New staff training and development program ramps up

More e-learning options available

Over the past year, HR has been rolling out the Employee and Organizational Development program (EOD), an enhanced approach to staff development that gathers all such services under one umbrella. The program continues to evolve as HR identifies specific training and skills that help staff thrive at UCAR/NCAR.

“EOD is more than just a fresh coat of paint on the former staff development system,” says Michelle Darveau, HR’s training and human resources manager. “There is a new energy and vibrancy to the program, and we believe that its many options will have great appeal for our staff.”

The idea of revamping and expanding staff development into a more robust model had been tossed around for a while, Michelle says. But it became more energized after both a request from F&A management for an e-learning strategy and recommendations from UCAR’s Workforce Management Plan.

Cheryl Cristanelli and Michelle Darveau
Cheryl Cristanelli (left) and Michelle Darveau.

EOD takes a comprehensive approach to staff development, focusing on building capacity in four main areas: staff in general, leaders, technical expertise, and UCAR/NCAR as an organization. It places a special emphasis on organizational development, with HR offering team-building and facilitation activities geared toward small groups.

It also offers an e-learning program, Skillport, whose catalog of on-demand classes covers the broad areas of communication and management, desktop technology and software engineering, certification programs, and leadership development. Staff can select from more than 1,000 titles covering topics from interpersonal skills to finance. In addition, EOD will continue to offer a full range of classroom training to meet the needs of staff who prefer to learn in person; in fiscal year 2011, 950 staff attended more than 110 instructor-led courses.

The advantages of on-demand training are many, says Cheryl Cristanelli, HR’s training and development specialist. “Traditional staff development classes require attendance at specific locations, at specific times, with set schedules,” she says. “The advantage of online, anytime learning is that you can quickly access what you need when you need it. Whether it’s brushing up on a specific skill or completing a full certification program, it’s all available with the click of a mouse.”

EOD is as much about personal development as career development. “Our goal in developing EOD was to encourage employees to take advantage of an increased variety of resources and services that will help them advance in their careers, as well as to address personal development needs,” Michelle says.

The program’s most powerful personal development opportunities are Leadership Academy and the Executive Leadership Program, both of which are widely known around the organization. Leadership Academy is a five-month intensive program of professional development for supervisors and staff members who may soon find themselves in supervisory positions. The Executive Leadership Program, designed for senior managers and directors, is a 12-day commitment divided into four-day blocks spread over nine months.

The next Skillport course catalog is scheduled for release in September, followed by a catalog of in-person courses in November. More information will appear in the Staff Notes Daily morning announcements and on HR’s website.