The Division of Human Resources introduced new programs this year through their Talent Development team that are revolutionizing how Human Resources trains and develops Virginia Tech’s work force.

These changes are part of Human Resources’ strategy to develop services based on the needs of university employees.

“We are creating a perceptible shift in how we serve Virginia Tech,” said Bryan Garey, vice president for human resources. “We are building services and experiences that employees need to help them advance in their career with the university. We are also building resources for leaders to help them lead their teams to achieve the university’s long-term goals. One example of these services and resources is the new approach to training that our Talent Development team is leading.”

One service, the new Virtual Learning Center, initially developed to meet the needs of employees and leaders during the COVID-19 crisis, has quickly become one of the most visited pages on the Human Resources website.

This center features virtual learning courses and other resources in a “one-stop-shop” location, including courses on time management, establishing work from home policies, leadership during a crisis, using Zoom, and more. After completion, participants receive a course certification that can be displayed on their LinkedIn profile.

Avery Bakeley, a talent development specialist at Virginia Tech who helped to create the Virtual Learning Center, said the courses are curated with Virginia Tech in mind and have been a massive success.

“The Virtual Learning Center lets users find relevant and timely resources on working, leading, and learning in any environment,” said Bakeley. “Since the end of March, over 2,200 individuals have visited the site and employees have indicated their appreciation to enhance their professional development.”

The highly regarded Fast Track for New Supervisors program launched in January with the goal of providing support for supervisors who have been in their role for less than a year. Originally, a hybrid course of in-person and virtual courses, the Fast Track for New Supervisors offered two sets of packed classes.

When Virginia Tech moved to essential operations on March 31, the Talent Development Team had to quickly modify their program and has continued to provide training and support to new supervisors through their Fast Track Friday live webinars. Talent Development recently launched a self-paced virtual version of the program.

Sarah Dreier-Kasik, a talent development specialist at Virginia Tech who helped create this program, said, “The goal is to create an active learning experience where supervisors interact and tackle real-world issues in a safe, fail-friendly environment. We’ve already had very positive feedback from participants who are putting what they learned into practice with their teams with good results.”

"This is the best professional development course I have taken in 11 years at Virginia Tech,” said one long-term employee who participated in the program. “Thank you!"

Talent Development is currently working with partners across campus to design and implement the new PageUp Learning Management System (LMS). With the initial launch in September, the system will provide a platform for new hire training. Following launch, the project team will continue to work with partners across campus to expand course options and training opportunities.

Marsha McKay, director of talent development, said it is an exciting time for employees to recharge their career with the programs being offered through Talent Development.

“Over the last year we have been meeting with leadership across the university, trying to understand what professional development opportunities will help the most people excel in or advance their careers at Virginia Tech,” said McKay. “The programs and courses we are offering are just the beginning of how Talent Development will support career aspirations in the future.”