Successful talent development starts with the right candidates for the job and involves onboard training that aligns with business requirement.  This is accomplished by offering new hires a program to develop the knowledge, skills and abilities to do their job effectively.  This practice gives staff a strong foundation to grow with the organization and approach challenges as an opportunity to learn.

It reduces employee churn, strengthens corporate culture, and improves the overall quality of services we deliver to our clients.  At NexusTek, talent development means fulfilling our promise to our clients, partners, and employees that our focus is on being the best MSP serving small and midsized businesses in North America.  The following outlines how we’re creating a world-class talent development program at NexusTek.

About NexusTek Enrich

From field engineering to accounting, sales to service desk, Enrich fosters a learning culture that gives staff the freedom to explore their professional interests, while fulfilling our mission to provide outstanding service to our customers.

Enrich Philosophy 

  • Understanding Business Needs to Drive Learning Outcomes  – This element is designed to improve service delivery to customers by aligning learning outcomes with our business needs.  For example, our client care specialists understand software applications at the deepest level but must also be trained to properly route a private cloud ticket to best serve our customers’ needs. Enrich contributes to measurable improvements in NexusTek’s service delivery. Learning outcomes aligned to business requirements become an incredibly powerful tool to build a competent workforce.
  • Encourage Meta-Cognition – A rule of thumb in corporate training states that about 70% of learning in the workplace happens outside of training (e-learning, coaching, etc.,).  Enrich improves the effectiveness of that 70% through meta-cognition.  Meta-cognition, in the simplest terms, is building on a person’s ability to learn.  It helps our staff to become more agile, more creative, and approach challenges as opportunities to develop skills.
  • Learning in Small Chunks
    A buzzword in talent development today is “micro-learning,” but there’s nothing new to the idea that we learn best when given content in small, focused chunks rather than lengthy course study. A 2017 study at UC Berkeley[1], showed that students perform better when the instructor used the Pomodoro method – study in sprints of 25 minutes followed by 5-minute breaks. At NexusTek, this method improves employee satisfaction and the quality of service delivery to customers.

Promoting a Corporate Learning Environment

  • The company implemented LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) in early 2018. Field engineers can now pursues new Microsoft certifications or learn the fundamentals of good team management to advance their career aspirations. As well, LinkedIn Learning helps our staff satisfy continuing education requirements. For example, a CPA in accounting can maintain their professional credentials.
  • We’re defining positional standards that state the baseline knowledge, skills, and abilities required for any given role. These standards will be the foundation for implementing and measuring the effectiveness of training at NexusTek. At NexusTek, whether an employee in the Service Desk II role is looking to become an Escalation Engineer, or a Field Engineer wants to move into Pro Services, our staff will understand the clear expectations on career advancement.
  • Hosted training events with our top vendor/partners Barracuda, HPE, SonicWall, PlanetOne and Fusion have begun this year.
  • Enrich’sFoundations course will be taken by all NexusTek staff as part of their onboard training.  Along with a role-specific course, Foundations will ease the transition of new staff into NexusTek’s culture, while also building the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to maximize job performance.
  • We’ve launched a Microsoft Stream channel (Stream is included free with Office 365) to host internal training videos. These include training for NexusTek’sUnified Communications, Electronic-Enterprise Content Management, Cloud Email Backup, and Microsoft/NexusTek 365 Security Assessment services. We’ve also used SharePoint Online, Flows, and PowerApps to deliver courses and keep our national workforce informed about upcoming training events.

To further advance this effort, we’re launching virtual classrooms and labs that include breakout sessions. Now our engineering staff across the nation will be able to learn together in groups while working through a lab assignment (example: Azure training sessions in a collaborative environment).

Promoting Managed Service Excellence

In the Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) space, when our staff achieves partner certifications it demonstrates a commitment to the knowledge-base we value where partner products are concerned.  For our clients, it should signal MSP excellence that our professional services and IT support staff have completed certificate programs and exams focused on partner products.  At NexusTek, our commitment is to exceed the minimum staff certification requirements for many of our partnerships. But we’re looking to go beyond. Enrich builds an even stronger relationships with our partners by promoting MSP excellence as a standard for NexusTek.  Delivering on this practice, NexusTek was recently recertified Barracuda Premier Partner. Across all categories we exceeded the minimum requirements as a partner by as much as 600%.

Hopefully, this article clearly defines how we are working to build the best teams in the IT industry at NexusTek.  As NexusTek’s Director of Technology Training, I look forward to an incredible year of delighting customers and providing enrichment for our team members.

About the Author 

James D. Skee, PhD is Nexustek’s Director, Technology Training. Before joining NexusTek in October 2018, James worked in higher ed for nearly a decade. He earned his PhD and master’s from UC Berkeley, where he helped develop curriculum used in CalTeach, Berkeley’s K-12 “STEM” teacher pre-service training program. He has also taught at Hult International Business School’s San Francisco campus, and at Oakwood School in North Hollywood, California. Prior to moving into higher education James worked in IT for twelve years. From help desk to directing IT departments, James discovered an appreciation for business technology as a field engineer in the MSP space.

 

[1] http://gsi.berkeley.edu/revision-without-tears-in-class-writing-with-the-pomodoro-technique/

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