Face-to-face meetings with members of the PolyWrighton management team, the participants, the training function, and the director of human resources ensured the results were fully understood and reconciled prior to issuing the final written report.
PolyWrighton had a positive reaction to the results and requested the initiative extend to the 13 remaining business units.
Stakeholders remained engaged throughout the entire data collection, analysis, and reporting process and offered suggestions to improve future iterations of the learning initiative. PolyWrighton agreed to collaborate with the design team to reduce the 90-day learning period, without sacrificing quality and transfer of skills to the job.
Researchers should conduct additional research into programs, particularly in the context of organizational settings and individual business units. For instance, exploring a wider variety of applications for the UWES, including longitudinal studies that link work engagement to tangible business results indicators, may prove useful in assigning monetary values to calculate return on investment. Also, using program research to move toward a more common and practical engagement construct that links the preconditions, psychological factors, behavioral outcomes, and business results may enhance the evaluation of such programs in an organizational setting.
The study confirmed that practitioners should first take the time and effort to assess relevant business and learner needs in the context of organizational objectives and environmental conditions, before selecting a program. In this case, the blended self-coaching learning initiative was designed to meet the needs of PolyWrighton, and to link program objectives and measures to meaningful business outcomes. The integration of measurement and evaluation into the initiative from the start proved invaluable, because it helped shape a more successful implementation. Finally, programs firmly grounded in research are more likely to succeed.
Organizational response was favorable and positive. The key element in the overall success of the project was the highly engaged leadership by PolyWrighton managers to ensure the program was implemented on-the-job, as intended. Regular team meetings in production enhanced communications among participating managers, and an element of accountability for implementing the self-coaching skills on the job were leadership-driven enablers of success.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. How critical do you think the business alignment and forecasting plan in Figure 7-1 was to the success of the program? Explain.
2. Given the time invested into the program, would this online and classroom program be practical to try in your organization? Why was it successful at PolyWrighton?
3. How might the close coordination with the PolyWrighton stakeholders serve as a model for implementing similar initiatives in other organizations?
4. Besides the UWES and self-assessment profiles taken three months after the termination of the program, how would you have measured on-the-job implementation of the five skills? Explain.
5. Guiding Principle 8 states, “Extreme data items and unsupported claims should not be used in ROI calculations.” How would you relate that principle to the elimination of nonassignable outliers from production's waste and rework calculations? What about the use of the estimated total cost instead of the actual amount paid for the program? Explain.
6. The authors state that a key element in the overall success of the project was the highly engaged leadership by PolyWrighton managers to ensure the program was implemented on the job, as intended. In what ways do you believe that level of involvement impacted the outcome, and how can it be nurtured in other organizations, where the environment isn't as user-friendly?