When engagement survey data revealed the importance of career growth and development to employees of the Department of Transportation’s Road Services Division, leadership reached out to Human Resource Division’s Career Support Services section to explore a partnership, and the Roads Career Development Academy was born. The program was designed to help employees identify their professional goals and take charge of their careers.
Employee engagement scores at Roads are slightly higher than the countywide average, as are Roads employees’ feelings about opportunities for growth and development. Still, division leadership saw that the growth and development scores were lower than in other areas of their survey results, and they turned their attention there.
For Division Director Brenda Bauer, it was important to put control in the hands of employees and empower them to guide their own careers. “I wanted to provide the tools and support, and let them be the drivers,” she explained.
“We listened to what Roads needed and repackaged services we already offer to fit their goals,” said HRD Career Support Services’ Susan Navetski. “Then we brought it on site to make it more accessible to their employees.”
In 2017, the three-session career academy was offered to 46 people at both King Street Center and the Roads’ Maintenance facility in Renton, where many of Roads’ crews work.
The tailored Roads Career Academy consisted of:
Session 1: (3 hours) Introduction to Career Building
Identify individual interests and values as they relate to career options, explore similar job classifications, learn the importance of competencies when identifying career options, leverage tips for engaging in conversations with leadership, and gain the knowledge of how to research and seize career opportunities.
Session 2: (2 hours) Lominger Competency Building – Identifying Your Job-Related Competencies
Leadership Architect is a comprehensive, integrated set of tools that provides employees with the ability to identify and analyze their strengths relative to a number of job skills and competencies. Generate a list of self-evaluated competencies that are your Towering Strengths, competencies that are demonstrated talents and competencies that reflect areas for improvement. Having a clear understanding of your strengths and challenges, as well as requirements for your next job, are first on your path to career advancement.
Session 3: (1.5 hours) Creating Your Personalized Career Path
Participants learn how to create and manage a meaningful career development plan to guide them in closing the gaps between where they are and where they aspire to go. Assess areas of development and ways to identify and explore career opportunities. Create and manage a meaningful career development plan.
Employees who signed up committed to participating in the whole program. Roads leaders encouraged managers and supervisors to support their employees who were interested in attending.
The DOT Director’s Office and the King County International Airport team quickly followed suit and offered the Career Academy to their employees. They also chose to offer some additional workshop options, including Strategic Interviewing Tips and Myers/Briggs personality types.
The Career Academy is one of several actions Roads has taken to enhance professional development opportunities. The data show these efforts are making a difference! Scores increased around having equal access to advancement opportunities, being satisfied with opportunities to achieve career goals, and having opportunities to attend trainings, learn and grow.
“Participating in the Roads Career Development Academy provided a wonderful opportunity to examine my own career path and interests,” said Brandy Retting, Customer Service Administrator. “It introduced me to a wide array of practical tools and resources to help me identify, plan and work towards my goals.”
Roads is offering the academy again this year, realizing there were some who didn’t get to take it in 2017 – and word of mouth was so positive, even more want to participate. One enhancement was made; an optional fourth class is being offered, Creating Effective Application Materials. This class will share techniques to help employees effectively demonstrate how they meet job qualifications, identify transferable skills, and showcase their accomplishments on job applications.