Top 10 Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives (March/April 2015)

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 LLP’s Tax Training Redesign and The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center’s Advisory Services for Hospitals submissions.

KPMG LLP: Tax Training Redesign

Across all its business practices, KPMG LLP is committed to continually taking performance to the next level. Fulfilling this commitment means accepting that even great training programs may need to be reinvented with an eye to the future. KPMG recognized an opportunity to further evolve the skills and capabilities of Tax professionals, and redesigned a successful component of its Tax training curriculum from the ground up, with the aim of increasing:

  • Ability to apply knowledge and skills taught on the job
  • Utilization of KPMG Global Services (KGS) team
  • Staff utilization and senior associate efficiencies

The National Managing Partner of Tax, Partner in Charge of Tax training, various levels of leadership and management from the Tax practice, as well as KPMG business school directors responsible for program managers, instructional design staff, and deployment team were involved in the redesign. Initial leadership conversations regarding this program began in June 2012, with full-blown needs assessment activities taking place throughout the fall and winter of 2012-2013. The program was implemented for the first time in October 2013 and January 2014. Other facets of the program were ongoing throughout 2014.

Program Details

KPMG delivered the multifaceted redesigned course to 307 individuals in one of its Tax service lines during two, two-week-long sessions. Before the course, participants were asked to complete a series of Web-based training courses on technical topics used to "level-set" participants prior to coming, and also a pre-assessment the day before coming to the program. The pre-assessment results then were leveraged to determine areas of greatest need and areas where knowledge of training topics may be known prior to training. Instructors received this information prior to the session start to assist them in delivering the content.

During the course, participants used a case study to learn the technical and enabling skills necessary to be successful. The course culminated with a final simulated case where they had to "tie it all together" and complete a post-course exam.


KPMG surrounded the program with an action plan that all participants needed to complete, a series of post-program e-learning courses, and performance support that was pushed out at the points when most would be completing the tasks associated with them. Tax leadership sent communications to local office partners, reinforcing the importance of the training, expectations for participants, and the action plans completed.


KPMG's target metrics for business results were increased utilization of KGS and new hires, plus senior associate efficiencies. Results included:

  • Program participants were able to apply their learning on the job, and were stronger in many tasks than past participants.
  • Staff completed an increased amount of work.
  • KPMG exceeded the benchmark for KGS utilization over the prior year's values, translating into an increase in hours sent to the extended team, freeing KPMG professionals for more advanced work/activities.

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center: Advisory Services for Hospitals

Since the advent of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS)— a national, standardized and publicly reported survey of patients' perspectives of hospital care— an increasing number of professionals in the health-care industry have been turning to The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center for assistance.

To support the need for a better patient experience, The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center created and launched a training program specifically for the health-care industry. Healthcare organizations can elect to take an introductory course, "Excellence In The Patient Experience," and/or request advisory services. "Excellence In The Patient Experience" was publicly offered for the first time in February 2014 and will be offered twice in 2015. In addition, it is available as an on-site presentation for health-care organizations that would like to share the training with their management and staff.

Program Details
In the introductory course, "Excellence In The Patient Experience," health-care organizations learn how a service excellence culture results in a patient-centric environment through engaged employees. They also are introduced to the key processes— such as onboarding, employee empowerment, and patient engagement— that lead to service excellence.

Steps for "Advisory Services for Hospitals" (which include the content for "Excellence In The Patient Experience") include:

STEP 1— Discovery: Assessing Organizational Culture

Day 1: Initial observations

  • Meet with senior leaders for kick-off and to set expectations
  • Tour facility(s) and gather information
  • Conduct two focus groups

Day 2: Overview of The Ritz-Carlton culture
Day 3: Debrief and report

STEP 2— Leading by Example

Middle managers are introduced to The Ritz-Carlton method for:

  • Developing a patient-centric culture
  • Establishing robust operational systems to reduce mistakes and improve safety
  • Improving employee engagement through service values and empowerment to reduce turnover
  • Embracing safety, conservation, and cleanliness
  • Practicing etiquette, civility, and manners to promote a positive and engaged environment for patients and colleagues
  • Accepting personal accountability and responsibility for team success

STEP 3—Aligning Culture

  • Establish a Culture & Design Committee and work with it to establish a written organizational culture
  • Educate senior leaders on the value of line-up to create cultural alignment

STEP 4— Creating Psychological Ownership

Senior leadership announces the new cultural initiatives at an all-staff meeting.

STEP 5— Establishing Empowerment/ Problem Resolution

The Ritz-Carlton advisors educate committee members on how first-point-of-contact problem resolution and second-issue avoidance lead to customer loyalty, the Ritz-Carlton problem resolution model, and the importance of appropriate systems for tracking and measuring empowerment.

STEP 6— Engaging Patients

The Ritz-Carlton advisors present “ Memorable Customer Service" to all staffers, and physicians and senior leaders are introduced to The Ritz-Carlton model for:

  • Providing anticipatory service that affects HCAHPS scores
  • Crafting unique, memorable, and personal experiences so patients don't feel like they are just another medical procedure
  • Understanding how a written service strategy ensures consistency
  • Improving safety by ensuring employees are not on auto-pilot

STEP 7— Inspiring the Workforce

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center helps develop a "people strategy" that includes making the right hires and engaging them with the organization right from the start. This entails:

  • Reviewing key processes such as talent acquisition, selection, onboarding, new employee orientation, operational certification, Day 21 and Day 3 6 5 training
  • Observing the current orientation process
  • Conducting feedback sessions with newly hired employees

STEP 8— Creating the Roadmap for Service Excellence Sustainability

Ritz-Carlton advisors meet with the Culture & Design Committee and senior leaders to:

  • Review the S.W.O.T. process, strategic planning, and communicating and cascading the strategic plan
  • Discuss ongoing best use of the Culture & Design Committee as culture ambassadors

The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center's initial research took place at Bon Secours hospital. After completing a prototype of "Advisory Services," Bon Secours' Gallup employee engagement scores rose from 3 .9 8 percent in 2006 to 4.5 2 percent in 2009. The mortality rate decreased from 2.73 percent in 2006 to 2.62 percent in 2009. In 2013, Bon Secours was named one of America's 5 0 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades, a testament to the sustainability of the culture transformation.

In 2014, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Leadership Center trained more than 5,0 00 people in different health-care systems. Last year, 30 percent of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Leadership Center's annual revenue was generated from health care. The Leadership Center expects this number to increase by at least 10 percent in 2015.


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