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ATD Dallas AXIS Awards recognize innovative organizations that achieve results in workplace learning and talent development. The AXIS Awards are open to small and large private, public and not-for-profit organizations from the DFW area.

Congratulations to the 2016 AXIS Awards Winners!

(Images provided by: © Scott Peek Photography) 

Best in Show

Pizza Hut - Learning Technologies

Strategic Planning

1st Place - Conifer Health Solutions

Conifer Health has recently experienced significant growth through acquisitions, onboarding more than 1,000 new team members in just the past 12 months. In order to assimilate new team members into its culture, as well as drive engagement across all team members, Conifer implemented a holistic talent strategy that incorporated all aspects of managing human capital including recruiting, talent development, team member incentives, workforce planning, engagement and recognition.

Conifer used a three-phased approach to design and implement its new Talent Strategy: Phase 1 Discovery - a needs assessment process that included surveys, focus groups and executive interviews; Phase 2 Identity - a new brand promise and team member value proposition that highlights what makes Conifer distinctive, compelling and unique as an organization; Phase 3 Process - a redesigned onboarding and integration process to create an experience that drives engagement and quickly establishes the value proposition.

The new process was recently implemented for the acquisition of more than 500 new team members from WellStar Health System allowing Conifer to measure the impact against prior acquisitions. The new process resulted in an increase in team members who stayed with the new organization, an increase in the speed of the transition by 2 – 2.5 weeks, a decrease in the number of transition issues and questions, and a more positive new team member experience.

Award Interview 

Knowledge Management

1st Place - Dillard's

In the ever-changing world of beauty products and application techniques, Dillard’s wanted to develop best-in-class beauty experts whose product knowledge, customer service and artistry would increase sales. Traditional learning technologies, such as eLearning, couldn’t keep pace with the frequently changing information. The answer was a cost-effective, performance support application developed in partnership with SVI that is accessible on iOS and Android devices, as well as through the Dillard’s point-of-sale system.

In 2012 Dillard’s launched Beauty Institute Mobile, a web-based mobile application, to support and enhance the skills and knowledge of Dillard's beauty associates. The application provides just-in-time nuggets of information to sustain, reinforce and extend training beyond the classroom, as well as to improve artistry skills, support sales efforts and build a stronger, unified community of associates.

Beauty Institute Mobile has delivered signature higher sales and service results. Page views continue to increase year over year with a 17% increase for 2015. Beauty associates in 99% of Dillard’s stores use the tool and the organization has found a direct correlation between those stores with a higher number of users and those stores with higher sales. Evidence also suggests that Beauty Institute Mobile has positively impacted associate retention.

Award Interview

2nd Place - Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

Non-profit organizations depend on a robust volunteer base to accomplish their vision, a fact well understood by the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. In order to meet the needs of their busy volunteer base, the organization embarked on a mission to enhance their in-person and web-based new leader training with a more comprehensive and efficient solution.

Given the important role adult troop leaders play in leading the organization, it is critical that GSNETX not only provide an engaging learning environment, but also access to information when, where, and how leaders need it. Previous survey data reflected a discrepancy in how leaders were equipped and prepared for success, which was resulting in significantly high turnover of volunteers year-over-year.

The solution was the development of a micro-learning platform which could be paired with targeted in-person and web-based learning to ensure volunteers were prepared to address the challenges and opportunities of mentoring their troop. The GSNETX Learning Channel was developed completely in-house by a volunteer using a common social media platform; it includes an online collaboration space and robust but simple information repository. Since implementation, views on the Learning Channel have averaged 450 per post, resulting in 6300 touches weekly. The Learning Channel has significantly increased the organization’s reach and effectiveness in training its volunteers.

Award Interview

Performance Improvement

1st Place - GameStop

As recently as five years ago, GME/GameStop operated as a single global brand that provided employees with one career path which relied heavily on capability and opportunity. However, a recent period of rapid expansion through acquisition resulted in an organization with over eight related gaming, mobile, and entertainment brands — each operating with unique career paths.

GME/GameStop needed to identify one solution that would build a talent pool capable of moving among brands without adding significant costs. LevelUp Interactive 2.0, the organization’s internally developed, proprietary, and innovative gamified learning platform, was built as a fully scalable, multi-tenant development program that can be customized and segmented by brand and deployed to any domestic and international brand as needed. It allows employees to train for their current level and aspirational levels, encouraging professional growth that also builds the organization’s talent bench.

Since its introduction two years ago, GME/GameStop has used the LevelUp technology to keep its employees focused on the essential elements of its business model which has helped grow all components of the core business. The organization has experienced a rate of internal promotions above industry average, customer satisfaction scores in the 90th percentile and rate of employee turnover below industry average. Moreover, it has been able to use the tool to correlate business metrics with learning completion data to continually customize learning to meet the greatest business need.

Award Interview

2nd Place - NTT DATA

The learning team at NTT DATA was tasked with improving the top-line performance of over 300 sales associates and their leaders across its multi-billion dollar IT services organization. In order to deliver on this strategic initiative, the learning team knew they would need to radically adjust the way they partnered with their client.

The team began by transitioning to a performance consulting model where learning professionals were embedded in the business organization, allowing them to create more meaningful and customized solutions based on a team’s specific needs. In addition they created a metrics function to gather and analyze data to ensure the team focused on the specific behavior and performance gaps that would truly impact the lagging KPIs the organization tracks in measuring business success.

With this new structure in place, the team has been able to identify the underlying drivers of current performance and the key behaviors that could be addressed through training to achieve organizational success. The focus of the team has shifted from one of content creation to one of content brokering, guiding learners to the information that builds on their existing knowledge to bridge various knowledge gaps, and providing proactive advice and counsel, rather than reactive solutions.

As a result of these changes, the NTT DATA learning team has fostered organizational, financial, and individual growth that has enabled the organization to achieve Gartner Magic Quadrant status and NPS scores of 51%.

Award Interview

Learning Technologies

1st Place - Pizza Hut

With the roll-out of its new gamified blending learning program, BCM Game On!, Pizza Hut wanted to also transform the way learners experienced and accessed the program, making the interaction simple, intuitive, modern and fun!

The result was the creation of the Launch Pad, a gamified interface that sits over the organization’s LMS, providing a dashboard for learners that features customizable avatars, a course map that monitors progress and launches courses, and a Trophy Room that displays all of the fun achievements they’ve earned in the BCM Game On! courses. With Launch Pad, Team Members can personalize their learning experience by creating their own avatar, work with their manager to create a custom cross-training solution perfectly suited to their role and strengths, and see how many trophies, badges, hearts, and smiles they have collected as they complete their training.

Since launching the program in November 2014, the organization has seen 1.8 million course completions and evaluation results are proving the program is impacting business results, including a reduction in calls to the help desk, a reduction in delivery driver accidents, improved scores on food safety audits, and an increase in employee retention in the first 30 days.

Award Interview

2nd Place - Lennox

The HVAC Learning Solutions Team at Lennox is focused on developing a learning experience that improves the dealer’s knowledge and ability to easily learn the HVAC industry and increase their financial opportunities. The team recently adopted a User Centered Design process (UCD) to transform their current learning environment into one that would shorten the learning cycle and provide a more robust learning experience embedded in a user-friendly environment.

The HVAC Learning Solutions team used an iterative process to ensure customer feedback drove the entire design process for their new LMS. Once all the information and feedback was collected, the team was able to develop a user-centered tool that was more responsive, provided easy access to course content, and employed micro-learning theory to deliver content in specific bursts.

As a result of their focus, the team has been able to create a new, memorable learning experience for their dealers which has resulted in a significant increase in both online and instructor-led training, a reduction in the number of online chats and requests for help, increased customer satisfaction, and an increase in revenue. Moreover, the dealers are reporting much greater satisfaction in locating the courses they need and are now reporting them to be a valuable use of their time.

Award Interview

Design and Delivery

1st Place - PrimeLending

PrimeLending had an aggressive hiring goal and needed a training program to ensure new lenders were productive as quickly as possible. The team created Momentum, a new curriculum that uses a blended approach to introduce new employees to the company culture and to the various systems and regulations integral to their job.

Momentum uses eLearning, instructor-led webinars, classroom training, and a library of self-paced resources, all delivered within the first 30 days, to prepare loan officers to submit quality loan files in an efficient manner, leverage tools to deliver excellent customer service and work effectively in the PrimeLending culture.

PrimeLending designed its new program around the key metrics and performance indicators critical to business success and leveraged its subject matter experts throughout the design process. As a result, the program is achieving its desired results with the new hires: the time it takes to complete and close loan applications has reduced significantly, the total number and volume of loans is increasing and turnover of top loan officers is down to 3%. The program has been so successful that the team is now seeing 100% attendance rates among new hires in 2016.

Award Interview

2nd Place - Health Management Systems (HMS)

With a noticeable drop in the number of employees taking advantage of learning opportunities and a lack of engagement in their own career development, the Organizational Effectiveness team at HMS set out to transform the culture of their organization into one that values and promotes learning and development at all levels.

After completing a thorough needs assessment, HMS kicked off its program with a Career Development Workshop and the introduction of the HMS Learning Lounge, an experiential learning event and marketing campaign designed to get employees in the driver’s seat with their own career development by connecting them to opportunities on the organization’s learning portal. The OE team then followed up by launching a “MyLearning Topic of the Month” program that featured learning segments on hot topics in multiple learning modalities.

The Career Development program at HMS has led to noticeable increases in key metrics representing engagement in learning. The organization has experienced a steady and significant rise in course completions each month, resulting in a 200% increase year-over-year. Moreover, employee engagement scores relative to opportunities for learning and development have increased by 6 percentage points.

Award Interview

Leadership Development

1st Place - Pizza Hut

One of Pizza Hut’s core people principles is to unlock the potential of teams. As a result of an internal assessment, the learning team discovered there was a significant gap in professional development opportunities for one of their most critical leadership roles, the Area Coach.

First, the team conducted research on the most important skills for success in this role. Next, they designed a blended learning solution that brings participants together for an interactive learning experience, including classroom training, group discussion, business simulation, competitive and team-oriented case studies, and panel discussions with SME’s at the Pizza Hut Academy. Participants leave the course with personalized action plans that enable them to apply what they learned to their specific markets.

Since the launch of this program in April 2013, 58% of eligible leaders and 86% of independent franchise partners have participated in the program. Moreover, the leadership skills developed through these sessions have led to a steady decrease in customer dissatisfaction scores and an increase in profit margins in participating markets. One of the best indicators of success, however, is the willingness of franchise partners to invest the time and money necessary to send their Area Coaches to the program year after year.

Award Interview

2nd Place - Lennox

Lennox is a sales driven company thriving in a mature industry and its Territory Manager (TM) role is critical to the success of the company. TMs are responsible for driving revenue, market share, increasing Net Promotor Scores and growing dealer retention rates; they are the emerging leaders of Lennox. Lennox’s challenge was to develop a program to support the success of these employees and ensure a strong management pipeline for the company.

The learning team at Lennox created a fully customized development curriculum comprised of blended learning solutions that targeted business development, coaching skills, and priority/resource management as well as teambuilding and networking across the organization. They focused heavily on incorporating real-life experiences through role-play and case studies designed and facilitated by experienced TMs to ensure replication of proven best practices.

Evaluation results clearly indicate that the curriculum is achieving its goals. Comparative sales metrics indicate graduates of the TM program are outperforming their peers on key performance indicators, which is driving a positive impact on Lennox’ bottom line, including record sales and increase in market share.

Award Interview

Change Management

1st Place - United Surgical Partners International

USPI has built a successful organization through rapid expansion and acquisition, while allowing each facility to manage itself. However, when it eventually reached its tipping point with multiple facilities serving the same customer, the organization knew it had to reevaluate its approach from both a business and people strategy perspective. “Business as usual” was costing the organization money, credibility and loyalty.

One of the key business strategies that needed to be implemented was a new staff scheduling protocol and software that would streamline and maximize their talent scheduling, making cancellations less likely and staffing shortages less common. However, the solution required a bold decision to move from a “facility first” mentality to one of “USPI first.”

To support the roll-out of the new scheduling protocol, and underlying culture change, USPI partnered with Infinitude to develop a transition management plan that would significantly increase the adoption rate of the new process and technology solution, SmartSquare. 

Using real employee interviews as source material, the team developed a web-based situation comedy to make the case for change relatable in a fun way for all employees. The program, along with its underlying training components was rolled out in a pilot program and the results have indicated the solution is having its desired effect. Participation rates in the program have exceeded expectation by 20% and pilot facilities are above 90% in adoption of the new process.

Award Interview

2nd Place - The University of Texas at Dallas

During the past 40 years, the cost to earn a four year degree at a public institution has risen from approximately $4,700 to over $25,000 per year. That fact, and the organization’s goal of becoming a Tier One Research Institution, led the University of Texas at Dallas’ President to challenge his staff to significantly increase the level of customer service at UT Dallas.

To support this goal, the university’s OD and Training team, developed Catch Comet Pride - Service Excellence, a certificate program geared toward promoting a service culture at the university. The program, a first-of-its-kind program in higher education, is targeted to all faculty and staff of the University including student workers. The OD and Training team, in collaboration with the university’s administration, used the ADDIE model to develop a series of four programs introducing a new service model that would become the foundation of expected performance for all employees.

Since its’ launch in the spring of 2010, the program has been delivered to over 1700 staff, faculty and student workers. Results over that time have indicated an improvement of 10-20 percentage points in important service areas such as trustworthiness, responsiveness, empathy and overall satisfaction. Through this program, the University has created a much broader and deeper awareness of and appreciation for the commitment to a service excellence culture.

Award Interview


14070 Proton Rd. - Suite 100
Dallas, TX 75244

Email: info@tddallas.org

Phone: 972-233-9107 ex. 224

Fax: 972-490-4219

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