Masco’s Finance Cup Challenge: The Rewards of Learning


Learning is valuable for its own sake, but it’s even more so when you’re rewarded for it. That’s the thinking behind the Finance Cup Challenge, an employee-driven program at Masco Corporation, a Michigan-headquartered company that’s a global leader in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of home improvement and building products.

The program introduces a little friendly competition into the company’s commitment to finance employees’ professional development. At the start of 2022, IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) and Masco teamed up to create a two-track program—a Continuing Professional Education Track and, for those who want to take their learning to the next level, a CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) Track. Hundreds of Masco finance employees globally are part of the first track, which, in addition to IMA membership, gives them access to an array of IMA continuing professional education and other resources, including webinars, online courses, certificate programs, and more. A unique feature of IMA membership for Masco employees is a subscription to the IMA Knowledge Exchange, an on-demand course package with more than 350 courses on emerging trends, hot topics, and new regulations.

Masco finance employees are strongly encouraged to take at least three courses per year (and these are discussed with a manager to ensure they are suited to the employees’ individual career goals), but to make things more interesting, the company devised its Finance Cup Challenge. Eight teams were formed, each composed of about 35 finance team members who were selected randomly from Masco’s two dozen or so subsidiaries worldwide. Team members had to earn as much continuing education as they could over the course of a year, and at year’s end, the team whose members acquired the most total continuing education were proclaimed the winners. These employees were awarded points that they could use at the “Masco Swag Store,” which carries fun merchandise (lawn chairs, books bags, mugs, and more) emblazoned with the company logo. 

The team, led by Southern California-based Josh Hale and Kyle Collis, were crowned the winners of the first challenge and now, as the new leaders of the program, they incorporate some of the lessons learned from their experience:

“We needed to make the size of the teams smaller, to only about 10 people, to make it easier for people to connect with each other,” said Hale. “We also decided to let individuals select who they wanted to be team members with, which would allow people to better motivate each other.”

The program is rewarding not only for the education that finance team members are getting, but also for the way it encourages collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and networking. “One of the biggest benefits is that people are excited about learning. The program also provides an incentive for people to interact more with members of their own team, meet new colleagues, and find ways to encourage each other to be successful,” said Collis.

Collis reports that many teams gather as a group and exchange informal reviews of which classes are most engaging or helpful, with a lot of courses to choose from. “The resources that IMA offers cover such a wide range of topics and appeal to people working in many different roles,” said Christoph Stein, who works at Masco’s European headquarters in Luxembourg. “I also appreciate that most of the courses are offered on-demand and people can take them according to their own schedules, something that’s important to a global organization like ours.”

For Masco, a commitment to the Finance Cup Challenge is just part of its culture of being committed to its employees. “We want to be an employer of choice. We want employees to know that we encourage and support learning, and we want our employees to enhance their individual skills,” said Stein.