This week’s Learning and Development action call hosted special guest Akil
Walton, Vice President, Global Talent Management at Tech Data. An American multinational distribution
company specializing in IT products and services, Tech Data is
headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, has over $40 billion in revenue, and
17,000 employees primarily in the US, France, Italy, Germany, and several
locations in Asia. Walton was
interviewed by i4cp CEO and co-founder Kevin Oakes. Here are some highlights
from the call:
Listening has been key during the pandemic.
Like many organizations in 2020, Walton said that Tech Data has increased the
frequency of pulse surveys, covering topics such as remote work, return to the
office questions, and more. The organization is interested to determine are
people staying connected, are they engaged, are they building trust? There is a
small percentage of employees, e.g., in their distribution centers, who are
surveyed separately and have been given additional resources from a safety and
support standpoint. A question along the lines of "Management is doing
everything they can to support my safety in the work environment" is in
the high 90 percent range, and similarly around 90% indicate a strong level of
trust in their manager.
On the issue of globalization vs. regionalization.
One consequence of COVID-19 at many organizations, Tech Data included, has been
some regionalization between colleagues, e.g., having different circumstances
on the ground, or business travel restricted, such that efforts towards
globalization in the business have been slowed or reduced. Walton said they
need to think global, but act local. The areas most impacted in this way have
been sales, engineering, and finance, all groups that need to have a high
degree of global collaboration. So the plan is to focus on those groups first,
and carry over some cultural impacts to others. Given their recent acquisition
by Apollo, the organization is going to bring more leaders into the
transformation change management aspects of this. A goal will be to educate
colleagues with similar roles via personas to see how they are similar, that
they use the same tools, etc., even across the business and the globe.
Talent programs should work together. Walton
oversees a broad set of talent management areas at Tech Data, allowing him to
put in place an integrated set of programs. Included are Empower which focuses
on training anytime, anywhere with no approval needed; Touchpoints which is
their performance management program; Bravo as the rewards/recognition program,
and Welcome which is the onboarding solution.
Upskilling remains a focus. Via Tech
Data's Empower platform, individuals can choose what sort of training modality
they like most, while still having learning/career paths that make clear the
requirements for each role and the directions individuals can take (up or
across the organization). The development team measures the connection between
knowledge and application and ultimate business outcomes. Upskilling focus
- Management / Leadership.
Three years ago the scores were lower than desired on trust (in both
directions), and on empowerment, culture, and more. So they have been
focusing on this since then.
- Next-generation technology.
Here a focus is on increased understanding of how to market and sell their
own IP and their vendor partner services. The approach includes role-based
competencies, assessment on each, and then closing any important gaps.
Training comes from both the internal development team and from vendors on
topics such as cloud, security, IoT, analytics, etc.
In addition to this recording, please
see the the i4cp Coronavirus Employer
Resource Center for
new research and next practices to help address the COVID-19 pandemic.