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A New Solution for Changing Times
Throughout most of the past 95 years, Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) has operated with a culture focused on getting the job done, at all cost, while maintaining status quo.
Because of this, silos were abundant, and departments were fiercely protective of their work – making collaboration almost non-existent. Jobs were being accomplished, but without regard for the impact work may have on others because “we’ve always done it this way.”
About six years ago, TRWD saw a change in leadership, initiating a shift in culture towards a more compassionate, transparent, and collaborative workforce. This shift has exposed many skill gaps in soft skills areas such as communicating effectively, leading teams, and conducting difficult conversations.
Seeing these gaps, TRWD recognized they needed a more formalized training program. They signed with a learning management system to organize and bring resources to employees.
However, throughout the three-year contract, the program never took off. Instead, training continued to be tracked manually on sign in sheets and management training took place outside the company via seminars or classes.
Realizing this was not working, Tarrant Regional Water District found a new partner in BizLibrary. They chose BizLibrary for the ease of use, knowing that for a program to take off, they needed a simple system that people could pick up quickly to access training.
“It was night and day the difference between the other vendor and BizLibrary…the way it functions just makes sense.”
– Victoria Cason, Employee Development Manager
Closing Skill Gaps through Online Training
TRWD’s BizLibrary program, TRWD University, is utilized primarily as a voluntary training resource and repository. In fact, 89% of all completions are voluntary, either from employees seeking knowledge on their own or employees who have been tasked with addressing a skill gap.
Employees have the ability to access TRWD University through the company’s intranet using single sign-on or any device connected to the internet by logging in. Since about a third of the workforce is “in the field,” the ability for them to access training via smartphone or tablet is essential.
When looking at the types of training employees are taking, 67% of all completed training is in various soft skill areas such as communication, leadership, coaching, mentoring, conflict resolution, and difficult conversations.
One employee recalls, “TRWD University training content includes a comprehensive library of Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). By watching and learning this content I was able to pass the exam and get a Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification. Additionally, the Infrastructure team is using the PMBOK to create a complete Project Management Master Plan and series of standardized tools to increase our productivity and provide consistent results for every project we manage.” – Donna Stevens, Engineer.
Not only did the coursework help Donna prepare for the exam, but it saved money as well. Since she was able to prep for her exam in TRWD University, instead of taking a four-day course, she did not have to spend $3,095 in registration and travel out of her education budget.
True ROI Through Training
Within the first year of the program, TRWD University has seen unprecedented results.
By creating accessible training opportunities in subject areas employees encounter the most, they are developing a repeatable knowledge repository that can be used to train veteran and new employees on processes, policies, and the skills the organization needs them to possess, increasing productivity.
Plus, as each skill gap is closed it allows for employees to focus more on other work functions and projects.
Through TRWD University, less time spent out of the office attending training, increasing productivity by 52% and saving 170 hours of employees being away from work. Additionally, bringing training in-house through BizLibrary reduced comparable training costs by 65% and travel costs by 33%.
Most notable though, less time and money has been spent onboarding new employees. This has increased productivity and with a consistent onboarding experience they have reduced terminations by 64%. This has saved $28,903 in onboarding costs alone.
“From a recruiting perspective, TRWD has difficulty gaining a competitive edge in the workforce. Our benefits program is top notch and we aim to make sure employees are aware of the value it brings; however, benefits are not a huge priority for some employees. TRWD University has provided a platform for engaging our employees in a new format that showcases different aspects of our benefit program, open enrollment process, and benefit offerings. The custom content that has been created provides our employees with an alternative to the traditional ‘I need help’ phone call or email. In today’s world of technology, information is at our fingertips. The custom content has provided employees a resource for accessing information 24/7.” – Shelby Lyon, Human Resources Manager
By partnering with BizLibrary and creating a central location for training for employees to consume, track, and manage their professional education, TRWD has helped to transform their culture to one of engagement and collaboration through learning and development.
“Everything that I speak to BizLibrary about is always driven towards the success of my program, ways to make my job easier, ways to make the program better, and ways to succeed with training and meet the strategic goals of the company.”
– Victoria Cason, Employee Development Manager
Client: Tarrant Regional Water District
Industry: Public Administration
Top Challenges: Agility, Skill Gaps
About: Since 1924, the Tarrant Regional Water District has provided a reliable and sustainable water supply to over 2 million citizens, vital flood protection to 11 counties in Texas, and an outstanding variety of recreational opportunities including trails, parks, conservation events, and festivals. TRWD employs a full-time staff of 325 and seasonal staff of 100 each year to manage, maintain, improve, and construct all of the infrastructure, pipelines, reservoirs, floodways, venues, and structures associated with our three core missions listed in the logo above. TRWD believes in enriching communities and improving the quality of life for our customers, employees, their families, and the community at large.