Training Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives (July 2023)

Each year Training magazine requires all Training Hall of Famers to submit an Outstanding Training Initiative that we share with our readers. Here are the details of KLA Corporation’s Employee Experience Program and McCarthy Building Companies’ Building Our Talent Pipeline Program.

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Remote work, the Great Resignation, and dramatic company growth were the impetus for KLA Corporation’s Employee Experience Program. As the company coped with COVID-19, shelter-in-place regulations, business growth, customer demands, and supply chain issues, the organization needed to figure out how to get managers to prioritize employee engagement and experience, particularly as many of the 4,500 new hires over the last 2.5 years had never met their managers or even another employee in a “physical environment.”

In addition, KLA had been using a “traditional” employee engagement survey that ran once every two years. There was no real-time data and little in the way of actionable recommendations.

The resulting Employee Experience Program aimed to:

  • Provide employees with frequent opportunities to comment on their employee experience
  • Provide managers with real-time employee engagement data
  • Educate managers on the Core 11 behaviors that they own, which impact employee experience
  • Provide discrete actions managers can undertake to improve the employee experience, raise their engagement scores, and positively impact KLA’s attrition numbers

Program Details

There were five components of the content development:

  1. Identification of a new engagement platform. After much exploration, KLA found a vendor that provided robust, actionable data that would resonate with its engineering culture. KLA worked closely with the vendor to create a new engagement survey and validate the results.
  2. An initial broad-based 50-question engagement survey conducted in August 2021 to provide a baseline.
  3. Analysis of the engagement survey to identify areas of improvement. Every question now asks for specific commentary. In addition, the Core 11 engagement questions that managers directly impact and own became the sole focus on follow-up pulse surveys and training.
  4. Creation of a manager’s course, “Engaging with Engagement,” that focused directly on the engagement tool and the Core 11 manager behaviors that were in the engagement survey.
  5. Development of the change management plan. This was created in collaboration with KLA’s CEO and chief talent officer (CTO).

Training delivery consisted of:

  • Live virtual training for “Engaging with Engagement”
  • E-mail reinforcement
  • A Web-based real-time engagement dashboard with action plans, online training, and personalized recommendations
  • All-hands and quarterly business reviews for reinforcement

A 10 percent improvement goal was baked into the Corporate Balanced Scorecard, meaning that every VP and GM has their results factored into their annual bonus. It also means that the CEO and CTO ask every VP/GM to address their status and actions in each quarterly business review.

Top-scoring managers are recognized in local all-hands events. KLA’s Corporate Learning Center provides low-scoring managers with coaching and improvement assistance.


  • KLA’s goal was to see a 10 percent improvement in overall Engagement Net Promoter Score (eNPS). In fact, the company saw a 30 percent increase between August 2021 and August 2022.
  • Every one of the Core 11 management behavior scores improved by 3 to 11 eNPS points. These improvements were seen in every region and division across all demographics.
  • KLA historically has maintained attrition rates that are 50 percent of its industry benchmarks. Over the Great Resignation time period, the company has seen attrition rates of less than half of those of comparison companies in the industry.



In response to a request for talent development support from McCarthy Building Companies’ Renewable Energy Business Unit, the firm created the Building Our Talent Pipeline Program. It aims to provide leaders and managers with the knowledge, skills, and resources critical to achieving talent goals. After the initial pilot program rollout in June 2022, the company planned to launch the program nationally this year, potentially reaching 1,000-plus leaders.

This was the organization’s first in-depth training on topics such as building high-trust team cultures, influence and motivation, and personal accountability.

Program Details

The content development approach consisted of using both Adult Learning theory and Accelerative Learning, a learning methodology new to McCarthy that focuses on increasing learning retention and on-the-job application. Accelerative Learning includes six phases:

  • Preparation, which involves creating a welcoming learning environment and ensuring participants have all the information and resources necessary to begin learning (introductory communication, pre-work, name tents, manipulatives on tables, interactive participant guides, etc.).
  • Connection, which addresses the relevancy of the training and answers the “What’s in It for Me?” question.
  • Discovery, which includes learning new information/skills or relearning existing information/skills in highly experiential ways (i.e., games, building with manipulatives, research, etc.).
  • Activation, which includes applying information/skills learned in real-life scenarios (role-play, teach-backs, simulations, tests/quizzes, etc.).
  • Integration, which includes asking learners to commit to applying what they’ve learned back at work (i.e., independent reflection, peer accountability sessions).
  • Appreciation, which includes providing praise and support to encourage the learners to apply what they’ve learned on the job (i.e., Appreciative Close activities, ongoing peer-to-peer or mentor support, etc.).

The resulting program consists of four, four-hour in-person training sessions for senior/executive leadership, directors, and project managers/superintendents. The program also includes two-hour virtual sessions for directors and project managers/superintendents.

The pilot program also consisted of pre- and post-work assignments, independent reflection, leader/manager check-in meetings, and coaching sessions with the Renewable Energy HR director. Pilot program participants were required to attend all sessions and complete all work assignments to receive credit for this program in Success Factors, McCarthy’s learning management system (LMS).

All program participants completed two reinforcement activities upon finishing the program:

  • Two leader/manager check-ins, which included meeting with their direct leader/manager to discuss their progress in executing their program actions plans, and then documenting the results of their action plan items in McCarthy’s LMS.
  • Two coaching sessions facilitated by their HR director or manager.
  • In addition, each participant’s direct leader/manager completed a Skills Observation form in the LMS to document participant behavior changes as a result of this program.


While the final results are still pending, Level 3 results for the 152 learners who participated in the pilot program indicate the following:

  • At least 50 percent of pilot program participants have demonstrated an observable behavior change related to knowledge/skills gained in this program.
  • Leaders of pilot program participants indicated these participants have improved their performance in three of the five critical skills related to creating high-trust teams (increased self-awareness of trust-building behaviors using the Trust Equation; appropriately modeled vulnerability-based trust; and applied the six critical components of a talent development strategy).
Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. 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.