Top 10 Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives (July/August 2016)

Each year Training magazine requires all Training Top 10 Hall of Famers to submit an Outstanding Training Initiative that is shared with our readers in a print issue. Here are the details of KPMG’s “Relationship Development Champion Initiative” and SCC Soft Computer’s “GROW Manager Training Initiative.”

KPMG: Relationship Development Champion Initiative

KPMG delivers a wide range of services, and relationships help its people reach across practice lines to connect clients with the KPMG services that will add greatest value for them. As such, KPMG’s Relationship Development Champion Initiative aims to enhance networking and relationship-building capabilities of all professionals at all levels in the practice, and embed a heightened focus on relationship development in the culture of the practice. The first year of the program focused on creating a team of Relationship Development Champions equipped to train and support others, and enhance the KPMG culture.

Program Details

All professionals in the identified practice were asked to set annual performance goals specific to building both internal (KPMG) and external relationships. Senior leadership then selected 40 Relationship Development Champions—professionals with a record of success in relationship development and an ability to coach and develop others. These professionals received in-depth training on initiating new relationships and enhancing existing ones.

Champions attended three one-day workshops—one at the outset of the program, and two more scheduled throughout the year. Formal training was augmented by one-on-one coaching sessions with external relationship development specialists, held every two weeks for nine months. These sessions focused on real business and relationship development challenges and opportunities.

As the 40 Relationship Development Champions were developing their own skills, they also were equipped to conduct training sessions for other professionals in their home offices. Over the course of the year, 11 different offices across the United States hosted Champion-led sessions on topics related to relationship development. Each session was customized to address local needs, opportunities, and interests. Senior partners in each local office communicated and promoted these sessions and reinforced the importance of planning to put new skills into practice.

The practice created an online site where Champions could access a growing library of training materials. This site also provided a vehicle for Champions to support one another with success stories, best practices, and lessons learned.


Champions provided ongoing feedback on the overall initiative throughout the year. Transfer of behavior was measured through follow-up surveys with Champions nine months after the launch of the program.

  •  86 percent of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they could apply the information in their efforts to build new and/ or enhance existing client relationships.
  • 76 percent thought the program was aworth while investment in their development.
  • 63 percent thought having a coach was an effective component of the program.
  • On average, individual Champions estimated they had initiated 35 new relationships as a direct result of this initiative. Two champions estimated they had initiated more than 100. Two champions estimated they had initiated more than 100.

SCC Soft Computer: GROW— A Manager Training Initiative

SCC Soft Computer has a strong history of legacy employees (i.e., employees who have been with the company more than 10 years). Fewer than 40 percent of SCC’s current managers and directors have been with the organization less than 10 years. SCC is a privately held company that values longevity and the experience and expertise seasoned employees bring to the organization.

This philosophy has its obvious pros and cons. While SCC feels that the advantages of having so many seasoned employees in the organization far outweighs any possible drawbacks, the company recognizes that having an aging workforce also can lead to complacency. In response, in November 2014, SCC Educational Services (EDS)—in association with Human Resources (HR)—launched a blended manager training initiative called GROW, which stands for:GAIN a more complete perspective of how you’re currently leading/managing versus how you need to lead

REVIEW policies/best practices
ORGANIZE for the new year/plan
WOW with awesomeness (walk the talk)

Program Details

SCC kicked off the program in November 2014 with a leaderled hiring/performance review refresher. In 2015, it launched a series of Webinar-style lunch-and-learn sessions to encourage departmental managers who were not effectively utilizing their competency model in hiring or performance management initiatives to update their existing model, write new (better) competency-based interview questions, and conduct more effective performance reviews.

An annual year-end leader-led session was scheduled for November 2015. In 2016, SCC continued the process with a series of flipped Webinars to assess comprehension. The Webinar events required rapid development with a limited staff of two assigned to the project: one EDS organizational development (OD) specialist and one HR generalist to assist the OD specialist as needed.

Information was delivered in real time, up to the day of the online event. Rapid development tools such as reproducible outsourced training assets were purchased to reduce course development time. Learning management system (LMS) registrations needed to be created and links distributed to managers, as well as session reminders. On average, 40 managers and directors attended each of the Webinar events. Session recordings were distributed to the managers who couldn’t attend.

A manager SharePoint page—Leadership YOU: A Virtual University/Library/Information Center for SCC Managers— features posts of relevant articles and reminders from the sessions. SCC’s Leadership YOU includes INFocus, a monthly post that highlights best practices in management.

To ensure that managers utilized the information provided in the sessions right away, HR put in place checks and balances to feed information back to the senior OD specialist so issues could be communicated back to the managers in the next session. To help evaluate training effectiveness, the OD specialist was assigned to help with the performance review process to see how managers interpreted and applied the information provided.


  • Onboarding costs were reduced an additional 5 percent.
  • Internal candidates filled 7 5 percent of open positions.
  • Kickback of employee reviews to managers for rewrites were reduced by half, and the turnaround time for employees to receive merit increases/bonuses was cut on average by two weeks.
Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.