Tofaş Akademi

ATD Best

Tofaş Academy crowned its success with the ATD Best award after the Stevie and Brandon Hall awards, one of the most prestigious L&D awards in the world. 

Tofaş Academy ranked 1st among Best 45 companies in the 16th edition of ATD BEST Awards.

Best Award has been granted from the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Organizations are expected to demonstrate their developmental approaches, match with company’s goals/strategies and show their work results in order to receive awards.

The relaunch project began in late 2016 and was rolled out in increments last year as Academy 2.0.

The new organization is defined by several strategic pillars, include developing “leaders of the future” who champion the philosophy of the late consultant Peter Drucker to think as leaders, not managers. Another is to endorse networking opportunities by incorporating outside talents who can help its employees create excellence, improve products, and innovate.

 To achieve management’s vision, the academy has to reach beyond traditional L&D roles to become a true incubation center for the company. That means helping other teams within Tofaş deliver innovative products and processes.

The three principal tools in its incubation kit are design thinking, agility, and Lean startup approaches. While design thinking is gaining popularity as a management tool, its use in the TD space is also innovative.

Design thinking engages employees in the design, planning, and testing stages of a project, which in the academy’s case concerns content development. It is being used there in 15 design projects, including one training program on manufacturing processes that is improving the very processes at issue, he reports. The practice also elevates the academy into the role of a “method house” at Tofaş, because it disseminates the methodology among participating organizations by teaching, coaching, and mentoring on the technique.

Tofaş Academy created a “TD curation website” ( to support its vision of inspiring other corporate universities with its pioneering and innovative practices. The academy staff curate content for TD professionals throughout the world.

Another novel practice the academy designed is a TD networking process and software. To support its mission to provide best-fit solutions, the company needed to establish and maintain a network of best-in-class trainers and consultants. The accompanying software “is like a CRM tool with gamification to strengthen bonds with the external network”.

Other TD highlights

The Experience Hub. This “new generation” behavioral development platform is targeted to employees’ need to learn, produce know-how, and transfer their learning to behavior. It integrates three different learning methods—in-class training, coaching, and project work—to emphasize on-the-job learning. Alimdar calls it a more efficient learning method that facilitates learning transfer. By integrating the familiar 70-20-10 approach (in-class training, self-learning, and on-the-job training) with active participation, participants can adapt learning to their own contexts, he says. The initiative also relies on carefully selected instructors who are both trainer and coach.

Brand redefinition. Tofaş Academy isn’t just a TD institute with a logo. It has its own personality with defined likes and dislikes. That includes its taste in music, favorite foods and colors, and a refined nose. Redefining Academy brand in a holistic way like any commercial brand allows Academy to create a consistent and effective communications strategy before audience.

Gamification. To help train young employees how to sell and repair cars, among many other tasks, the academy has heavily embraced gamification. Not only does it engage the audience more fully than traditional teaching methods, it can be developed inexpensively.

Interactive video. An in-house video production team produces learning content on a barrage of relevant topics, such as maintaining robots, selling cars, and repairing autos. Users can access more than 10,000 videos at any time from its web-based platform or other sellers.

Learning from the top. The CEO and all other senior managers maintain high profiles on the employee-development front. CEO is a critical stakeholder in defining learning in the company and the principal supporter of the Academy 2.0 initiative. He also is a frequent speaker at learning-related functions and an active participant in initiatives. Some top managers are frequent coaches for high potentials, frontline staff, and middle management personnel. And several directors instruct on issues such as developing problem-solving skills.