What if I told you the easiest and to me best analogy to explain what culture is that “Culture is an iceberg. There’s so much to it than meets the eye.”
That really resonates with me and my team. It is something that must continually be monitored, mentored, developed, with constant reinforcement of super amazing people, process, tools and technology.
One of our team members Julie Plummer from KYT Corporate did an excellent blog topic on culture trends and she specifically gave her thoughts around the importance that people/team members/employee’s feel connected to the company and its cause. Since our cause is all about helping drive a culture of learning and helping individuals improve their employability skills its extremely motivating for me to be passionate about sharing our cause- if we focus on always trying to get better, we will. Our culture is all about getting better and our employee’s want to continue to grow as well.
Back to the “there’s so much more to it than meets the eye” in my analogy around culture. With my thirty-five (35) years of leadership experience one thing I have learned is the workforce, its landscape, working environment constant changes, requires three important skills: Communication, more communication and then yes, more communication. That is right – you develop your plan, share it, reinforce it, then go out and evangelize it through every communication method (i.e. newsletter, one on one’s, team meetings, all hands company updates, and then some) possible.
Then it’s about letting your leaders lead, empower your teams to take risks (calculated) from time to time, and to always be learning while trying to get better at what we do. I feel blessed to have the teams we do working with corporations, school districts and those adult learners going through our IT certification pathways, it reminds of why we do this and reinforces our culture too.
During our June all-hands video call I promised to complete one-on-ones with every employee who does not report directly to me. My goal was to ask four questions to each employee so I could get consistent feedback on what was working, what needed to improve, and what other learning experiences have they had along the way during their tenure with LearnKey and Know Your Talents.
Always be listening
The feedback has been amazing and truly listening to the voice of the employee is something that through these one-on-ones will help us get better. Plus, we have implemented some improved tools for specific departments and are working on a few others. Our leadership team works hard to develop a growth-oriented company culture that is focused on always wanting to get better. I was really proud of the feedback employees shared about the strong relationships they have with their peers and leaders. The word “respect” is big in our company.
The process was easy as I was following what we do for our customers through the four pillars of our Enterprise Development Solution (two specifically): “Know me. Grow me.” It made the conversation much more engaging. Every employee has taken a Proscan, so we learn about each other’s behaviors/talents, and it was nice to leverage that in conversations around benefits it has to collaboration, being flexible, and respecting why change and/or communication can be much more effective in different ways for different people.
One of the biggest things that jumped out at me was how every employee really wanted to learn other team members’ behavior so they could communicate and support each other more. Less about them and more about the team.
Another important benefit was the reminder of keeping a pulse on our established company culture of learning. Meaning never stop promoting all of the resources we have to our very own employees so they can gain more skills.
Last but not least, was the wonderful feeling of gratitude because we really do have an awesome team.
Remote work is not new to me or a lot of people but the pandemic sure had an impact. Like many companies we adapted and learned along the way, and at the exact same time our corporate consulting division, Know Your Talents, was also in the process of rolling out: Know me. Grow me. Include me. Inspire me., our four pillars that enhances culture and optimizes performance at every level of an organization.
So after reading Marc Andreessen’s recent article/podcast where he talks about remote work – “It’s potentially an earthquake,” I have to agree with him 100% and that is not in a bad way. “It’s potentially one of those things that in a hundred years, people could look back and say, ‘That was a real turning point for how society developed.'” Andreessen goes on to say he’s excited by that idea, adding that “if everybody could still have access to great knowledge-work jobs online, maybe that’s a fundamentally better way to live.”
Now the question becomes how do you do that? Ensure people have the right process, tools and technology so they can work effectively remotely, be part of a successful culture, where their skills are up to date now and in the future.
Now is also not the time to scale back on investing in talent, this article on retaining and growing a workforce even with a potential recession in 2022 is smart thinking in my mind. A skilled remote workforce is inevitable for almost every company in one way shape or form. Let’s look back and say when remote work became an earthquake we conquered it.
Wow, this year is going fast, and as we reflect on the first quarter of this year we were thrilled to hear we had over thirty (30) veteran students get placed in jobs the first quarter of this year. It was also nice to see that the entry level IT Professional annual salary was over $65,000 a year. Additionally, we set a record for the number of certifications achieved by our students in March, topping over 143! IT certifications are a great way to demonstrate competency with potential employers and hiring managers.
What is next? How about our new messaging: Know Me. Grow Me. Include Me. Inspire Me. This is something we are so excited about as it matches who we are and what we want to do with our corporate customers, as well as the students that complete our signature Blue Ocean programs. It’s all about growth, development, investing, and engaging with people that make a great culture.
The fact that we can take feedback from corporate customers and incorporate that feedback into our courses, it gives us a competitive advantage, as we know exactly what customers are looking for in the new world remote/hybrid workforce. Example is when an employer survey shares that the top three life skills/reasons graduates fail in the workforce are Emotional Intelligence, Coachability, and Motivation, you can bet we are going to focus on it within our courseware and our employability team.
Here we grow! February is almost over, and boy are we busy. We have onboarded amazing new team members (Donna, Sydney, Sarah, and Larae) and in last month’s blog we were reflecting on the holidays. Now we are less than a week away from March. Q1 2022 is almost over- yikes!
Super excited about our amazing production team. Our Senior Instructor Jason Manibog just finished up Network+, and now he and our production team are already filming A+. These are super big LearnKey Signature courses and our production team is on it.
CompTIA is a signature track for LearnKey and, just as we did last year with CompTIA’s new Security+, our team has created an amazing learning scenario to be the theme of this course.
Since I joined LearnKey in 2011, we have always incorporated scenario-based learning as part of our theme for every signature course we produce. It really puts relevance to learning, and that is what we are all about.
Next month I will share some exciting news about our messaging for 2022.
It was so awesome to have holiday party celebrations this past year, and then before you know it, it is 2022.
This had to be the fastest holiday season ever! The month of December was filled with awesome holiday parties starting with our Know Your Talents Holiday Party on Thursday, December 9th, in Scottsdale, Arizona, at Pubblico Italian Eatery. It was fun to celebrate the holiday as well as moving into our new office located: 10446 N 74th St Suite 100, Scottsdale, AZ 85258 (southeast corner of Shea Blvd and Scottsdale Rd.)
Next stop was St. George, Utah, for a great virtual party on Wednesday, December 15th. I have to say more folks enjoyed that than I ever would have imagined. We had gingerbread contests, music contests, and really made a good time of it. Then we had our party at Milt’s in Cedar City, Utah, Friday, December 17th. We had over forty (40) employees, spouses, and significant others for a wonderful celebration. The air was chill, plenty of stars out up the canyon – a great time. Then the Salt Lake City team had their party Saturday, December 18th, at Rodizio Grill in downtown, which was a blast. Lots of people, protein, and crazy conversation.
It was so well needed for us to reconnect, and we started the first of the year by having an awesome knowledge drop covering LearnKey’s 2022 course production schedule last week!
This week it is all about finalizing goals with each team and I cannot be more proud of how focused and on point everyone is as we continue to focus on getting better every day.
Last week in our St. George, UT office we were fortunate enough to have lunch and celebrate Chip Ehlers twenty (20) year anniversary with LearnKey!
He is one of the most well-respected, hardworking, smart, and dedicated team members you will ever meet. Over the years Chip has been recognized for his great contributions as he has won recognition for his “can do attitude” many times. His peers were proud to be part of the celebration as Chip is someone we all greatly appreciate having on our team.
He wears many hats when it comes to his role at LearnKey from order entry, invoicing, inventory management and fulfillment to printing and shipping catalogs, Chip never says ‘it can’t be done.’ Of course he is most famous in the St. George office for serenading his coworkers when a catchy song comes on the radio, but its been a while:)
Thank you Chip you truly exemplify our core values: Ease – your easy demeanor, Value– Your work speaks for itself and Trust – well “In Chip we trust”
When people trust you, they do business with you. Our newest Key Contributor Award Winner (okay, she has actually received this award before) exemplifies that tenfold.
That is why I am thrilled to announce Melanie Benitez as our 2021 2nd Quarter Key Contributor Award winner! This past year, like many other years, Melanie has won the trust of not only her team members but also our clients.
Melanie has been at the forefront of Managing Customer Success for Know Your Talents, the Corporate Division of LearnKey. Here is what her team members said during the nomination “Melanie epitomizes our core values: Ease, Value, and Trust. She has done a fabulous job at creating our ‘stickiness’ with our Enterprise Development Solution clients. As a result they are becoming smarter, successful with PDP, and more educated than ever before due to the process and solutions Melanie and her team are providing for them. ”
Melanie and her team are now providing continuous webinars, Mentor Certifications, and 1-1 coaching to the tune of 100s of hours with leaders within our customer base. This has driven much more growth to the business and she has been responsible for ensuring the renewals and exceeding customer expectations for our valued clients, naming a few that include HPone, Pioneer Title, and Creative Testing Solutions.
One quality Melanie possesses above and beyond is her ability to gain tremendous client loyalty. This comes from who she is, which is an amazing team member and someone we are so grateful to have on our team.
Please join me in congratulating Melanie — once again!
Now more than ever corporate customers are coming to LearnKey to power-up their online continuing education programs for their employee’s, leadership teams and owners.
Organizations are scrambling to implement programs so they can keep their existing employee’s and lure in new talent as every company is challenged to maintain and add staff. Here are a few of our offerings that make up our Enterprise Development Solutions which we customize for each client:
- Continuing Education Solution: Here is a good read on how important offering continuing education programs to upskill employee’s is as now considered a big part of employee benefits. That is why just learning how to learn online is also an important skill to obtain forever more. Companies are moving away from in person training and knowing how to learn online is the future.
- Pre-Hire Academy Solution: This is somewhat new and “out of the box” and if done right can not only attract/pre-qualify candidates – it can be a nice good faith of “corporate social responsibility” by offering education/training that leads to a job within communities. Instead of using the same old traditional job boards for acquiring new talent. Offer it to those that have the willingness to learn a skill.
- Vocational Readiness Programs: Here is where we have a huge advantage over our competitors. We have corporate customers on that our on boarding this month who utilize LearnKey signature courses to create an offering they administer and offer their customers. LearnKey also has their open enrollment program available to anyone.
- Employability Services: Organizations utilizing any of the above solutions are keen on utilizing our services and assistance with job leads, mock interviews, and resume tips. Additionally, they like having resources to tap into from time to time when it comes to placement assistance for students who graduate from our certification programs.
These are the core education as a service (EaaS) offerings we provide along with our behavioral foundation, which drives a truly successful learning experience.
These are very interesting times in how important continuous education is for our country. We have millions of adults who ware lacking skills for todays in demand jobs. Let’s get them certified.
Last Friday July 9th, the LearnKey Utah and Arizona teams got together to reconnect and introduce our newest Know Your Talents and Brighton team members who took the trip from Arizona. With over thirty-four (34) attending we enjoyed great food and got to hear from our founder John Clemons talk about how he created the first course (WordPerfect) back in 1987 founded the company and brought along LearnKey’s first computer, old newspaper magazines, the original accounting ledger, old shirts, pictures, courses in VHS, DVDS and great company history. Then afterwards he broke out his guitar and played great music for an hour or so.
This is the first time we have been able to get together in a large group setting in over seventeen (17) months and everyone had a blast. We talked about how the entire company works so amazing together as one team and how everyone is “connected and are always there for one another”. There is no me its WE and we all do our best to not let any of our team members down.
I reminded them of the great NFL Head Coach Bill Walsh who said ” if you can get people to laugh and trust you, you can get them to be serious too.” The entire LearnKey team is a true champion.
David Clemons, LearnKey’s former President also shared what he has been up to the past three years launching his HERO non-lethal safety pistol. One of the surprises is all the LearnKey employee’s received safety training and HERO 2020 non-lethal pistols. It was our way as owners sharing that we care for them and here is a way we can help them protect themselves. He and his team took the time to teach everyone how to shoot it and protect themselves. It was an awesome afternoon.
To top things off our Kelly Woods brought up his box/race car and cruised it up and down the canyon. Then our very own Sheena Chamberlain took it for a ride which was the icing on the cake to complete a great afternoon of fun.
I am reminded how truly fortunate we are to have great people, all sharing the same goal to help our customers “Improve their Employability Skills Every Day”.