ORGANZATIO DEVELOPMENT 164 Case Study 2: Proposing a Data Gathering Approach at TLG Solutions Read the TLG Solutions case and consider the following questions 1. What is the client requesting? What goal does the client have for this project? 2. What are the presenting problems? What do you think may be any underlying problems? Which of these underlying problems is most likely, in your view? 3. What data would illustrate whether these underlying problems are occur- ring? Which method of data gathering would you use and why? (Consider using the method of analysis shown in Table 7.2.) Write a proposal that explains what data you will gather through what means (interview, sur- veys, focus groups, observations, and/or unobtrusive measures). Include any questions you might ask, observations you would undertake, and/o documents you would want to gather. 4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of your data gathering choice(s)? Include a rationale and proposed timeline for your approach and any details about the data gathering method itself, including possible interview or survey questions, documents to gather, or observations vou would conduct. Finally, ensure that your proposal addresses any additional contracting needs you may have in your relationship with Michelle. Tm glad you're here, and I have something important to discuss with you. Have a seat Seth Burke had been called to Michelle Greenfield's office. Just 18 months ago, Michelle had accepted the role of chief learning officer at TLG Solutions, a fast-growing provider of global human resources software for Fortune 1000 companies. Seth and Michelle had worked together in a previous company, and now that Seth was working as an independent external organization development consultant, Michelle was anx ious to make use of his skills. “Hey, I was really glad to get your call, It's been too long,” Seth exclaimed as he took a seat at a round table in Michelle's office while Michelle closed the door. TLG Solutions headquarters was located in a six-story building just outside of downtown in a suburban area for expanding technology companies. Michelle's office had a pan oramic view of the lake. “What great scenery,” Seth added. “How long has the company been in this location?” “Just 6 months, Michelle admitted. “We've been expanding so the small office space that we had rented on the east side of town. Now that we are among the tech companies in this hub area on this side of town, we have a solid pres ence in the community and are showing that we are here to stay. rapidly we outgrew Case Study 2: TLG Solutions “And how have things been going in your new role?” Seth asked, transitioning to the 165 mason for his visit “It's been crazy. The rapid growth means great things, but it's also stressful some- times. It's really different from what we knew back with our old company. You and were part of a very hierarchical, controlled, consistent, static company in a pretty stable industry. Everyone followed the process and the plan. A big change was when they replaced the carpet in the lobby. But here it feels like it's just the opposite. It's all about visionary innovation, constant change, reinvention. No 2 days are the same, and you get used to feeling like you're on a roller coaster. Just yesterday our CEO announced publicly that we would use our expertise in HR to create new products for marketers And our product groups didn't even know that announcement was coming” Michelle pointed out Ves that does sound very different from the experience we shared a few years back Seth laughed. The thing is, from my perspective we have changed things so fast, I don't think we have created the ideal organization to help launch us into the next phase. I've defi- nitely learned a lot managing this department, and I think there may be some oppor- tunities for improvement,” Michelle said. “Basically, this training organization is a mess and our chief HR officer, Vivienne, has told me that if I can't get it cleaned up soon she'll find someone who will. We are spending a ton of money on training and yet it's not getting us the improvement we need. But I should back up. I'm getting ahead of myself. “Yes, maybe start at the beginning. Tell me a little more about TLG Solutions,” Seth asked. Well, the company was essentially founded on our flagship product, NewHireScan, a software program that can scan thousands of résumés for key indicators and predict whether the new hire will be successful in the job. Our proprietary big data approach means that we can save companies tons of money by hiring the best person for the job the first time, which we can tell by a number of data points. In the last few years, we expanded products every few months so that we now have hundreds of products and variations on them for different industries. Since I've been here, revenues have added or has almost doubled, if that tells you anything, and we are growing at a rate that is easily twice that of our nearest competitors. We just got a fantastic write-up in an industry-leading publication, and our CEO was just on the front page of the Wall Street Journal,” Michelle stated. I saw that article.” Seth added. “That was really impressive and had a lot of people talking. I bet that did a lot for employee morale as well. It sure did. People around here are very motivated, driven, and work a ton of hours It's a competitive environment, and they pour themselves into their work Michelle said. “We are adding a lot of products to our portfolio over the next year since our qoal this new marketing focus coming. Everyone seems to feel the urgency, and we all want forming in our sunny skies. It's like the theme from s to expand into other areas of HR technology beyond hiring, and apparently we have o see it succeed, But the clouds are Jaws is always playing in the background. We have competitors that are ready to take Us out, and we can all see that our Cost models are not sustainable. Investors are ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT 166 getting nervous. We are looking to the next year or two and we know that we must be successful getting our new products to market quickly. We probably need to reduce costs as well. It's not a crisis, but the leadership team is paying careful attention to the se To if financials, as you would expect.” “Sure, that makes sense in your industry,” Seth said. “Tell me more about where you th think problems might exist on the horizon. “Tll give you a list from my point of view, because there are a lot of them Michelle said. “We have many loyal customers and excellent customer relationships C Some of them have been with us since the beginning. But lately we are starting to hear customer complaints, even from our loyal base. Products aren't working as prom ised. Salespeople are promising one thing and not delivering. I've even heard situa tions where salespeople have promised features outright that we never intended to put in the product just to make a sale. I've heard that sales reps can't even demo the products accurately. The service department is getting complaints because they can't accurately pinpoint the root cause of the problems the customer is experiencing Those are common problems in many organizations, but we've done some investigat ing and it seems that time and time again the problem is training. Our salespeople and service reps don't know enough about the products. Customer service techni. cians lack some of the foundational problem-solving knowledge to help them trouble. shoot. And training, as you know, is my responsibility, so I am under a lot of pressure to get this right. Tell me more about your department,” Seth asked. “Let me give you the training organization chart and I can walk through it,” Michelle added, and handed Seth a piece of paper. Michelle Greenfield, CTO Regional HR Leaders (4) Regional Sales Training Shauna. Jack, Global Customer Glenn Global Sales Carolyn, Global Global Learning Technology and Operations Service Training Training Regional Training Customer Training Regional Service Training “This is the org chart for the training organization. I manage the global training teams that are responsible for needs assessment, training curriculum design, training techno ogy design, rollout, and operations. Their focus is on serve, so I have a group that designs training for our salespeople, a group that offers training to our external customers, and a group that focuses on developing training for the different populations they E Case Study 2: TLG Solutions service technicians. We serve a population numbering in the tens of thousands globally. To do this, I have about 65 people who work in these divisions, with the bulk of them in sales training and customer training, where there are 25 people equally divided in those two groups. Another 10 work in service training. The last group has about five employees in our learning technology and operations division. This is the group that creates online learning, video-based learning, and virtual training programs to supple ment any of the courses that get developed, including refresher courses. They also run the operations of the group, such as deciding on the training schedule, communicating to participants, and interfacing with the trainers” “It's pretty impressive that you can train tens of thousands of employees around the world with just these 65 people,” Seth concluded. We can't, and actually we don't” Michelle corrected, “1 should be more specific While we sometimes deliver training directly to our customers, where we charge a fee for those classes, all internal training delivery for sales and service happens in the regions, and that's what the right-hand side of this chart represents. We have four regions: North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific, and Latin America. The regional HR lead- ers have their own training resources, in addition to their other work with human resources representatives, recruiting, employee relations, compensation and benefits, navroll, and some other areas. Compared to mine, some of these departments are huge, like in Europe where there are 85 trainers, and some are small, like in Japan where only two people who do training for all customers, sales, and service. So all 167 there are of the regional training each region. And like I said, for them, training is just one part of their job, in addition resources report up to my peers, who are the heads of HR in to everything else that regional HR is supposed to do.” “You told me that most of your people work in sales and customer training. Tell me more about what they do,” Seth asked quizzically. “Our products salespeople so they know how our products work and how our customers use them. Our sales and customer training curriculum designers are really the subject matter are very complicated. We need to invest as a company in our experts on our products. Whenever I hire a curriculum designer, they need to not only know all of the best practices with respect to adult learning and training design, they need technical product knowledge so that they can include it in their Courses. My sales group, for example, develops sales training in areas such as com- municating with customers, influencing the sale, or understanding a value proposi- lon, but they also need to incorporate the newest product release information into product update training for sales. Service training is about providing technicians with the knowledge to fix products when they break. It's a little like my curriculum designers ferent audiences.” Michelle said. are the translators who understand how to explain the products to dif- And training technology? Seth asked. “Similarly other groups on an as-needed basis, So if we want to create an online module for our customers, we will assign someone from that group to work with the customer training group,” Michelle summarized. our training technology group gets assigned to work on projects in the So how does your group work with these other HR groups?” Seth asked. ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT 168 “Do you want the ideal or the reality? The way the model is supposed to work is that we design the training and they deliver it. We produce everything from the training hand books to the lecture notes and slides shown in class,” Michelle began. “It's really designed to be an efficient model, so that we have one centralized global group doing all training design that can be used by the regions. That way we don't duplicate resources developing the same thing in different regions. And it makes no sense for us to fly people around oCcur regioa Mich on the world teaching classes when they could have someone do it locally” “From your perspective, how is this model working?” Seth asked. “Well, the best way to put it is that we are all frustrated. My team spends months creating world-class training programs, using their expertise to design well-crafted courses that are intended to meet the needs of the various audiences that get training I mean, I have seven PhDs in adult learning and instructional design in my department We have designed pretests and posttests to confirm that students have learned the material, and then we have a manager observation program that occurs 3 months after the course to demonstrate that employees are using the knowledge on the job. We can also measure the return on investment of our training to demonstrate that the training pays for itself in sales many times over. These are some of the most sophisticated leam ing packages I have ever seen. And do you know what happens? They gather dust. The thing,” Michelle said, exasperated. mus off inv of th W regions just do their own “Can you give me an example?” Seth asked. “Yes. We found out recently that our Asia-Pacific region didn't even use the moe recent sales module we developed on how to conduct a customer demonstration of our new ZBS software product after we spent 6 months designing it. Instead, they devel- oped their own and said that the program we developed 'wouldn't work for their employees, even though it has worked for everyone else in the world. And in Europe, they taught less than half of the service technician program and ran it as a half-day course, completely omitting a huge portion of the material that is absolutely critical for the technicians to learn. My team feels like their efforts are wasted, and they complain to me that the regions are resources. I think we have at least three different customer programs that have never been offered in Latin America, but in North America they have been offered success fully developing shadow training organizations with their own on quite a few occasions. I've been unsuccessful in getting our team's solutions adopted with global consistency, and no one else so far has stopped the regions from doing things their way, even as inefficient as that is. The reqions qet high marks from customers, sales, and service about their programs,” Michelle said. “Why don't the regions want to use the programs that you have developed Seth asked “The politics here are unlike anything I've seen before. Seriously, that's tion, and I don't have a consistent answer. I honestly think that several of the HR leaders are competing for a promotion to VP and they are training job, too. In this company, the HR regions get a lot of power to do what they need to do locally, and they want to outdo each other. I sometimes hear complaints from them that the training programs didn't meet their needs, or they didn't have time, or Some other generic reason. But I've seen their stuff. They have no proof that learning has good ques a trying to show that they could do this Case Study 2: TLG Solutions 169 OCcurred, and almost no metrics of success. The company qives a lot of control to the regions to manage as they see fit instead of directing everything from corporate, Michelle said. And the regions love having their own local training resources. “So in summary, it's less efficient and sometimes frustrating for your central team, but on the other hand, the regions have the opportunity to customize what they need. How much do the regions really think there is a problem that needs to be solved? Seth inquired. 1 don't know if they do, but the other day Vivienne, our chief human resources officer, was looking at our budget and the number of people in HR globally who are involved in training in some way. She was astonished and demanded to know what all of these training people do. I tried along with my peers to explain how we divide up the various roles and responsibilities in training, but I don't know how successful we were. She was unconvinced that we have the right model here, and based on how it's Working in practice, I think she may be right. Reading between the lines, I think a budget cut is coming. So far, no one has come up with any alternatives, and that's where I'm hoping to get your support. I personally think I should own the whole thing. We should have all of the regional training resources report into my team. But I haven't heen able to convince Vivienne.” Michelle looked expectantly at Seth. “So that's where we are. Any ideas about how we can move forward?” Seth thought for a minute. “Tell me, Michelle. You have a robust and sophisticated HR organization here, from what you're telling about what you want to do. Why not use one of your own internal OD consultants to me. It sounds like you have some ideas manage this project?” Seth asked Michelle paused. “I'm afraid that all of our internal consultants are too loyal to the exist- ing system, and they report to the leaders who are involved in this problem. I need an outside partner who has no OK. I understand. You've given me some excellent backqround here. I have a good special stake in the outcome to provide an objective voice.” sense of your perspective about how the model ought to be working and how you see it working in reality. I also think I want to get more information and multiple perspec- tives on the situation. I'd like to come back to you with a proposal to gather additional data so I can learn more.” Seth concluded Michelle was relieved. “I knew that you'd have an idea about what to do next. I will anxiously await your proposal. Questions for Discussion . How would you evaluate Seth's initial contracting meeting with Michelle? is there anything you would have said or done differently? 2. What concerns do you have about this project? Is there anything that might ause you to decline this engagement? What additional questions would you have for Michelle at this stage? Case Review Worksheet.doc-Word MAILINGS REVIEW VIEW DEVELOPER ACROBAT E AaBbCcD AaBbCcD AaBbC AaBbCcC AaB AaBbCcC AaBbCcD T Normal 1 No Spac… Heading 1 Heading 2 Title Subtitle Subtle Em.. Paragraph Styles Case Review Worksheet Name: 1. Write a one paragraph summary of the case in your own words: 2. What do you think the central problem is in this case? B. What actions do you think an organization development practitioner should take?
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