This quote has never been more profound. This year's BEST Award winners - the cream of the crop among learning organizations - have distinguished themselves as leaders in this profession by achieving maximum efficiency, finding new and innovative ways to train a multicultural workforce, and valuing the knowledge and skills of their employees.
They have established critical benchmarks that set the bar for other organizations to follow, especially in innovation. In this era of cost containment, every training dollar must be stretched to the limit, and this concern has driven innovation in learning at this year's top winner, Sun Microsystems. Leveraging open-source technology and the company's culture of innovation, Sun Learning Services created Social Learning eXchange (SLX), a YouTube-like collaborative multimedia portal where employees can post, view, rate, tag, share, or download content to a computer or MP3 player.
When you scan the BEST Award winners this year, the one common theme among them all is the innovative learning initiatives that they have implemented within their companies, such as an annual training summit with key stakeholders from across the organization to discuss training needs and business objectives or a shadowing program that allows learning personnel to accompany consenting patients on their doctors' visits to observe the patient-staff experience firsthand. Some winners created a new initiative to spark knowledge sharing or spur employee development, but many just found a new approach to deliver a tried-and-true program that had been successful in the past.
Just like companies that have failed to find new creative ways to do business, learning departments that don't find more effective, efficient, and creative ways to develop and deliver training to employees will struggle to prove their worth to company leaders.
How does your company stack up to these BEST companies? This issue will give you the answers you need to help your learning department stack up with the BEST of the BEST. The BEST Award-winning organizations link learning to individual and organizational performance, make learning a business strategy, and invest in learning and development.
Even in tough economic times, these learning departments strived for excellence, recognizing that they must prove the value of learning and make workplace learning and development a priority.