Training Top 10 Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Keller Williams Realty, Inc., join the ranks of 14 other companies named to the Training Top 10 Hall of Fame since its inception in 2008.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Keller Williams Realty, Inc., are the newest inductees into the Training Top 10 Hall of Fame, joining the ranks of 14 other companies named to the hall since its inception in 2008. These 16 companies held Top 10 spots in the Training Top 50, Top 100 , and now Top 125 rankings for four consecutive years. The two new organizations were formally inducted into the Top 10 Hall of Fame at this year’s Training Top 125 Gala, held February 12 during the Training 2018 Conference & Expo in Atlanta. Members remain in the Top 10 Hall of Fame for a minimum of three years. They can choose to remain in the Hall of Fame by adhering to specific guidelines or they can opt to reapply for Training Top 125 consideration.


Transforming the culture of a 78-year-old company with nearly 8,000 employees is a daunting task. At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, evidence shows that leadership commitment and well-focused training has, indeed, improved the culture.

In 2012, with health-care reform looming, Blue Cross conducted an organizational assessment that shed light on three areas of need: customer focus, empowerment, and capability development.

First, a multifaceted empowerment plan was developed, encompassing new strategies, research, training, support, information, and communications. This plan addressed both corporate and divisional efforts.

A key component of the plan was a three-hour Empowerment Insights workshop comprising videos, role-play, and case studies. The workshop sets up a suite of self-learning “Empowerment in Practice” tools. All-employee CEO Town Halls designed to provide strategic information in an interactive manner also supported Blue Cross’ focus on creating an empowering environment.

Operational training focused on a new service training to help service representatives respond with greater empathy and flexibility. This empowering approach was well received among employees and resulted in improved customer service metrics. On a sales training front, investments in employee development lead to improved sales team skills and 100 percent certification of required health and life insurance licensing.

Additional training programs were developed for leaders across all levels to improve skills and positively impact business results.

The combination of these efforts resulted in significant improvement in the organizational assessment results. Since 2012, Customer Focus has increased by 159 percent, Capability Development by 108 percent, and Empowerment by 97 percent.

Blue Cross believes what sets it apart is its consistency of focus. Clear, constant strategic priorities enable Blue Cross to take a long-term view and put training initiatives into place that focus on future success. “We owe a debt of gratitude to Training magazine for setting a high standard and keeping a focus on measurement, which has pushed us to grow and improve,” says Laura Byars, vice president, Human Performance. “We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to learning and development with induction into the Hall of Fame.”


As the world’s largest real estate franchise, Keller Williams Realty, Inc., has proven that an innovative, training-based culture produces results. The company is now home to more than 175,000 associates across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. More important, the company’s agents are achieving record production gains, allowing them to fund their lives and create opportunities for their families.

In just the last five years, the number of homes bought or sold with the help of a Keller Williams agent has doubled. Agent commissions are up 150 percent. And profit share is up 175 percent. Keller Williams’ training programs have contributed directly to this success. By making training the center of its value proposition, Keller Williams is providing agents at all levels of experience and production with the resources and tools they need to succeed.

The company’s learning-based culture starts at the top, with the models and systems that Cofounder and Chairman Gary Keller developed and has shared through his bestselling books, and the agent growth and production tools that CEO John Davis introduced and is continually enhancing.

Keller Williams invests heavily in its training programs and initiatives, including an in-house training division (Keller Williams University), coaching program (KW MAPS Coaching), technology labs, video production company, research team, and publishing group. In addition, its live training events attract tens of thousands of attendees who voluntarily take themselves out of their businesses for days at a time so they can mastermind with peers and learn from top producers.

Indeed, Keller Williams’ success owes much to its deeply ingrained culture of collaborative learning and giving back. Keller Williams is constantly learning from the best practices of the best practitioners, and then sharing those insights with all of the company’s associates so they can grow their businesses and lead bigger lives.


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