Jan. 9, 2017
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Laboratory leadership development programs earn top awards for excellence in 2016

Carrie L Martin, martin59 [at] llnl.gov, 925-424-4715

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) received two top honors in 2016 for implementing a comprehensive leadership development training program, designed to grow leaders at all levels of the organization.

The Leadership & Management Development Program, implemented by the Training and Development team within the Strategic Human Resources Management Directorate at LLNL, has taken a proactive and comprehensive approach by investing time and training into developing the Laboratory’s current and future leaders. LLNL senior leaders recognize that a highly capable, innovative and sustainable workforce, led by talented management, is essential to the success of the Laboratory, which is why the Leadership Development program was developed. While the Laboratory had a solid leadership development program for many years, until recently there were no real metrics in place to monitor progress or analyze its effectiveness.

"Over the last two years, we have undertaken a review of all our leadership programs," said Suzanne Rollinson, group leader for Professional Development. "This review consisted of looking at our current offerings, best practices in the industry, focus groups and interviews with senior leaders to best understand what key capabilities our leaders need to have." 

The program and staff were honored earlier this year by Skillsoft, a global leader in learning and talent management, as a 2016 Innovation Award winner for demonstrating excellence in Creating an Impact: Leadership Development. LLNL was recognized for delivering outstanding business results using learning and talent solutions from Skillsoft during a ceremony at the 2016 Global Skillsoft Perspectives user conference.  

"This year’s Innovation Award winners are not only transforming their organizational culture, but setting the pace for how learning, talent and workforce management contribute to overall business success," said Jerry Nine, chief operating officer at Skillsoft in a press release. "Skillsoft and SumTotal are proud to collaborate with our customers to make their forward-looking vision and values into tangible business outcomes."

The conference brought together 1,200 human resources professionals and industry experts from organizations around the world to share insights on how to advance organizational performance by improving the performance of an organization’s people. The awardees were selected by an independent panel that included subject matter experts and analysts representing nearly a dozen companies.

The Laboratory also was honored at the sixth annual Learning! 100 Awards as the top learning organization in the public sector for "Area of Excellence — Culture," for leadership development. While this was the Laboratory’s sixth time as a Learning! 100 award  winner, it was the first time the Lab ranked as No. 1. The Learning! 100 are comprised of 60 corporate enterprises and 40 public sector honorees from government, nonprofit and education, who all believe learning is an organizational essential.

As a result, the Laboratory’s Leadership Development team, including Brian Molyneaux, Coletta Hill, Leslie Positeri, Susan Flowers, Bertha Lewis and Suzanne Rollinson, were prominently featured on the cover of Government Elearning! magazine. Former employee Debbie Ward also was instrumental in redesigning the new programs, but is not pictured.

The Lab’s leadership training and employee learning is embedded in the workflow through programs such as U-Learn. Utilizing U-Learn, employees are empowered to take charge of their own career development by taking online courses and utilizing the learning resources available.

"U-Learn is used to support all of our leadership programs in a variety of ways," said Rollinson. "On an ongoing basis, we have content within U-Learn (Leadership Advantage) that provides resources and courses that support the leadership competencies that we are trying to improve at the Laboratory.  Additionally, for Managing for Results and the Leadership Institute, we’ve created knowledge center portals that have curated content that specifically supports the content shared during the in-classroom sessions."

The Laboratory’s Leadership Development program is centered around culture, leadership and accountability. The curriculum encompasses the online resources found in U-Learn and adds coaching opportunities, project work and instructor-led workshops. This blended approach promotes learning and knowledge sharing throughout the employee lifecycle. Employees that have been identified for a leadership role work closely with management and the learning organization for assessment, feedback, performance tools and workshops.

"We have made a consolidated effort to create more experiential learning with a blended learning approach," Rollinson added. "This project was a significant undertaking and our team was diligent in finding the most effective way to move our capability forward. LLNL leadership supported our efforts and our team challenged each other to bring out the best in our design and ultimately our delivery of new programs. Moving forward, we continue to tweak the programs based on feedback from participants and will do another review and enhancement to the next offering of the Leadership Institute (anticipated to start in FY18). We will continue to work hard to deliver new courses, and look for ways to improve our employee and leadership capabilities."