Dow Jones: Engaging Managers in Essential Education

Guest post by Tim Sosbe, Editorial Director, TrainingIndustry.com

Dow Jones & Co. is a somewhat unique organization.

In terms of employee population, which stands at about 5,500, the company isn’t exactly huge. But as the leader in news and business information worldwide, the reach far exceeds employee size. Under the Dow Jones umbrella are some of the most respected names in journalism, television and information services, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Smart Money and Factiva, collectively engaging about 42 million people worldwide and influencing a much, much larger audience.

Dow Jones Management Essentials learning initiativeWhen News Corporation took over Dow Jones operations in 2007, it brought more than a little change, with leadership almost completely turning over. That’s not to mention culture, procedural and managerial changes.

The first step was to bring cohesion to the processes that govern the properties in Dow Jones’ vastly different business-to-business and business-to-consumer branches.

With new leadership in place and some change management safely behind them, the next step for learning leaders was to level out management functions. That process began this past summer, with the launch of a Management Essentials initiative to make sure all managers are armed and ready to operate together, as part of one unified company with one unified approach.

Tim Sosbe, Editorial Director, TrainingIndustry.com

Tim Sosbe, Editorial Director, TrainingIndustry.com

Lorna Hagen, VP of HR & Talent Management, led the charge on the Management Essentials program, which was based on a program she and Greg Giangrande, EVP & Chief HR Officer, rolled out at another News Corp. sister company, HarperCollins. That adapted program has already touched about 40% of the Dow Jones managers, with an eye on reaching all current managers before the holidays.

That’s not a small challenge. Dow Jones has about 1,100 managers eligible for the Management Essentials program, and the classes are being done mostly in-person and entirely in-house, using no external facilitators. They’re learning new policies, procedures and approaches in four general areas: the company’s core management philosophy, manager roles in learning & development, the manager’s role in recruiting and manager participation in compensation and benefits.

That’s all just the start. The first-phase Management Essentials class will continue as an ongoing program as new people join the management ranks at Dow Jones brands. Hagen and her learning teams are also working on expanding the course for alumni, involving managers in determining course objectives and ensuring everyone’s role is connected to company strategy.

“The most important piece was having managers understand that they’re part of a global community,” Hagen said. “Understanding that they’re not alone in this and that they’re part of a global organization is important. They’re not going through certain challenges by themselves and their opportunities and challenges don’t have to be siloed.”

Note from Expertus: Would you like to blend formal and informal learning in a single workforce development solution? Learn more about the ExpertusONE LMS solution, designed just for that purpose.


Editor’s Note:  Thanks to our guest author, Tim Sosbe, Editorial Director at TrainingIndustry Quarterly, for sharing these insights. Do you have a question about this topic, or another real-world enterprise learning story to share? Contact our editor anytime at info@expertus.com.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

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