The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has been the federal government’s primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing and preserving published information in all its forms for all three branches for the past 140 years. Today, the GPO is at the epicenter of technology as it embraces its historic mission of printing and access to government information in a digital world. The employees of the GPO are transforming the agency into a digital information processing facility. With a clear focus on preparing the workforce for these future changes, the GPO is transforming the methods used to train its future leaders.
“Experienced managers from the executive level to staff members are critical to the success of any organization, but require very different training and development techniques,” said Steve Patrick, director of the Office of Workforce Development, Education and Training at the GPO. “At the GPO, we are planning for the future on multiple fronts, so our entire leadership team of executives, managers and team leaders needs to have the right experience and training, both in technology and innovation, as well as a working knowledge of management, leadership and human capital skills.”
With a clear plan for developing managers and cultivating those employees with potential to take on new and more challenging positions, the GPO is transforming its culture and driving significant change in its talent development through new certificate programs, educational tracks, e-learning initiatives and leadership development. With executive sponsors heavily supporting the workforce transformation, the leadership development program is required training and is initially focused on three key areas: community in the workplace, better resolution to conflict and team building.
The program is completely blended for high-potential and management development and includes a combination of classroom training and e-learning, as well as Web-based courses and simulations delivered through Ninth House. The strategy was simple: participate in the Web-based courses and exercises, read the appropriate materials and come to the classroom prepared to engage, interact and discuss what was learned.
“Blended learning was really the only way we could achieve the success we all knew the program could garner,” Patrick said. “Classroom training is critical to team-building and interaction, but we can’t take our staff offline for long periods of time. By leveraging the power of the Internet, we have been able to successfully reach and develop our leadership team without impacting workflow or productivity.”
The results have been impressive. The GPO’s supervisors, managers and team leaders have fully embraced the program with huge success. “We’re excited about the results and have already started planning for the future of the program,” Patrick said. “So far this year, we’ve trained more than 300 leaders who will help with the transformation. Looking forward, we plan on rolling out an expanded e-learning and skills training program for the entire workforce. Based on my experience, any organization that is experiencing rapid change or establishing new work processes should be investigating the efficiencies of blended learning for leadership and workforce development programs.”
Jeff Snipes is the CEO and founder of Ninth House Inc., a leadership development firm that provides blended learning. He can be reached at email@example.com.