Supporting Employee Growth and Development

When Kathy Waymire in the Department of Natural Resource and Parks’ Water and Land Resources Division talked to her staff about the One Thing the group would focus on for their action plan, Growth and Development bubbled to the top of the list. Some were interested in improving skills for their current jobs and some were interested in looking down the road at what might come next for them. So, Kathy, eager to do something to support these aspirations now, turned to development plans as a tool to help her staff identify their goals and see how she could support them.

“I had worked with my manager on a development plan and it really helped focus my trajectory and goals, so I wanted to do the same with my staff,” she said.

Kathy’s group is not alone in looking to Growth and Development as a way to improve engagement. Professional Growth and Development emerged as one of the key drivers of engagement countywide and is the issue most action plans are focused on.


The Human Resources Division (HRD) is hard at work on longer term, systemic fixes like an apprenticeship program, a mentor program and expanding the Bridge Fellows program to provide an experience that can stretch and grow someone. One of the most ambitious projects HRD has taken on is redesigning the classification system to make career paths more transparent.

In the meantime, managers like Kathy have applied ingenuity and drawn on current resources to meet her employees’ need for growth and development now. To support the development plans she is working with her employees to create, Kathy asked HRD to come present the eLearning offerings available. King County eLearning is an online learning platform that gives King County employees free access to more than 8,000 training courses and videos from work or home, 24/7.

waymire.jpgKaren Cramer from HRD spent about 45 minutes orienting the team to the offerings and showing them how to create learning plans where you queue the courses, books and videos you want to support your learning goals. Want to improve your proficiency with Microsoft tools like Access and Excel? You can find all of that in eLearning . Want to improve communication? There are e-books you can listen to on the bus to and from work. Want to improve your project management skills? eLearning can take you through all of the training you need to take the test for certification.

The Action Planning tools kits also have one focused on Growth and Development that has questions and a manual employees and a managers can use to have a conversation about career aspirations.