ATD San Diego’s PEAK Awards Competition highlights and recognizes Talent Development Best Practices from Top San Diego Organizations

You’re encouraged to submit your talent development program that demonstrates to your professional colleagues what performance excellence is all about. At our PEAK Awards Event in October, the finalists showcase their program and company and a winner is announced.

If you’re not sure your program is ready this year, feel free to contact anyone on the Board to get your questions answered or use the PEAK Readiness Assessment to guide you.

The 2016 PEAK Application form is here.

We also provided some brief instructions for completing and submitting it. The form takes a few hours to fill out because it asks you to really look at your program and provide enough information for our judges to determine what you did and the results you achieved. However, if you’ve created a business case for your company or created a summary of the program, the nomination form closely follows so you’re nearly done!

After the submission deadline of September 1, our experienced PEAK judges review your application and select finalists based on the Judging Rubric.

Hope to get a PEAK application from you! Remember, the deadline to apply is September 1st.

PEAK Readiness Assessment

PEAK Application

PEAK Application Instructions 2016

Judging Rubric 2016

Read the stories behind past PEAK finalists and winners


UCSD’s education and development (SED) team responded to their organizations desire to build change management capacity with its initiative, “Successful Change: Delivering the Future of UCSD.” Their ambitions strategic plan drove the focus; managing the people side of change to achieve their goals. SED partnered with Prosci Inc to develop and implement a research-based initiative addressing their major stakeholder executive, management and individual contributor groups.

Best PracticeBusiness case to get buy in at all levels

The SED team implemented several best practices in Talent Development. To get buy in, the team and Prosci created a business case that convinced every stakeholder of the need for program customization, employee time to attend and certification in the Prosci programs for the SED team.


The customized promotion brochures and training materials overcame concerns about application on the job and relevance to their industry. Carefully coordinated events ensured a distraction-free environment for learners.


The Commercial Training Team at Illumina developed an integrated approach to deliver a new product training program. They trained on two products in one class and offered a hybrid delivery method to effectively reach internal and external clients in all regions of operation.

Best PracticeCustomized delivery

Modular content allowed Illumina customers to receive customized training targeted at their use and familiarity levels, effectively integrating components of adult learning theory. 

Results: The initiative contributed to a 29% increase in revenue YOY that resulted from increased demand for the new product.


In response to a demonstrated business need and organizational goal, the Mission Fed Learning Center developed a performance improvement strategy that enabled the organization to achieve real estate loan goals while keeping member service at the forefront.

Best Practices: Three-tiered training model that matches the level of training to the learner, Kirkpatrick's L1 through L4 evaluation model.

The Mission Fed Learning Center worked closely with the Real Estate Department staff to develop a three-tiered training model that matches the level of training to the learner based on their individual diagnostic results. 

Kirkpatrick's L1 through L4 evaluation model was incorporated into the overall plan to determine the effectiveness of the program.  Examples include: submission of five loan applications for review, manager observation of performance, number of loan applications received, pull-through rates and dollar volume.

Results: The results went beyond any expectation: the organization achieved 189% of their goal and the highest level of real estate volume in the organization's history.  Together, these have resulted in a significant increase in profitability, allowing Mission Fed to open two new branches and proposals to open at least three more in the next year.  The additional income has allowed Mission Fed to give back $285,000 to their members through a Money Match Program.


Union Bank, responding to a rapidly changing industry, needed an agile and effective business partner in its Consumer Lending Learning Solutions department. “We were viewed as a place where training requests went in and months later ineffective courses were delivered.” In response, the Consumer Lending Learning Solutions department changed the way it did business, using feedback from internal customers to focus on quality and speed.

Best PracticeCrucial business metrics integrated into learning department metrics

The Consumer Lending Learning Solutions department measured several outcomes:  Internally, they tracked the number of steps in the training request process and the number or reworks of content to meet compliance standards. For their organizational partners, they tracked loan submission accuracy, and solicited feedback on the Learning Solutions team performance. Several other metrics inform continuous process improvement in the department.


An S&P evaluation gave Union Bank the highest first-time ranking achievable. Sales Executives continue to partner in a continuous improvement process for their learning initiatives.


Clio, a software-as-a-service company for legal practices, asked Toister Performance Solutions for help identifying actionable insight from their survey data to ensure customer service was Clio’s key point of differentiation.TPS delivered a three-pronged customer service development plan.

Best PracticeMeasurable Results

Results: Based upon a proprietary assessment tool developed by TPS, Clio increased its Customer Service Alignment score from 55% to 75%. The Assessment also provided Clio with a plan to formalize its support team operations that significantly impacted the rapidly growing company’s strategy.

 San Diego County Regional Airport Authority


To provide customizable leadership development for employees at all levels of the organization, addressing three three specific leadership needs 1) current leaders wanted to develop their leadership skills, 2) individual contributors were growing in their roles, and 3) succession planning.

Best Practices: Broad Management Buy-In, Customized design and delivery.

"Leading at all Levels" was developed by the SDCRAA Training and Organization Development team as an innovative approach: all levels of leadership would come together for a development program using a cohort model. This gave the organization the opportunity to develop leaders at all levels during the same time frame with limited budget /staff to run the program.

The program was comprised of the following elements: 

  1. Choice of Assessment (MBTI, DISC, Strengthsfinder and 360 Feedback)
  2. Four Core Courses
  3. Elective courses (each cohort votes and the top three are offered)
  4. Coaching
  5. Goals for the year (tied in with their Performance Management program)

Results: more employees are getting prepared to move into leadership roles, supervisors are invested in their employee's professional growth, and graduates keep practicing their skills with their assigned accountability partner. The program is continuing to grow and develop based on increased employee demand. 

Cancellation Policy


2015 Winner

2014 Winner

2013 Winner


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