Career development is one of the top priorities for GM employees around the world, and we want a workforce that looks to learn continuously.
GM takes a 70-20-10 approach to learning, where 70% of learning occurs through on-the-job experiences, including stretch projects. The next 20% occurs through exposure activities, coaching, mentoring, participation in Employee Resource Groups and other activities. The final 10% of learning happens through formal educational resources. Our development process is available to employees at all levels, from new hires to senior executives. Crucially, this process is not prescriptive. We provide guidance and offer diverse opportunities and encourage employees to build skills and seek out experiences that interest them most.
Enhanced Technical Learning
We are focusing on the most important segment of learning—on-the-job experience—with the reopening of GM’s Technical Learning University (TLU). The TLU initiative began in 2017 and recently underwent a $2 million upgrade to its manufacturing laboratory facilities on the Global Technical Center campus in Warren, Michigan. At TLU, represented skilled trades workers and salaried manufacturing engineers come from across the country to hone their skills using next-generation equipment such as automation and robotics.
The TLU’s centralized approach to training provides several advantages over the locally managed technical training of the past. Previously, it was difficult for individual plants to sufficiently train employees without access to the most modern equipment. In addition to having state-of-the-art equipment, the TLU implements a standardized training approach facilitated by a third-party coordinator. Every skilled tradesperson attending the TLU returns to their home plant with new skills and knowledge consistent with that of their counterparts across the global enterprise.
The first cohort of participants at TLU also includes salaried engineers from GM’s Technical Rotation and Career Knowledge (TRACK) program, which allows recent college graduates to explore a variety of career paths at GM, make connections across the company and prepare for success early in their careers. These new hires will take technical skills with them as they pursue any number of career paths at GM.
As our products change and our manufacturing operations evolve, the upskilling offered through TLU enables more employees to join us as we transition. Over the next three years, TLU leadership anticipates training up to 3,600 workers, with many more to come as we continue to invest in this space.
Development opportunities can take many forms, including partnering with peers to grow one’s capabilities. For example, the Professional Managers Network (PMN) at GM is open to frontline people leaders as a resource to help engage and motivate their teams. Manufacturing leadership recently organized a virtual conference for PMN members who work at 39 GM manufacturing operations in North America.
Development can also include spending time outside one’s job duties to explore an innovative idea. iHub, GM’s innovation lab, hosts SYNAPSE, an annual innovation competition where teams of employees stretch beyond their roles to create, develop and pitch ideas to leadership. Each competition has a theme, and SYNAPSE 2020 focused on solutions that address distracted driving.
In 2020, iHub also introduced the iHub Idea Incubator, a place for GM employees to submit their innovation ideas related to GM’s core business. Employees can submit ideas online, then invite peers to make comments that build upon their ideas and vote on their favorites. Every two months, the highest-ranked ideas move forward in the Incubator. Project teams are then provided immediate resources from the iHub team, including material to build a prototype, fabrication help, guidance from iHub coaches, access to 3D printing resources and a material budget.
Learning and education are key contributors to sustainability. At GM, we are committed to providing opportunities and resources to our employees to learn and grow—and to ensure HR systems are in place for them to do so in an optimal manner.
In the year 2020, we brought a significant level of standardization and agility to the company's HR processes, implementing Workday, an HR tool, across the enterprise. Designed to simplify the employee experience, Workday replaced over 30 different systems and applications and provided employees a “one stop shop” to manage their HR needs. Employee Cards and Talent Profiles are popular new features that enable employees with an opportunity to input their own strengths and career aspirations into the HR tool, which results in greater visibility and connections to opportunities. An additional advantage is both tools help managers know and advocate for their team members. These changes are designed to support employee growth.
Opportunities to share new perspectives and the availability of platforms to learn are hallmarks of our sustained employee development efforts. To bring an ‘outside in’ perspective, GM continues to partner with academic institutions such as Stanford University and the University of Michigan. These programs support employee capability development efforts by keeping employees up to date on emerging trends in business and society. Additionally, our internal programs such as Women's Leadership Bootcamp and People Leader Basics provide a greater perspective to employees to grow their skills and competencies for future.
GM also offers opportunities for continuous learning through platforms and content libraries, such as Learning Management System and Percipio. These types of opportunities enable employees to incorporate learning into their regular work flow.