When the New Year rolls around, most people have good intentions and make resolutions to kick-off the year; unfortunately, most people break their resolutions less than a month into the year. However, some don’t wait until the clock strikes midnight to make a positive change and continue working on and improving those changes well into the New Year. The Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the government agencies that set a resolution to retain their employees. The government agency has helped many of its employees improve their skills and has provided them opportunities to grow within the agency. Despite budget cuts and pay freezes, the agency created the VA Learning University (VALU) to offer employees an outlet to improve development, leadership skills, and personal growth while aligning to the agency’s mission and goals. This initiative has helped the VA save $200 million in turnover expenses in 2011. For 2012, the agency has made a goal to support the Obama administration’s drive to add more veterans into the civilian federal workforce. They plan on increasing the amounts of veterans they have on staff to 40 percent in 2012, up from 32 percent currently.
Perhaps the VA is on to something. A survey recently conducted by Federal News Radio to 49 chief human capital officers (CHCO) showed that most CHCOs are concerned with recruiting and retaining employees due to tight budgets and limited resources. VALU is proof that not all incentives to recruit and retain are monetary. The ability to grow professionally and personally is a coveted benefit at any agency. The Ken Blanchard Companies believes that individual learning is a key element to a high performing agency and is essential to self-leadership. Agencies that do not encourage people to learn are less likely to be high performing, because the skills of an agency are no greater than the skills of its people. When individuals learn, the agency learns. High performing agencies use formal training, mentoring, and on-the-job support to develop the skills and competencies of their people.
As a leader, why not help your direct reports make the most out of their learning experience. Learn the six keys on how to ENGAGE your staff so they can apply what the learned in real-life work scenarios.