Since July 2016, Master Electronics has partnered with BizLibrary to grow their employee training initiatives and create an environment of continuous learning.
As the Talent Development Specialist with Master Electronics, Thomas Harrell has lead the charge in overcoming business challenges and achieving greater successes through employee learning and development. See how Master Electronics is building a learning culture in Thomas’ own words:
Tell us about your training program.
BizLibrary provides 95% of the learning content in our learning management system (LMS), which is powered by Adobe Captivate Prime. That content focuses on soft skills that are critical to success in any role. I emphasize communication skills, teamwork, collaboration, customer services skills (internal & external), sales, time management, productivity, emotional intelligence, positive mental attitude, and critical thinking.
In addition to the on-demand content our learners can access in the LMS, we conduct an annual learning tour of live workshops in our sales branches in the U.S. and Canada.
What are your job responsibilities?
As the LMS administrator, my job includes:
- Sourcing learning content to meet the needs of our team members across the organization
- Loading that content from BizLibrary into the LMS
- Curating content for the LMS
- Coordinating the custom building of eLearning content for the LMS
- User management within the LMS
- Designing and delivering learning content in our live workshops (for the sales and product management teams)
I’ve also been dubbed the “culture ambassador” by the company president, Riad Nizam, and as a part of the senior leadership team, I’m involved in quarterly & annual strategic planning for our company.
What are your goals for training this year?
This year, we’ll continue laying the foundation for creating a learning ecosystem at Master Electronics. My thesis is that learning and development (L&D) practitioners are tasked with moving at the speed of business. I believe the only way that can happen is for L&D professionals to embrace and promote self-directed learning. I look forward to continuing to put in place the elements our company needs to meet that long-term goal.
When you think of the “traditional” learning content development cycle (picture any modern instructional design model), it takes so much time to actually get your content created and delivered to learners. Employees already consume lots of learning away from the company’s LMS – we want to build a system that ALSO captures that learning.
For example, a team member watches a TED Talk, reads a blog post, or walks over to a colleague and asks for help. That’s self-directed learning and development, and it happens every day in every company. At Master Electronics, my ultimate goal is to harness all of that learning power!
What do you love most about partnering with BizLibrary?
I love the people, the client support model, and the constant outreach and collaboration.
When I think about the people I work with on the BizLibrary team (Jason Wirick, Libby Powers, Shannon Kluczny, and Hannah Brenner), I could easily write a paragraph about each of these individuals and how they contribute to my success. They’re down-to-earth, friendly, welcoming, solutions-oriented, focused on long-term relationships, and are not simply transactional.
From the beginning, I felt BizLibrary was a real partner to Master Electronics, and me in particular, as we set out to create something new.
The client support model of monthly calls with Libby, my client success consultant at BizLibrary, continues to be invaluable. In these calls, we kick around ideas for improvement, discuss challenges, and brainstorm solutions. Even when I steer my conversations with Libby to topics that are not directly related to our day-to-day business, she is always helpful and willing to connect me to another team member or client to help me.
The outreach and collaboration from the team is outstanding. I’m a LinkedIn enthusiast and write articles on learning and development – the BizLibrary team is very supportive when they see those links online, and will like and share them with their community. Last year, some members of the BizLibrary team participated in Movember, and when I saw the link, I jumped at the opportunity to take part. That type of community outreach and giving says a great deal about the company culture.
Collaboration happens constantly, and what I love most is how it’s baked into the day-to-day operations of BizLibrary. From the Client Community, to the free webinars, to the monthly marketing ideas emailed directly to me, to the invitation to attend the ALIGN conference, I am given every tool possible to help my program succeed.
What advice would you give a new HR or L&D professional trying to build their training program?
This realization was key for me: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. AND, it’s okay to pivot and shift along the way. The needs of learners and the business change, and the L&D professional has to be flexible to adapt to those changes.
Most of all, just get started. It may not be “perfect,” but perfect is for procrastinators. You can iterate and make it better along the way.