Founded in 1910 by teenage entrepreneur J.C. Hall, and still led by members of the founding family today, Hallmark’s businesses employ approximately 30,000 worldwide and generate revenues of approximately $4 billion. As an organization, they believe that when you care enough, you can change the world. Today they are dedicated to creating a more emotionally connected world and making a difference in the lives of others. This includes the lives of their employees.
In the past several years, Hallmark approached Eagle's Flight to discuss how they can deliver effective, relevant, and engaging training to their employees and leaders around the world. They recognized the growing demand and need for strong leadership, especially in terms of their long-term organizational success, and as such partnered with Eagle's Flight to build a custom leadership development program called Lead It, that was enormously successful.
Watch the following video to hear what Paula Tatum Matthews, Director of Talent Management and Development at Hallmark, had to say about the success of the program, its reception among their leaders, and her thoughts on the power of experiential learning.
My name is Paula Tatum Matthews and I'm responsible for talent management and development at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri. Hallmark has about 22,000 employees worldwide and about 3,500 employees in the Kansas City area and we're responsible for training people there and in our locations and subsidiaries around the world.
I believe that people learn by doing and for us teaching managers skills about how to be better, we wanted them to have the opportunity to practice and experience in a safe environment what it's like to manage people when they go back to their regular day job. So, the idea that we'd have experiential learning as part of our leadership development program that we put together was really critical for us.
What we were trying to accomplish with the program that we built, which was called Lead It, was to help our managers be better leaders at Hallmark. And we built this program specifically to include experiential learning because we thought it was going to be a great experience for our managers. Well it turned out that their favorite parts of this leadership development program were the opportunities to practice skills. So to practice how to be a better coach, to practice how to give feedback, all of which was a really important part of this program, and it was their favorite part.
After the experience people asked to do more and what we found out is they were taking these scenarios that we provided to them, but what they wanted to do was bring additional scenarios and things they were facing in their real life, into the program as well. So the program that we built only expanded as it was rolled out to people.
One of the things that was important to us was to make sure we would work with a partner who brought us great content but could also teach us how to teach it to our people. This is why we worked with Eagle's Flight to train our own trainers and facilitators, so that we could then take it and deliver it to our folk. While we came to Eagle's Flight with our ideas of what we wanted to teach, what we found through that process is they [Eagle's Flight] often brought to us additional thinking,ways to deliver content, approaches and methodologies, that we'd not even thought of.
At Hallmark we're a creative company and having the feeling of something that looks like it was designed by Hallmark was really important to us. Eagle's Flight was a great partner to help us develop the content and then put our design approach and perspective on top of it, so that it didn't feel to our employees like it was an "off-the-shelf" product. Instead, it felt like it was designed for Hallmarkers by Hallmarkers, and that was really important to us.
“At Hallmark we're a creative company and having the feeling of something that looks like it was designed by Hallmark was really important to us. Eagle's Flight was a great partner to help us develop the content and then put our design approach and perspective on top of it, so that it didn't feel to our employees like it was an 'off-the-shelf' product. Instead, it felt like it was designed for Hallmarkers by Hallmarkers, and that was really important. ”
Paula Tatum Matthews