CLO - November 2010 - (Page 50)
Developing Morale Officers
BY BILL PERRY
The U.S. Army wanted to keep its 35,000-person morale, welfare and recreation workforce marching in step. Its battle plan was to launch learning and career development resources that hit right on target.
Quality of life is serious business for the Army. Civilians may think of soldiers in the context of combat. But soldiers, of course, are people with families. Like anyone else, they need rest and recuperation. Each year, the U.S. Army’s Maj. Gen. Robert M. Joyce Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Academy trains thousands of civilian Army employees to run sports and physical fitness activities, child development and youth programs, and food and beverage operations. With that training, Army employees operate the golf courses, lodging, child care and youth operations, and myriad other services at military installations around the world. Training and professional development, in equal doses, underpin the academy’s work. DATA POINT Those trained by the academy Through the third quarter belong to the Army’s 35,000-person of 2010, the academy Family and Morale, Welfare and Recretrained a total of 2,548 ation Command. The command’s employees to use its roots stretch back to the battlefields professional development of World War I, where the Salvaprogram, including 1,931 tion Army and Red Cross recharged supervisors and 617 other battle-worn soldiers’ spirits behind the key staff at Army locations lines. From those early beginnings, around the world. the Army established the academy in 1986. The academy’s vision is to be the premier Army training institution for preparing the command’s civilian employees to strengthen and sustain soldiers and families. A Uniform Approach “We realized as far back as 2002 that we wanted to reach a global workforce with online tools that helped people make great choices for their careers,” said Janis Smith, chief of design and evaluation for the academy. “The Army is a great training institution, and we piggyback on that. But we wanted the academy to offer the command’s workforce a development program for each worker, so they could see how to fill gaps in their skill set and where to take their career.” The academy’s journey began with the purchase of an LMS, which included a module for building individual development plans (IDPs). According to Smith, the IDP module was a feature that initially sold the academy on buying an LMS. “For years, we had requirements in place for employee development plans,” Smith said. “But, prior to buying the LMS, creating and reviewing those plans with a supervisor was often just an exercise. Supervisors and employees often lacked the information they needed to make informed decisions in charting their careers in the command.” In 2003, the academy deployed its new LMS. Like many organizations that buy an LMS, the academy initially used the system to deliver Web-based training and keep track of enrollments. From the perspective of delivering and tracking training, the LMS was successful. According to Smith, the savings from distributing a single online course, the academy’s basic management class, paid for the LMS and its implementation. Deployment “With the increased emphasis on workforce development and training, the academy developed the professional development program [PDP],” Smith said. “It’s a set of Web-based tools that empowers all employees to plan for a successful career in the command.” The PDP uses a competency model as a framework for identifying the knowledge, skills and abilities that distinguish exemplary performers. The model draws from the Army’s Office of Personnel Management Senior Executive Service competency model, tailored to reflect the business and strategic goals of the command. Building on an effort that began with Army human resources executives, the academy
50 Chief Learning Officer • November 2010 • www.clomedia.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CLO - November 2010
Table of Contents
CLO - November 2010
Selling Up, Selling Down
Seven Secrets of an Emotional Intelligence Coach
It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s a Superlearner!
Learning From Each Other
Three Steps to Effectiveness
Leading Into Battle
CLO - November 2010