2019 Sustainability Report

Learning and Leadership Development

Our people are our most important competitive advantage.

Learning and Leadership Development

With PPG’s increasingly global footprint and strategic focus on organic growth and innovation, our people are our most important competitive advantage.

Our focus on and investment in learning and development are crucial to ensuring we keep our people engaged, productive and successful at every stage of their careers. We are committed to promoting from within wherever possible while also bringing in new ideas, thoughts and insights.

To ensure success, we offer a wide array of development opportunities that includes:

  • Personalized performance and learning plans;
  • Extensive on-the-job training;
  • Ongoing formal and informal feedback;
  • Structured development programs;
  • Classroom training;
  • World-class online training;
  • Coaching; and
  • Mentoring.

Our vision and strategy for developing our employees is to provide learning to everyone in the organization to support three key areas: engage the organization, cultivate a customer-focused organization, and drive growth and profitability.

In 2019, we significantly increased our investment in learning technologies to enable our employees to access relevant content when needed. We successfully rolled out a new learning management system to all employees, bringing our learning onto a single platform for the first time. This enables managers to play a much more active role in the development of their people by being able to suggest recommended learning to their team, track progress and explore key development areas.

Our leadership development activities link a set of common leadership characteristics that directly support our business strategy and act as the foundation for our learning and development architecture. With this architecture, we are accelerating our leadership pipeline via three talent pools – emerging leaders, regional general manager/head of function and global vice president/head of function – with dedicated development for each.

Emerging leaders are our largest leadership talent pool and are served by two targeted development programs. The Emerge Program guides our future executives through the transformational journey of leading in our modern world. It is a blended approach that combines live regional sessions, interactive virtual dialogue, structured reinforcements, a global project, mentoring and structured exposure to our regional leadership.

Our Impact Program also targets emerging leaders but focuses on 2.5 days of intense workshops to explore leadership presence and poise, as well as building connections through executive networking and community service. These objectives are reinforced through a 12-month top talent mentoring program. 

Our development program for regional general managers and heads of function explores executive judgment, customer focus, driving growth, enterprise perspective and engaging the organization. It is delivered in three modules by world-class business school faculty.

For our global vice presidents and heads of function, we focus on executive leadership and accelerated individual executive development through experiences, coaching, mentoring, outside executive education and exposure to thought leaders.

We also continued developing our functional leaders – manufacturing, technical, supply chain, human resources, finance, environment, health and safety, and more – at local, regional and global levels during 2019 through role-specific training and a global development network.

To ensure nearly 1,400 of our new managers and supervisors globally are ready for the leadership levels through which they will pass, we began rolling out Essentials of Leadership to all our first line managers and supervisors in 2019. The program provides individuals new to managing teams with solid leadership fundamentals in areas such as coaching, building high-performing teams and managing conflict. The 2019 participants spent nearly 1,800 combined hours on learning during the year. In 2020, we anticipate the program will have 52 cohorts in 24 countries and be delivered in eight languages.

Our focus on developing the capabilities of our sales teams continued in 2019. The Sales Excellence program equipped our sales managers and representatives with a common language as well as a skillset and toolset to build stronger customer relationships. In 2019, the program reached more than 2,000 employees who underwent more than 11,000 hours of combined training.

Our program to expand and increase the rigor of our language training using an innovative online platform that combines online learning and virtual live training reached nearly 1,000 employees around the world. Combined, they learned 13 languages and completed more than 14,000 hours of learning, including 3,500 hours accessed by mobile devices. We will be expanding this program to all employees in 2020.

In 2019, approximately 10,000 employees globally continued to access one of the world’s largest online learning platforms, which features topic-specific content created by leading experts. Accessible at work and home and through a mobile device, the 6,500 online courses cover many aspects of professional and personal development. We expanded the offerings during the year to include online content from some of the world’s best business schools. Each month, thousands of hours of learning globally are delivered through this platform.

Another learning opportunity available to all employees globally is the Global Core Curricula.  Delivered by world-class, third-party providers, these courses focus primarily on building management and soft skills and are mapped to areas that directly support PPGs business strategy.

Learn more about our approach to learning and development on our Global Careers website.

A successful pairing

From left, Callie Fleming, PPG marketing assistant, and Dan Powell, PPG manager, store development, teach students about career opportunities at Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania’s BizTown, a hands-on, community simulation that demonstrates to students how to manage a business and contribute to the local economy.

Callie Fleming loved being a PPG store manager, a position she held since graduating college and completing PPG’s management training. When she learned about a new mentoring program being piloted in 2019 by the Northeast Chapter of PPG’s Women’s Leadership Council, she saw it as an opportunity to build on her store experience and marketing degree.

Targeted toward women, the mentoring program matches early-career professionals with a more experienced employee based on the mentee’s area of interest, work experience and location. Callie was connected with Dori Marks, then PPG associate director, trade marketing, Architectural Coatings, as one of 60 mentoring pairs in the pilot.

“When we first met, I conveyed to Dori my interest in marketing and how I’d like to create marketing tools to better help our employees at the stores and in the field,” said Callie. “She immediately told me about several job opportunities in marketing and even arranged for me to meet with leaders in various business functions, such as customer service and store operations, to confirm that marketing was where I wanted to be.”

Within four months, Callie was in her new position as marketing assistant for Architectural Coatings.

“If I weren’t connected with Dori through WLC’s mentoring program, I don’t think I would have gotten to where I am today and as quickly as I did,” said Callie.

Following the successful pilot, the WLC Northeast Chapter renewed the mentoring program for 2020 with 83 mentoring pairs. Callie is in one of them, this time paired with Jamie Chwan, senior marketing manager, digital marketing, Architectural Coatings.

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