Management Revolution

We helped one of the world’s leading insurance companies replicate the success of Google’s highly touted management transformation initiative, code-named Project Oxygen.

The Need

Our client, a Fortune Global 200 insurance company, was suffering from disconnected HR practices that undermined employee engagement and caused a substantial amount of new talent to come from outside of the organization, which was inefficient and expensive.

The company’s goal was to empower employees to own their own careers and promote talent from within by creating cohesive HR systems that combined individual skill development, career progression, performance management, and compensation in a transparent process. 

To accomplish these objectives, the company was rolling out a new set of tools, building new skills, and introducing a new set of leader standards that loosely followed Google’s Project Oxygen competencies. Blueline’s role was to put these skills and tools in context so that employees could practice applying them in a safe environment. 

At stake was the vital trust of the company’s employees. The topics of performance, compensation and career progression are sensitive and personal. Mistrust frequently takes root in an organization when career and compensation practices are perceived to be inconsistent and aren’t merit-based. On the other hand, initiatives that feel transparent and inspire ownership to have the power to effectively build trust (and enhance productivity) by making employees feel fairly treated, respected, and fully engaged in a company that values them.

The Blueline Solution

Using our Voice of the Business (VotB) process, we identified the most common challenges that leaders faced, and what good and bad looked like in those situations. We also projected the potential reception of the new performance management and promotions processes—what could go wrong and how to mitigate those risks. This discovery process enabled us to develop a tailored learning solution designed to overcome their specific challenges.

The Blueline Difference: A flexible approach to solving the problem

Our initial recommendation was to use a learning visual to introduce the new leader standards, followed by a board-based simulation that would bring together teams of learners to apply the new standards in context. Instead, the client reasoned, a technology solution could simplify the delivery process since it would eliminate the need to coordinate, print, and ship large volumes of materials. In response, our team came up with a new way to execute a digital learning experience that kept the team-based design strategy intact and would have the same impact as the art-based design—if not more memorable in its novelty.

We developed a two-day experience to build the specific skills leaders needed to create high-performing teams in their company’s unique environment. This immersive experience combined a broad range of learning activities to introduce new knowledge and concepts.

Facing real-life scenarios, teams of learners had to make difficult choices that impacted two competing objectives: growing employee engagement and driving business results. The scenarios explored all aspects of the new integrated HR systems and the new leader standards that support them, including the tools and behaviors required to make them come to life.

The team-based training was deployed to over 1,000 leaders throughout North America. Bringing people together in a team-driven environment—whether on-site, virtual, or hybrid—created a unique opportunity to assimilate their diverse perspectives and unique expertise. Learners had the opportunity to discover new concepts, develop their emotional intelligence, and tease out the best possible solutions as a team. Choice-specific feedback enabled learners to fail forward and learn from their mistakes.

Each team tracked their progress relative to the other teams on a live leaderboard, which was strategically positioned for everyone to see. This and other gamification techniques, such as random events and unanticipated long-term outcomes, created high levels of learner engagement, knowledge retention, and application pull-through. Scoring also helped learners stay connected to the right choices and outcomes.

Our ability to combine simulation and gamification techniques to develop social and technical skills has subsequently become a hallmark of Blueline’s ExperienceBUILDER digital learning design and delivery platform.

The Result

A magical two-day learning experience

The synchronous, team-driven, discovery learning experience started with the simple task of coming up with team names. When we saw learners delight in their team names appearing on the leaderboard, we knew we had created something that was not just connecting individual teams but also connecting the entire enterprise in an exciting way.

We consistently observed rooms full of hundreds of learners, who were divided into teams of three to four participants, creating significant momentum and energy as they celebrated their successes and learned by failing forward. Learners remained fully engaged in the two-day learning experience, and senior sponsors were thrilled with the passion it inspired among leaders at all levels.

After the learning experience, leaders felt confident about having career and compensation discussions in a predictable way that ensured the ongoing engagement and passion of their employees. Today that company is one of Fortune’s top 5 most-admired insurance companies in the world.

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