HR Tech Interview with Rosa Finelli, Executive Director, L&D at Kaplan

Journey into Tech

Please tell us a little bit about your role and responsibilities at Kaplan.

I currently oversee the Learning and Development team at Kaplan. My day to day responsibilities include partnering with internal stakeholders and identifying training needs, supporting internal change management efforts, and leading the design and development strategy for employee learning and organizational development programs.

Tell us a bit about the growing importance of digital learning and development initiatives across industries?

Digital learning has grown significantly in the past few years, especially with the rise of remote/virtual work environments. Depending on their roles, in-classroom training for employees has mostly given way to asynchronous training on their own. With the rapid development of technology tools, digital learning enables employees to stay on top of the skills they need to perform in their roles and to upskill to meet new demands. By offering virtual solutions, it enables employees and leaders to learn and develop their skills from anywhere, at any time, expanding the reach and impact of learning programs at the click of a button.

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How should CHROs approach their L&D programs?

As CHROs approach their L&D programs, it’s important to demonstrate a commitment to employee development. For many employees and candidates seeking employment, learning and development programs are a plus and part of total rewards. By offering engaging, effective and measurable learning and development solutions, not only does it attract and retain top talent, but it also aligns with the organization’s strategic goals. Aligning L&D programs to the company’s overall goals ensures the programs are relevant and add value. Using measurable outcomes provides objective data that can be used to assess the effectiveness of the programs and their impacts on the achievement of the company’s goals.

What is Kaplan’s Individualized Development Plan?

Kaplan enables employees and leaders to create and maintain an Individualized Development Plan (IDP) throughout the year that is used for personal and professional development. The IDP requires one to align competencies to strengths and areas of opportunity, and to list goals and identify resources and support to fulfill those goals. Self-reflection and collecting feedback from others are required activities to complete the IDP, in support of a holistic and realistic development plan. Personal and professional development are important to the business and having a document like the IDP that can be updated throughout the year allows individuals and the organization to align knowledge, skills, and talent to the overall business strategy. This IDP is a required step in the annual performance review process to ensure that leaders and employees alike are prioritizing and creating learning, growth, and development opportunities.

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What are key metrics to measure the success of Employee learning and development programs? How does Kaplan enable talent development for its customers?

Kaplan focuses on several key metrics to measure the success of our Learning and Development programs. From participation rates to knowledge assessments to post session surveys, focus groups and on the job observations, Learning and Development is able to assess the effectiveness of the training programs. Employee engagement surveys are also a tool that measures employee satisfaction in the area of career and professional development.

HRs are using HR tools and technologies to promote their learning and development initiatives. Could you tell us how to ensure better outcomes with HR tools for talent development using L&D tools?

L&D tools can be used to align learning to company and departmental goals. For example, using a learning management system (LMS) can provide a way to tie learning outcomes to career and professional development. One way to do that is to align the learning catalog in the LMS to core competencies and make sure those competencies are specific to roles within the company.

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Your favorite HR-related idea that you experienced in the recent months:

I have been very impressed with the focus on mental health awareness and employee wellness across organizations. Establishing programs focusing on employee wellness not only increases engagement and productivity, but also demonstrates a commitment from the organization to the employee.  At Kaplan, our Employee Experience team implemented a year round employee wellness program focusing on financial, mental and physical wellness. It’s been great to participate in sessions with subject matter experts who are committed to creating a culture of improving our sense of well being, along with gaining a better understanding of all of the benefits that are available to us as employees.

Thank you, Rosa! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

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Rosa oversees the Learning and Development team and leads the design and development strategy for employee learning and organizational development programs at Kaplan. Rosa has been with Kaplan 20+ years in various roles beginning with the Admissions department in 2002 and moving into Learning and Development in 2006. Prior to Kaplan, Rosa spent several years in the Quality Assurance and Training industry at Precision Response Corporation working on accounts such as and IBM TechConnect. Rosa earned her BA degree in Criminology and Sociology, a Master’s in Management with an HR and Training emphasis, and Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design for Organizations.


Kaplan, Inc. is a global educational services company that helps individuals and institutions advance their goals in an ever-changing world. Our broad portfolio of solutions help students and professionals further their education and careers, universities and educational institutions attract and support students, and businesses maximize employee recruitment and development. Stanley Kaplan founded our company in 1938 with a mission to expand educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds. Today, all of our employees across 27 countries continue Stanley’s mission, working with hundreds of thousands of students and professionals and 12,000 corporate and 4,000 school and university clients worldwide. Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company