FedEx Mixes Established L&D Programs with New Technologies




In his more than a decade as CLO and VP of HR at FedEx, Bob Bennett oversaw the roll out of new learning and development programs, designed to connect directly with employees' day-to-day tasks, while also championing existing platforms, including FedEx's annual employee survey.

The courier delivery service has surveyed all of its employees annually for nearly 40 years. The results can help L&D leaders, like Bennett, better understand employee culture and their specific learning needs. "We recognize there are thousands of organizations within the company, so the same culture will not work and cannot be replicated in every one of those," Bennett said. "We have to find the right mix for the right department."

Check out our video interview with Bob above or the text version of our Q&A below.

What's been the focus of L&D under your leadership at FedEx?

The learning and development side is something I really didn't pay a lot of attention to before I got into it.

When I got there, we were world class, but we were world class in terms of the development side of the business. We needed some kind of change because developing a program and implementing a program are two different things.

The practicality of a program becomes a little more difficult. So the whole focus became taking the L&D side and turning it from an innovative, industry-leader type thing into something that works at FedEx.

What new L&D programs are you implementing?

We're embracing the technology side of the business. We're empowering our people. We're involving our customers, our couriers, our service agents, our line managers to actually participate in learning programs.

We're going into e-learning more, balanced learning. We're becoming much more focused on what I would call experiential learning, actually taking what we do in practice and put it into place. We always focused on leadership training. We continue that. We expanded it now to leadership training from entry level positions all the way up because we recognize the value of informal leaders throughout the organization and the need to develop them early.

FedEx is known for its employee surveys. Can you give us an overview?

We pride ourselves on this. We've done surveys for almost 40 years--almost as long as the company has been in existence. It's an anonymous survey. We reach out and ask every employee to participate and we have a 99 percent participation rate, which is absolutely phenomenal. It just works out great.

Does the survey offer a way to measure employee culture?

It's not just a measurement of saying where are we with culture, but actually take the culture and say, this culture produces this result to the bottom line in this type of organization.

And we recognize there are thousands of organizations within the company, so the same culture will not work and cannot be replicated in every one of those. We have to find the right mix for the right department.

What is the ultimate goal of L&D at FedEx?

We want to become a true partner, a true strategist. The only way we succeed is if they succeed. We are successful in doing our jobs if we make them successful in meeting each and every one of their objectives.

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