 1977-1988 partly supported the strength and fit perspectives. However, findings were completely consistent with the adaptive perspective. Long-term financial performance was highest for organizations with an adaptive culture.
1. Formal Statements
The first way to embed preferred culture is through the use of formal statements of organizational philosophy, mission, vision, and values, as well as materials used for recruiting, selecting, and socializing employees.
Example: Walmart founder Sam Walton stated that three basic values represented the core of the retailer’s culture: (1) respect for the individual, (2) service to customers, and (3) striving for excellence.
2. Slogans & Sayings
The desirable corporate culture can be expressed in language, slogans, sayings, and acronyms.
Example: Robert Mittelstaedt, Dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, promotes his goal of having a world-class university through the slogan “top-of-mind business school.” This slogan encourages instructors to engage in activities that promote quality education and research.
3. Stories, Legends, & Myths
Until a decade ago, major drug companies treated third world countries as not worth the trouble of marketing to. But Andrew Witty, who in 2008 at age 43 became the youngest CEO of GlaxcoSmithKline, the world’s second-largest pharmaceutical company, is making a name for himself by doing more for the poor people of the world than any other big drug company leader. While working in poor countries Witty found “just unbelievable energy to self-improve, to lift themselves up.” He has promised to keep prices of drugs sold in poor countries to no more than 25% of what is charged in rich ones and to donate one-fifth of all profits made in such countries toward building their health systems. Now Glaxco is ranked No. 1 on the Access to Medicine index, which rates pharmaceutical companies on their stances toward the poor.
4. Leader Reactions to Crises
How top managers respond to critical incidents and organizational crises sends a clear cultural message.
Example: In 2001, Xerox Corporation was on the verge of bankruptcy, $19 billion in debt, and with only $100 million in cash. Anne Mulcahy, who had worked for the company for 25 years, assumed the post of CEO. Inspired by a history about adventurer Ernest Shackleton, who rescued his men after their ship was crushed by Antarctic ice in 1916, Mulcahy worked furiously for two years, not taking a single day off. She declined to file the company for bankruptcy and refused to cut research and development, believing that Xerox’s long-term health depended on investment in new products. Five years later, the company reported a profit of more than $1 billion. And in 2008, she was named “CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive magazine.
5. Role Modeling, Training, & Coaching Triage Consulting Group, a health care financial consulting firm in California, places a high value on superior performance at achieving measurable goals. New employees are immediately prepared for this culture with a four-day orientation in Triage’s culture and methods, followed by 15 training modules scheduled in six-week intervals. After less than a year, the best performers are ready to begin managing their own projects, furthering their career development. Performance evaluations take place four times a year, further reinforcing the drive for results.
6. Physical Design
Intel originally had all its people work in uniform cubicles, consistent with the value it placed on equality. (Top managers don’t have reserved parking spaces either.) However, the cubicle arrangement conflicted with the value Intel places on innovation, so the company is experimenting with open-seating arrangements combined with small conference rooms. Not only are open-seating arrangements thought to encourage collaboration, they also can reduce noise because employees can see when their activities are annoying to people nearby. Intel hopes that this environment will better support creative thinking.
7. Rewards, Titles, Promotions, & Bonuses At Triage Consulting Group, employees at the same level of their career earn the same pay, but employees are eligible for merit bonuses, again reinforcing the culture of achievement. The awarding of merit bonuses is partly based on coworkers’ votes for who contributed most to the company’s success, and the employees who received the most votes are recognized each year at the company’s “State of Triage” meeting.
8. Organizational Goals & Performance Criteria
Many organizations establish organizational goals and criteria for recruiting, selecting, developing, promoting, dismissing, and retiring people, all of which reinforce the desired organizational culture. Example: PepsiCo sets challenging goals that reinforce a culture aimed at high performance.
9. Measurable & Controllable Activities
An organization’s leaders can pay attention to, measure, and control a number of activities, processes, or outcomes that can foster a certain culture.
Example: ExxonMobil’s credo is “efficiency in everything we do,” so that managers make a concerted effort to measure, control, and reward cost efficiency. As a result, the company is famous for delivering consistent returns, regardless of whether the price of oil is up or down.
10. Organizational Structure
The hierarchical structure found in most traditional organizations is more likely to reinforce a culture oriented toward control and authority compared with the flatter organization that eliminates management layers in favor of giving employees more power.
Example: The hierarchical structure of a railroad provides a much different culture from that of the “spaghetti organization” formerly employed by Danish hearing-aid maker Oticon, in which employees worked at mobile desks on wheels and were always subject to reorganization.
11. Organizational Systems & Procedures Companies are increasingly using electronic networks to increase collaboration among employees and to increase innovation, quality, and efficiency. For example, Molson Coors CEO Peter Swinburn, mentioned previously, in knitting together employees of several former companies made sure they had better tools to interact with each other. One technology he introduced was Yammer, a website for short messages similar to Twitter, on which some 2,000 employees now provide updates and collaborate on projects.
According to Chester I. Barnard’s classic definition, an organization is a system of consciously coordinated activities or forces of two or more people. By this definition, a crew of two coordinating their activities to operate a commercial tuna fishing boat is just as much an organization as the entire StarKist Tuna Co.
-For-profit organizations. These are formed to make money, or profits, by offering products or services.
-Nonprofit organizations. These are formed to offer services to some clients, not to make a profit (examples: hospitals, colleges).
-Mutual-benefit organizations. These are voluntary collectives whose purpose is to advance members’ interests (examples: unions, trade associations).
Clearly, you might have an occupation (such as auditor or police officer) that is equally employable in any one of these three sectors. As a manager, however, you would be principally required to focus on different goals—making profits, delivering public services, or satisfying member needs—depending on the type of organization.
In addition, authority is most effective when arranged in a hierarchy. Without tiers or ranks of authority, a lone manager would have to confer with everyone in his or her domain, making it difficult to get things done. Even in newer organizations that flatten the hierarchy, there still exists more than one level of management.
There are two kinds of spans of control, narrow (or tall) and wide (or flat).
-Narrow Span of Control This means a manager has a limited number of people reporting—three vice presidents reporting to a president, for example, instead of nine vice presidents. An organization is said to be tall when there are many levels with narrow spans of control.
-Wide Span of Control This means a manager has several people reporting—a first-line supervisor may have 40 or more subordinates, if little hands-on supervision is required, as is the case in some assembly-line workplaces. An organization is said to be flat when there are only a few levels with wide spans of control.
Historically, spans of about 7 to 10 subordinates were considered best, but there is no consensus as to what is ideal. In general, when managers must be closely involved with their subordinates, as when the management duties are complex, they are advised to have a narrow span of control. This is why presidents tend to have only a handful of vice presidents reporting to them. By contrast, first-line supervisors directing subordinates with similar work tasks may have a wide span of control.
Today’s emphasis on lean management staffs and more efficiency means that spans of control need to be as wide as possible while still providing adequate supervision. Wider spans also fit in with the trend toward allowing workers greater autonomy in decision making. Research suggests that, when aided by technology to communicate and monitor, a manager can oversee 30 employees or more.
It is a sign of faulty job design when managers are given too much authority and not enough responsibility, in which case they may become abusive to subordinates and capricious in exerting authority. Conversely, managers may not be given enough authority, so the job becomes difficult.
An advantage in using centralized authority is that there is less duplication of work, because fewer employees perform the same task; rather, the task is often performed by a department of specialists. Another advantage of centralization is that procedures are uniform and thus easier to control; all purchasing, for example, may have to be put out to competitive bids.
With decentralized authority managers are encouraged to solve their own problems rather than buck decisions to a higher level. Decisions are also made more quickly, increasing the organization’s flexibility and efficiency.
There is only one hierarchical level of management beneath the owner.
Hundreds of thousands of organizations are arranged according to a simple structure—for instance, small mom-and-pop firms running landscaping, construction, insurance sales, and similar businesses. Examples: Both Hewlett-Packard and Apple Computer began as two-man garage startups that later became large.
Examples: A manufacturing firm will often group people with similar work skills in a marketing department, others in a production department, others in finance, and so on. A nonprofit educational institution might group employees according to work specialty under faculty, admissions, maintenance, and so forth.
A hypothetical example, using Ford Motor Co.: The functional structure might be the departments of Engineering, Finance, Production, and Marketing, each headed by a vice president. Thus, the reporting arrangement is vertical. The divisional structure might be by product (the new models of Taurus, Mustang, Explorer, and Expedition, for example), each headed by a project manager. This reporting arrangement is horizontal. Thus, a marketing person, say, would report to both the Vice President of Marketing and to the Project Manager for the Ford Mustang. Indeed, Ford Motor Co. used the matrix approach to create the Taurus and a newer version of the Mustang.
Three types of structures in this class of organizational design are hollow, modular, and virtual structures.
Example: A firm with a hollow structure might operate with extensive, even worldwide operations, yet its basic core could remain small, thus keeping payrolls and overhead down. The glue that holds everything together is information technology, along with strategic alliances and contractual arrangements with supplier companies.
One article compares this form of organization to “a collection of Lego bricks that can snap together.”
For example, Bombardier (pronounced “bom-bar-dee-ay”), of Wichita, Kansas, makes an eight-passenger business jet, the Continental, that is designed in a dozen large modules that are built in various places around the world. The cockpit and forward fuselage are built by Bombardier Montreal. The center section is built in Belfast, the wing by Mitsubishi in Japan, the stabilizers and rear fuselage by Aerospace Industrial Development in Taiwan, the landing gear by Messier-Dowty in Canada, and the tailcone by Hawker de Havilland in Australia. The engines are provided by General Electric and the avionics gear by Rockwell Collins, both companies in the United States. The 12 modules are shipped to Wichita, where the parts are snapped together in just four days.
The virtual organization allows the form of boundaryless structure known as the virtual structure, a company outside a company that is created “specifically to respond to an exceptional market opportunity that is often temporary,” according to one definition. The structure, in which members meet and communicate with each other by e-mail and videoconferencing instead of face to face, is valuable for organizations that want to grow through partnerships with other companies. For instance, Finnish phone-maker Nokia, which had trouble gaining market share in the United States, changed its strategy to develop phones in partnership with U.S. carriers, as by assigning product developers to AT&T and Verizon.
Medical records company gloStream, which sells software to doctors’ offices, was founded in 2005 as a virtual organization, and for four years the approach worked well, with costs kept low and salespeople having no choice but to be out in the field. But in 2009, CEO Mike Sappington decided it was time to “take the company physical”—and move more people under the same roof. “We’ve gotten too big to be a virtual company,” he told Inc. magazine. By the following year, gloStream planned to have 100 employees in the United States and another 100 in India. “Setting up a conference call or arranging everyone’s schedules for a meeting,” he said, “started to take an enormous amount of time.”
Managers taking a contingency approach must consider the following factors (among others) in designing the best kind of structure for their particular organization at that particular time:
Environment—mechanistic versus organic
Environment—differentiation versus integration
Link between strategy and structure
Actually, Deveny found that she fell behind in, say, bagging french fries, but it was certainly the intention of McDonald’s guiding genius Ray Kroc that, in fact, nearly anyone should be able to do this—and that a Big Mac should taste the same anywhere. Thus, for example, procedure dictates that a hamburger is always dressed the same way: first the mustard, then the ketchup, then two pickles.
McDonald’s is a hugely successful example of what British behavioral scientists Tom Burns and G. M. Stalker call a mechanistic organization, as opposed to an organic organization.correspondent Kathleen Deveny, reporting about a day she spent working in a McDonald’s restaurant. “Anyone could do this, I think.”
Centralized hierarchy of authority
Many rules and procedures
Few teams or task forces
Narrow span of control, taller structures
Decentralized hierarchy of authority
Few rules and procedures
Many teams or task forces
Wider span of control, flatter structures
In general, mechanistic design works best when an organization is operating in a stable environment. Yet new companies that have gone through a rough-and-tumble startup period may decide to change their structures so that they are more mechanistic, with clear lines of authority.
Organic organizations are sometimes termed adhocracies because they operate on an ad hoc basis, improvising as they go along. As you might expect, information-technology companies such as Motorola favor the organic arrangement because they constantly have to adjust to technological change—yet so do companies that need to respond to fast-changing consumer tastes, such as clothing retailer The Worth Collection, which operates as a virtual company offering high-end women’s clothing through direct selling in people’s homes.
This impulse toward dispersal arises because of technical specialization and division of labor. As a result, specialists behave in specific, delimited ways, without coordinating with other parts of the organization. For example, a company producing dental floss, deodorants, and other personal care products might have different product divisions, each with its own production facility and sales staff—a quite differentiated organization.
The founder may be a lone entrepreneur, such as Michael Dell, who began Dell Computers by selling microcomputers out of his University of Texas college dorm room. Or the founders may be pals who got together, as did Apple Computer founders Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak, who built the first computer in Wozniak’s parents’ Palo Alto, California, garage, using the proceeds from the sale of an old Volkswagen.
Now the company has a product that is making headway in the marketplace, people are being added to the payroll (more clerical than professional), and some division of labor and setting of rules are being instituted.
For Apple Computer, this stage occurred during the years 1978 to 1981, with the establishment of the Apple II product line.
Now the organization has a formalized bureaucratic structure, staffs of specialists, decentralization of functional divisions, and many rules.
In the 1980s, Apple Computer became a large company with many of these attributes. In 1983, Pepsi-Cola marketer John Scully was hired as a professional top manager. Jobs became chairman. Wozniak left the company.
After Jobs was fired in a boardroom struggle in 1985, Apple entered a period in which it seemed to lose its way, having trouble developing successful products and getting them to market. Scully, who emphasized the wrong technology (a “personal data assistant” called Newton, which failed to establish a following), was followed by two more CEOs who were unable to arrest the company’s declining market share.
In 1997, Jobs was brought back as a “temporary” chairman, and Apple began an unprecedented era of innovation and profitability.
Employees who were present during birth and youth stages may long for the good old days of informality and fewer rules as the organization moves toward more formalized and bureaucratic structures. Whereas clearly some organizations jump the gun and institute such structures before they are appropriate, some expanding companies in effect never grow up, holding onto the prebureaucratic way of life for too long, hindering their ability to deliver goods or services efficiently in relation to their size.
Most current strategy structures tend to reflect strategies of (1) cost minimization, (2) innovation, or (3) imitation. For instance, cost minimizers, who tend to tightly control costs, opt for the stability and efficiency of the mechanistic structure. Innovative companies prefer the flexibility and free flow of information of the organic structure. Imitators, who minimize their risks by copying market leaders, might use a mechanistic structure to maintain cost controls and an organic structure to mimic the industry’s innovative directions.
As for the types of organizational structures described in Section 8.5, all have their uses. Functional structures save money by grouping together people who need similar materials and equipment. Divisional structures increase employees’ focus on customers and products. A matrix structure tries to combine the advances of functional and divisional structures, but it can also slow decision making. Teams can arrive at creative solutions and develop new products faster than workers in more traditional structures. Finally, network and modular structures can tap people in particular specialties.
Despite a relatively flat training budget and a work stoppage that resulted from the expiration of union collective bargaining agreements, Verizon remained steadfast in its commitment to effective training tied to corporate strategic goals—and had the results to show for it.
“We focused on the major training initiatives that would advance our strategic business goals and business unit/functional-specific initiatives,” says Al Torres, VP, Human Resources, Verizon Telecom and Business. “We remained relatively flat on full-time staff across Verizon, but we increased the number of internal subject matter experts (SMEs) significantly to help drive key initiatives deeply through the organization.”
Verizon’s three main business goals for 2011 were:
To build a business and workforce as good as its networks.
To lead in shareholder value creation.
To be recognized as an iconic technology company.
Verizon’s strategic business units (BUs) align BU-specific priorities with the company’s business goals and core values. “Our federated L&D organizations, supporting each BU, establish training priorities/initiatives that align with each BU’s priorities and Verizon’s business goals and values—top to bottom and across,” says Magda Yrizarry, VP, Corporate Human Resources….
Creating a leadership culture that leads for shareholder value was one of Verizon’s significant goals in 2011, and the company’s implementation of Leading for Shareholder Value (LSV) was a key lever for cultural change….
Sponsored by a new president and CEO Lowell McAdam, LSV is a 1.5-day mandatory executive education program designed to help senior leaders understand how to drive long-term value creation…. Each LSV session is led by CEO McAdam and CFO Fran Shammo….
As part of the program design, Yrizarry says, senior leaders are placed in cross-business units and cross-functional teams and given an assignment to identify obstacles preventing Verizon from creating more shareholder value. Each team recommends actions that will remove those obstacles. At the end of each session, each team reports to a panel of top executives….
In addition, during the program, each senior leader submits an Individual Accountability Plan (IAP). These IAPs are aligned with “value drivers” or metrics by which shareholders, analysts, and potential investors assess company performance….
Each senior leader selects one to two action he or she will commit to as part of driving SHV. The IAPs then are digitized and provided to Lowell McAdam and business unit presidents for review and follow-up. More than 300 senior leaders now have SHV IAPs that will be incorporated into 2011 performance reviews and, where appropriate, into 2012 performance agreements, Yrizarry says….
At the other end of Verizon’s leadership development spectrum, “we are focused on attracting and retaining the best talent from colleges and universities as we see this as critical to building our leadership funnel for the future,” Yrizarry says. In 2011, Verizon rolled out a new “Verizon Leadership Development Program” (VLDP) across the enterprise….
“VLDP recruits the highest-performing college graduates at strategic partnership schools with 10- to 12-week Verizon internships and semester-long co-ops as a primary feeder pool for the full-time college hire VLDP,” Yrizarry says. VLDP currently sponsors Finance, Network Operations, Engineering, IT, Human Resources, and Marketing. After graduation and upon hire, participants complete a minimum of two job rotations.
The number and length of job rotations varies between functions over the course of two or three years in the program. All VLDP hires experience a 24-month customized leadership curriculum road map focused on cultural immersion and self-awareness, operational effectiveness, high performance, and leadership preparation. In addition, each function has a functional-specific curriculum road map and experiential development activities.
Innovation is at the core of who Verizon is, according to Verizon Wireless Human Resources VP Lou Tedrick, and “it’s essential to be a leading innovator in order to achieve our goal of becoming an iconic technology company. Our 4G LTE network is key to our future ability to deliver innovative technology to our customers.”
Prior to rolling out its 4G LTE network in December 2010, Verizon delivered 60,000-plus hours of 4G LTE technology and device training to its front-line Sales and Services reps between January and August. “We’ve maintained a one-stop online performance support 4G LTE Resource Center for employees to use at the moment of apply,” Tedrick notes….
With the volume of training taking place—particularly on new products and technology—just how does Verizon measure its effectiveness? At the onset of a training initiative, “we work with key stakeholders and business partners to define what success will look like in terms of employee knowledge, behaviors, and targeted business results,” Tedrick says. “Then, we ideally get a pre-training ‘snapshot’ of knowledge, behaviors, and/or business results to compare with a post-training snapshot.”
Verizon Wireless (VZW), for example, uses a CS New Hire Training (NHT) Scorecard to monitor new hire performance at 30, 60, 90, and 120 days post-training. “Working with our CS Operations Leaders, we measure new hire performance on a set of CS key performance indicators such as ‘Entire Rep Performance,’ ‘Quality,’ ‘First Call Resolution,’ and ‘Average Handle Time.'” Tedrick says new hires consistently meet the expected key performance indicators (KPIs) by 120 days post-training and that VZW has used this scorecard to determine curriculum changes needed for a CS NHT redesign and for targeted reinforcement training….
Tedrick says video/audio podcasts are fast becoming one of Verizon employees’ favorite means for learning quickly. “We’ve built videos to demonstrate system processes for our B2B sales team-accessed from within their primary sales force automation tool. Videos demonstrating new devices provide a quick, effective, on-demand learning approach.” Viewership is viral, Tedrick says, with employees recommending to peers a video lesson they just watched in a matter of minutes. Indeed, Verizon’s DROID Charge by Samsung video reached 1,240 views shortly after it launched.
“We distribute videos via VZTube, our internal YouTube site,” Tedrick explains. Year-to-date total videos watched: 1,478,412; audio files played: 13,084; total VZTube members: 83,398. Viewership statistics on existing videos are used to make recommendations for future videos. Tedrick notes that low views on a particular video type are taken into consideration when planning future videos that are similar in style and message.
Verizon also expanded its My NetWork Social Networking platform for peer-to-peer collaboration to include My NetWork On-The-Go in 2011. Employees now can access my NetWork features using their mobile devices….
“We’ve found that the keys to success for social media is to ‘pilot’ or ‘trial’ first, so you can work out any issues before expanding to a wider audience, and if you track the impact on KPIs, it can be a good case study to share with leaders who may be concerned about the net impact of social media,” Tedrick says. “Additionally, we’ve found that taking a ‘low-key’ approach to social media for learning has let learners try things out for size, then recommend it to their peers. The result is organic versus forced utilization.”
Verizon currently is exploring the use of tablets for delivering Online Performance Support System (InfoManager) content at “moment of apply,” particularly for its Retail representatives, Tedrick says. “This way, our Retail representatives will have access to the information while interacting with our customers and not have to step out of their sales process flow.” Verizon hopes to have it available by mid-year 2012.
Get access to
Guarantee No Hidden