Joe Ilvento is the Chief Learning Officer and WW Director of Talent Development for CommVault Systems. Joe is receiving an award at the CLO Symposium in October based on Job Role profile, assessment and the creation of a 70-20-10 development plan. Joe supports the leadership and development of CommVault employees worldwide. Since coming on board, Joe has built and delivered a comprehensive leadership development program, selected & implemented a global learning management system, and built and delivered various elearning and virtual classroom solutions. As Director of Talent, he is helping develop a world class performance management model that is both effective and actionable to include individual development plans & learning and career paths. Prior to coming to CommVault in 2011, Joe was with Citi for 12 years. He served as the Director of L&D for Citi’s Global Functions & supported 20,000+ Citi employees in the Finance, Risk, Compliance & Audit depts. Joe started with Citigroup in 1998 as e-Citi’s Professional Development Mgr. Prior to Citi, Joe lived in Wash D.C. area for 14 years & worked as a mgmt. consultant training 25,000+ people that included the Fortune 200 & Fed Gov’t Agencies. He served as a Master Trainer for Learning International (formally Xerox Learning Systems) & Fred Pryor Seminars & prior to that was the National Sales Trainer for Cable & Wireless Communications. Joe is the author of 3 books, Nobody to Somebody in 63 Days or Less License to Sell License to Serve.
: Broadcasting live from Business Radio Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it’s time for Learning Insights, featuring learning professionals improving performance to drive business results.
: Welcome to another exciting and informative edition of Learning Insights. Stone Payton and Lee Kantor here with you this afternoon. Lee, this is going to be a fantastic show. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast. Chief Learning Officer with CommVault, Mr. Joe Ilvento. How are you, man?
: Good, good. Hello, Stone. How are you? Hello, Lee.
: We are doing great, Joe. Before we get too far into things, can you share a little bit about CommVault? How are you serving folks?
: Yeah, sure. So, CommVault is a leader at enterprise backup, and recovery, data management. And what we do is we work with companies across any kind of a hybrid environment. So, not just any particular type of backup but any of their equipment, we can work with. And founded in 1996. We’re publicly traded, and were headquartered in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.
: And so, your clients are in a variety of industries?
: Variety of industries across the board and around the world.
: Wow. So, as Chief Learning Officer, you must — That’s a pretty big challenge.
: It’s a big challenge, it’s lots of fun, and it’s some travel along the way. I had the opportunity to be with our Singapore team just a couple of weeks ago. Earlier in the year, I was with our UK team. And throughout the year, of course, visiting folks around the country and around the world.
: Now, how do you design your learning for the different cultures and the different groups around the world?
: Yeah. So, one of the things we take a look at is we start really with the business drivers. We look at what they’re looking to achieve, and how they’re — what some of their objectives are.
: With our Singapore team, we have a new VP installed, and they’re looking to craft a vision. So, I was just talking about some of the consulting work. So, sometimes, we’ll put on our consultants’ hat, and work with creating vision statements, and identifying the big rocks, and the goals, and the objectives for the tier or the region, and helping the VP and his team kind of action that and what that looks like for the next 30, 60, 90 days, and, of course, throughout the year.
: In other instances, we’ll be working with our managers and our leaders. And we have a variety of programs there from a transitioning into management program to a CommVault manager program. And we’re in the process now of developing a director level program to help more of the senior leaders work. And then, there will be kind of micro learning along the way. So, right now, we have a lot of emphasis on coaching, and coaching others, and also around change, leading change and change management.
: So, you developed kind of an overarching corporate policy, and then you deploy it as needed around the world?
: That’s correct. And so, those would be some examples of classroom or face-to-face type learning. We layer in a virtual component, so it can always be there, both pre and post. So, we’ll offer up e-learning, we’ll offer up virtual training, either as pre-learning or post-learning in that process.
: And then, we’ve also crafted a university. So, we have a learning at CommVault website that offers up to about 1500 or so either CommVault-created or off-the-shelf type short micro learning sessions. A lot of video, a lot of audio, a lot of engaging type content where an end user, a learner, can go in and type in a particular topic of interest, whether it’s communication skills, or project management, or whatever it might be, and see what’s out there.
: Now, how long have you been in the CLO role?
: With CommVault, going on seven years. Prior to CommVault, I’m just one of the learning folks, up and learning folks, one of three at Citigroup for about 12 years.
: Prior to that, I was an independent consultant. I did a lot of work for the Fortune 200.
: Now, prior to you at CommVault, did they have a chief learning officer or were you the first one?
: I was the first. So, part of this process was, I think, they were looking for a learning professional. And as I was going through my interview process, they saw what I brought to the table was much bigger than what they were originally looking for. But it was a headhunter who brought me to the table, and they said, “You got to meet this guy. He really does do a lot of things, not only in the learning space, but also in the talent management space and the strategic HR space.” So, as we went through the interview process, it was kind of a larger turnkey solution. And so, they created the role for me.
: So, now, when you had this role and you got to, I guess, kind of create it from scratch, has it evolved in the manner that you envisioned?
: Yeah, it certainly has evolved. When you think about where we were and where we are today, it certainly is and continues to be a very fun, and exciting, and innovative environment. One of the nice things about creating the role was that it was really a blank slate opportunity, and that was what excites me. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I love to build and create things.
: And so, CommVault, one of our core values is innovating an innovation. And one of those, that opportunity certainly exists here. So, really have the opportunity to build out a learning function, a talent function, and build some frameworks and models that have really received both national and international attention.
: And in your career, you’ve had the opportunity to write several books, right?
: That’s correct. So, I started way back when. My background is Psychology and a Masters in Distance Education. And my first role out of college, out of Syracuse, was with a company called Cable & Wireless Communications down in Vienna, Virginia. And at that time, I was salesperson for them. I became their top salesperson.
: And so, they said, “You’re doing so well. Why don’t we have you train the other salespeople in the company?” And so, I migrated from a sales environment into sales training. And that sparked the first book called License to Sell. I’m also a big James Bond fan. So, we borrowed from the title there. License to Sell was a great book.
: And I’ve met another co-author at the time who is a 20-year Marriott executive. And I was presenting at the Speakers Association down in Washington DC about how to get published, and how to get recognized, and I said that you got to find a co-author any time you get to write a book. It doubles the effort. It doubles the marketing that you put around a particular book. And he approached me, and he was a 20 plus year Marriott executive, and we wrote License to Serve. So, he came out of the hotel industry and the restaurant industry, and we wrote another book on servicing.
: And then, the third book is around networking. And this is old school networking. This is pre-Facebook, pre-LinkedIn, old school Rolodex type of networking, press to flesh, word of mouth. And that one was called Nobody to Somebody in 63 Days or Less.
: Now, did that activity inform your chief learning officer ability, like being an author and going through that process?
: Yeah. I think, part of it is the ability to create content. So, one of the things that I like to do is not just be the thinker or the strategy but actually to doer. So, oftentimes, from an instructional design perspective, you not only have to conceptually come up with the idea. Part of the sale is understanding the needs analysis and understanding what the customer’s looking for. In this case, my managers, or my leaders, or my learners.
: And then, the ability to write and craft the content. So, it’s not that you’re handing this off to other people because you can do it all yourself. It really helps you see the end-to-end design both from the initial need and the driver behind it to actually outlining and creating the instructional design. And then, right on following through to the delivery and the support of pre and post program.
: So, in your process, do you lean on the experts and the subject matter experts throughout your system, or are you saying that you’re doing most of the content creation?
: No, absolutely. One of the, I guess, trends that I’ve leveraged over the last 10 or so years is really taking a leaders teach concept. So, rather than playing that role of a subject matter expert, I like the idea of using instructional design to leverage the existing leaders, the existing business head in the function to share their perspective and share their insights.
: So, as a learning professional and as an instructional designer, you certainly can help tee that up. So, you might tee up the exercise. You might tee what the actual breakouts might look like, and help them understand it, and capture those ideas. You really want to give the opportunity for the business lead or some leader in the room to be able to share their expertise, share their own experiences, get that buy-in from the rest of the table and the rest of the team around the room, and then help that person through instructional design or facilitation to carry that through to the conclusion of whatever their learning objective happens to be.
: Now, when you’re capturing the content, are you, right now, leaning a lot on video or how is the content captured?
: Well, we’ll certainly do video. So, we love micro learning. We love short videos. So, we will look for opportunities to capture our leaders’ perspectives in short small videos. We’ll look for ways to tee it up live in the classroom, or we’ll use subject matter experts in just getting some feedback, whether it’s anecdotes, or case studies, or examples that the folks facilitating the other programs can leverage during the program.
: Joe, this is Stone talking here. How do you make your curriculum decisions? How do you land on what to create and distribute in a given year or season?
: That’s a great question. I think, again, it goes back to the overarching strategic goals of the organization. I’m a big believer in cascading. So, we will look for what those strategic objectives look like, and then kind of follow that progression down the line to understand what does that impact look like from an HR perspective.
: And then, from within an HR perspective, what might that look like from an L&D perspective. In my case, L&T reports up to the HR function. So, I work closely with by human resource business partners to align with the business leads to help understand what it is they’re looking for and how we can help support their efforts.
: So, right now we’re undergoing a big change strategy in how we are marketing our products and services. And as a result, we’re supporting that change and helping manage that change in the field, helping people understand how they’re getting, — you know, how their roles might change, how their deliverables might change, how their day-to-day actions might change on a daily basis, and help them with that transformation from maybe what they did yesterday to what they’re going to be doing tomorrow.
: Well, I absolutely love it that you have business leads intimately involved in design and delivery. And I’m operating under the impression, maybe even in strategic direction, assessment, and so many of the other disciplines, and I have to believe that when it comes to planning and executing large-scale, truly transformational change of the nature that, I think, I hear you describing, having business leads that intimately involved has to make for better, faster, more cost-effective change. Is that accurate?
: Yes, certainly. I mean, any time we can get an opportunity to have a business lead share their perspectives, especially in an area or in an industry that has a very rapid change associated with it, to get — By the time — If you were to take a traditional approach, and try to do interviews, and capture that content into some type of formal learning, and then formally create that into some type of e-learning or classroom-based learning, and then cascade that within the organization, then, probably, the strategies change, the markets change, the environments change.
: So, what we do is we’ll often ask either virtually or live in person. If we’re doing an offsite, if we’re doing a meeting, we’ll invite leaders to come and present. And we’ll take, if it’s a 90-minute session, we’ll carve out 20-30 minutes to invite a guest speaker from the business to come share and speak to us, whatever their group is, to help gain some insight and always allow time for Q&A at the end.
: Now, are these micro learning opportunities, are they in that 20-minute chunks or are they more micro than that?
: So, our micro learning within our Learning at CommVault website, we offer off-the-shelf, third-party vendor content that ranges in the two to five-minute range. We’ve launched our own internal and crafted our own videos around our talent management framework, a.k.a. performance management, or our coaching framework, or our priorities framework. And we’ve leveraged and built in-house content that ranges, again, four to five minutes in length. And in the end, sometimes, when we’ll invite speakers to speak, typically, we’ll keep that in the 15 to 20, you know, max of 30-minute range, and allow Q&A to build off of that as well. So, it really ranges, but definitely on the shorter side versus the longer side.
: Are you finding that you’re getting better engagement and people are listening and comprehending in those small chunks?
: I think, the small chunks really do help. It allows people to craft a learning path that works for them. So, you’ve heard of the “Just in time, just enough, just wait,” kind of model associated with bite-size learning or micro learning. And what it does is it allows people to have a beginning, a middle, and an end all in a very short time frame, And then, tee up the next program behind it. So, they can decide, based on the time available, how much they want to invest in a particular topic, or honing a particular skill, or possibly just prior to a meeting.
: The other option that we’ve done is we’ve actually created curriculum. So, we’ve curated multiple learning modules, these small micro learning, into a learning path that can sometimes exceed 60 or 90 minutes. But it’s a series of modules. So, a module might consists of four or five of these three-minute type programs, and a curriculum might have three or four modules associated with it. So, all in, it might be 60 or 90-minute program, but it’s all curated. So, it tees up the next program for you once you’re finished with the one prior.
: Now, are you doing assessments too, so you can tell what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to be tweaked, or where there needs to be some remedial help or things like that?
: Yeah. So, one of the things that we’re doing, so the micro learning that we leveraged has a built-in kind of knowledge test, knowledge quiz, knowledge transfer option at the end. So, you do have that ability. We can, in some instances, we do pre-test and post-test. So, we’re able to get some level two data. All of our e-modules that we craft in-house, we have a level one follow up that’s built-in. And then, in some instances, we’ll actually look for some anecdotal level three type application of the content.
: As, you know, it gets a little bit more challenging, and it gets a little bit — It’s a lot more rigor that goes into that type of pre and post. Ultimately, we use the business to be our gauge and our guide. And we look at our usage and our learners coming back for more to be our primary driver as to whether we’ve been successful or not. And the answer over the years has been an overwhelmingly yes.
: Now, are you directly involved in, I don’t know what the right term would be, structuring the job or creating job profile descriptions? Is that part of your domain and the area of responsibility there, you and your team?
: So, yes, I have been asked to help craft what we call success profiles. And by doing that, what we do is we go back. We will identify, we interview a particular group of people, and find out what makes them successful. So, we look for best-in-class folks that are succeeding in their roles. We’ll help identify, and we’ll tease out of them through those interviews what are the required skills, what does their background and experience look like, and what are some core competencies associated with that role.
: And then, from that, we’ll actually build a profile. And we can, then, leverage that profile to cover everything from recruiting. So, when we’re actually posting a role out externally as to what that descriptor role might look like, what the recruiters might use to screen those candidates, to interview guides. So, when the hiring manager is sitting in front of those candidates, behavioral interview questions, they can ask to truly and genuinely make sure that those skills and that knowledge exists against that particular role and with those individuals.
: We’ll carry it right on through to what we call a learning path or a career development opportunity. We have new hires or existing people in role self-assess against an assessment. And we’ve recently been awarded an innovation award on a tool that will actually allow for that assessment to occur, and it will dynamically craft a 70/20/10 split development plan for that individual both closing the gaps that might exist for a role or allowing them to look at their current goal, and what our future role might look like, and close those gaps. So, some pretty cool stuff in that regard.
: Well, congratulations. Congratulations on being up for that award. Can you describe, what is this 70/20/10 about? What does that mean?
: So, 70/20/10 for the learning folks out there, certainly they’ve heard that before. 70/20/10 is a way of looking at learning that if you think about what you’ve learned in the past, and everything you’ve learned to date, probably 70% of it falls into on-the-job experiential type exercises.
: What we refer to sometimes as stretch assignments or on-the-job assignments, we’re learning in the role itself. But the 20 is the coaching and the feedback. It’s the mistakes. It’s the feedback loops that you get as to learning how not to do something or how to improve on something based on feedback.
: And then, the 10% is the structure of learning. It’s the classroom learning. It’s the Learning at CommVault website type structured learning or e-learning that you might take or book learning. And so, when you think about that mix, it creates a hybrid learning environment where 70%, 20% and 10% of that, when put together, creates your ideal learning atmosphere.
: What you’re describing makes perfect sense. I don’t guess I ever framed it that way and didn’t think about it, but all three are important. But such a great deal of this really is happening on the job, which, again, for me, underscores the value and the importance of having your business leads intimately evolve throughout the process. And that way, they don’t untrain them quicker, and you can train them, right?
: Absolutely. When you think about that model, and this is one of the things that we talk about at our manager and our leadership training, is if you think about that model, the manager owns about 90% of that person’s success from a development perspective.
: But, oftentimes, what happens is the manager will say, “What training do you have to fix this issue or fix this person?” And we’ll often go into that 70/20/10 kind of model, and talk to them, and say, “We can certainly provide training, but understand that 90% really rests in your environment and what you can bring to the table as a leader.”
: So, as you are thinking about delegating assignments, as you think about the work that has to be done, and in the function, look across your team and say to yourself, “Who would benefit most from those types of stretch assignments? Who would benefit most from, maybe, cross-functional assignments?” So, you might, rather than give it to the person who has always done that particular role in the past, look for opportunities to cross train or to provide new opportunities and stretch opportunities for other members of your team.
: Now, how has CommVault been able to kind of make learning just really part of the culture. Do you have any suggestions for other CLOs out there?
: Well, part of that culture, certainly, is the opportunity to to learn and to provide the learning to everyone. So, we have an open door policy. There is really any content that we loaded our Learning at CommVault website, I mean, I could probably count on one hand the number of programs that are not available to every single person in the company. So, we do not limit on who could see what content.
: So, if you’re in customer support, you get the sales training program, or get up to speed on what the sales field is seeing, you absolutely have that ability and vice versa. So, that’s a big part of the culture is just being open with that, with the content and the environment.
: I think a big part of it also is innovation. And in the technical space, I think, technical professionals know that their learning curve is a steep one, that if they cannot kind of rest for too many months or let alone years, and not have skills bypass that.
: I’ll give you a good example. Five years ago, only a few people were really talking about cloud. But now, that’s all you hear. So we were putting content around cloud and serving it up into the system. And, now, it’s just a given. That’s part of the market and part of the offerings that are out there.
: So, I think, it’s that innovation, it’s that drive for results that certainly comes through in our values. It’s giving the tools and the opportunities for anyone in the company to attend the various training programs that exist is a big opportunity and a big driver of engagement and culture that we could support learning here CommVault.
: And it sounds like you’re investing in all the employees to really get the most out of their skills and give them the most opportunity to learn a variety of things, not just where they are involved. It gives them a chance to grow.
: Yeah, absolutely. We’re we’re big on that. So, from an onboarding perspective, we’re starting early, and getting folks on board, and giving them an opportunity to kind of be exposed, and what’s available to them. Certainly from that perspective, the one area of manager training that we’re moving into, we’re in the process of developing now is what we call an individual leadership program. So, again, exposing folks that are not as leaders and managers but those from an individual perspective, what are all the training and the opportunities that exist there?
: Last year or I should say over the last couple of years, we’ve put over a thousand people through what we call an unlocking potential workshop. And that really gave them the opportunity to explore their career aspirations. What is it that they want to get out of that? And gave them the opportunity to participate in a career anchors assessment, to do a strength’s assessment, to understand what their strengths are and their personal strengths are.
: We gave them the opportunity to craft a development plan to kind of hone those strengths, and then to have a conversation with their manager to mutually come up with a great development plan that’s going to help them both expand in role but also prepare them for future roles here at CommVault.
: Now, has that initiative kind of bubbled up some people that maybe surprised people there that, you know, you’re making this available to a lot of people that aren’t typically getting that kind of leadership training. And, now, since anybody can do it, have you been surprised that anybody has taken advantage of it?
: Well, some of the metrics, you go back to metrics and things that we’ve measured. So, we had some really, really great success. Actually, we do a voice of the employee, what we call a Vulture’s Voice Survey. So, it’s an annual employee survey. Many companies do this on an annual basis. And one of those scores that they look at is engagement, and this is a series of questions that measure engagement.
: And what we found is that those managers, and those employees that were having those unlocking potential conversations, talking about career, talking about development, giving them permission to participate in training that those managers that had one or more conversations over the course of the year versus those that didn’t have those conversations had a 20% jump in engagement scores across the board.
: Corporate Executive Board, now Gartner, actually came in and did a case study on our work and the work that we’ve done. And they have it as a case study within the CEB environment. So, really, powerful stuff that it really helps underscore the power that the unlocking potential workshop or just really getting managers and employees talking to one other can do with regards to getting your employees engaged within the company.
: And it’s amazing that it doesn’t take a lot. I mean, just one or two times, it causes a significant improvement.
: Yeah, exactly. I mean, when you start to ask, you know, simple questions, you know, are we leveraging your strengths? What was the best part of your quarter last quarter? What was the worst part of your quarter last quarter? Now, sometimes, you’re afraid to ask the questions, you know, some negative question. Sometimes, as managers or leaders, you may not want to hear the answers.
: This is tried. If you have those conversations, you can learn a lot about your team, and you learn a lot about the way you might be delivering or doing your work within your function that you could modify and change. And as a result, not only increase individual engagement and really develop the culture, but, also, from a team perspective, to, you know, build the team engagement and the team culture.
: And I’m sure having that type of program, it helps on multiple fronts. It helps in recruiting new talent. It nurtures existing talent. And then, it provides a wealth of knowledge to share throughout the entire company.
: Absolutely. We will often ask new hires or folks coming into the organization, vaulters as we call them, to, you know, do some testimonials or, you know, ask them what they like best about becoming a CommVault employee. And, oftentimes, they’ll cite the learning opportunities, or they’ll look back and they’ll say, “You know, what we’re doing here is a great opportunity, and much more than what’s offered at our previous company.” So, that’s a great kind of testimonial. We love to hear that all the time.
: Well, this is Stone again. I got to tell you, I think I can take you a step further than that. You guys are having a marvelous learning talent development conversation here. But as a marketing person, I want Joe Ilvento on my side helping me think through how to frame up, articulate, and deliver messaging even to my market. I mean, are your marketing guys like knocking on your door wanting to work with you too?
: So, it does help to have a little sales background when it comes to putting together your learning, for sure. One of the things, I go back to my consulting days. So, not only do we deliver, say, a leadership program, but we’ll do one sheets. So, those of you who sell learning for a living, you know what these one sheets are there. They’re kind of the one-pager that talks at the highlights, what are the key benefits, what are the key tools, what am I going to walk away with, you know, how is the tending, how to find that spend time in this particular program that will help me personally, or help my the team, or help me as a leader or make my job easier. So, that sales side of things is important because you have to get the learners’ mindshare first to get them to invest into the session and, ultimately, absorb the materials and the content, and then apply it.
: Now, I think you briefly mentioned this earlier, but you’re being honored with an award from CLO Magazine. Can you talk a little bit about how that came about?
: Absolutely. So, I am fortunate. We are doing this session on Sunday. I get on a plane to go down to Houston for the CLO Magazine Awards. It’s an award in innovation. And in this particular award, it’s an innovation award for the work that we were doing in this dynamic development plan tool that we’ve crafted around the success profiles.
: So, I mentioned earlier, we give the — Oftentimes, when it comes to career conversations, managers, employees they fall flat. Employees want to have a clear conversation. Managers don’t always know what to say and how to kind of point to and say, “This is what you’re going to need to do that kind of close gaps or advance your career.”
: So, what we’ve done is we take that success profile, we’ve crafted, broke it down into the competencies and sub-competencies. So, not to get too technical, but for the most part, we try to chunk it into manageable questions that are progressive. So, you know, both the employee and the manager both answer these questions. It’s weighted a little bit heavier on the manager’s sides. Whatever the manager says, that’s a little bit more weight than what the individual might be saying just because sometimes we tend to, as humans, over-inflate our own abilities and skills at times.
: And what it does is it will instantly, as you complete the assessment, it will instantly craft an assessment. You’ll see red bars and green bars patterned against the core competencies of the role. So, you’ll know where you meet expectations for that role and where there might be some shortcomings.
: And then, instantly, it will serve up suggested training. Again, going back to that 70/20/10 split. So, stretch assignments, on-the-job assignments, things you can do today in that role, very specific to that role. The actual behaviors that you’re assessed against become the coaching tool part of it. And then, we add in the structured learning that might exist within the Learning at CommVault website to help supplement that.
: And then, the manager sees that for this. He can then push a button. It tees it up for the employees. They get together, get a face-to-face or virtually. And then, together, they decide what would be the priority in terms of what that learning might look like or what that career path or learning path might look like for that particular learner or employee.
: The nice thing about it is the manager just has a read-only version. It’s the employee that owns checking the boxes or identifying and crafting the plan. So, the employee owns their career. And that’s an important part of the takeaway of the program. So, within minutes, practically, I mean, if you strung everything together quickly, it can be done probably in about an hour, an hour and a half. But, usually, over a series of days, people will do this. We’ve had hundreds of people complete it.
: And the results are our development plans that are built. And then, furthermore, we could roll that off into a heat map and see from a team perspective where the team might require some team development around a particular scale or area. And then, the entire function can roll it up into a heat map that, actually, see where maybe the function might need work. And that helps us, again, go back to targeting business-specific training around a particular area to close that gap that might exists across the board.
: Well, Joe, I can certainly see why you’re winning the award. Congratulations again. Keep up the good work. Thank you so much for investing time to to visit with us a little bit this afternoon. This has been a great deal of fun. Thanks, man.
: Well, thank you. Thank you, Lee. Thank you, Stone.
: All right, until next time. This is Stone Payton for Lee Kantor, our guest today Joel Vento, Chief Learning Officer with CommVault, and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you next time on Learning Insights.