How Caterpillar Built a Measurable Career Development Process [Part 1]

In this case study blog series, guest contributor Alfonso Riley, learning technology consultant, will explore how he and his team at Caterpillar, Inc. built their learning data ecosystem to support an award-winning extended enterprise learning model. These efforts not only led to the increased adoption and usage of their learning programs, but also helped generate additional revenue. He'll also share tips and best practices along the way.

Building an extended enterprise learning program

When you support a dealer network of more than 150,000 employees across the world, efficiently designing and delivering standardized learning programs can be challenging. And that’s where Caterpillar found themselves during an organizational study in 2017.

In particular, the study showed how standardizing the customer experience across Caterpillar’s dealer network, the business could stand to generate billions in additional revenue.

The study’s results also revealed that dealers with mature learning and development organizations generated better profits—even when economic conditions were unfavorable.

Supporting Caterpillar's Global Dealer Network

As part of the organization’s global growth strategy the Caterpillar Global Dealer Learning (GDL) team is responsible for supporting dealers in the development of their key workforce.

Combining the expertise from the organization with its dealer network, Caterpillar has deployed a standard approach to develop dealers’ key workforce in the areas of leadership, sales, and service to align with strategic business goals.

As a result, the Caterpillar GDL team worked with SMEs around the globe to examine People, Processes, and Technology. After creating competency models for the Leadership, Sales, and Service employee groups, a 5-step process took shape as The Career Development Process.

The career development process explained

The Career Development Process (CDP) shifts the training focus of the target employee groups from experiential and incidental to data-driven. It leverages Watershed’s learning analytics platform to streamline metrics and provide real-time data analytics.

By architecting a robust learning ecosystem and conducting multiple training sessions, GDL has been able to deploy the Career Development Process to more than half of Caterpillar’s 172 Dealers, with a target of full adoption by 2020.

Key takeaways

In this series, we’ll cover Caterpillar’s:

  1. Business & Data Challenge
  2. Solution & 5-Step Career Development Process
  3. Approach: People, Processes & Technology
  4. Change Management Solutions: Process & Structure
  5. Change Management Solutions: Culture & People
  6. Results & Future Plans

Up Next: Caterpillar’s business challenge

In our next post, Alfonso Riley discusses how one key finding in how the learning process could lead Caterpillar to generate billions in additional revenue. In the meantime, subscribe to Watershed Insights so you don’t miss out!

The information provided in this series is based on Caterpillar’s 2019 award from the Brandon Hall Group in the category of “Best Advance in Creating an Extended Enterprise Learning Program.” Special thanks to Alfonso Riley, Jeff Barbee, Phil Adams, and Paul Gasparro of Caterpillar for their time, contribution, and insights.

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