From day one to retirement, focus on employee development bolstered by ongoing education

Sept. 12, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by the USD Beacom School of Business executive education program.

The first day on the job as an employee of the city of Sioux Falls begins a development process that could last decades.

Through a new employee well-being model, human resources leaders have identified multiple stages of an employee’s life cycle and the corresponding development that could be needed.

There are the first 90 days, when onboarding is essential. Then come the early years, the career midpoint and years for sharing expertise and mentoring.

Along the way, many employees will transition from entry-level staff to management.

“So we’re looking for ways to program learning experiences that employees need, especially leadership development,” said Reid Holsen, the city’s human resources manager.

“Our vision for our employees is that we give them opportunities to discover, collaborate and influence others. As they learn more about themselves and how they view themselves as servant leaders, they can collaborate effectively inside the city and give external customers a great experience.”

The city of Sioux Falls will be sending six managers to an executive education course Sept. 27 and 28 put on by the USD Beacom School of Business and held at the University Center in Sioux Falls.

Called Leadership Essentials for Supervisors and Managers, it’s taught by leadership consultant and Beacom School of Business adjunct instructor Stephanie McGovern and focuses on the interpersonal skills critical to success and leadership.

To learn more and register, click here.

City staff attending will include managers from public safety, public works, library, and parks and recreation.

“We have a supervisory overview where they do all their policy education, but we needed that next step to help leaders find out more about who they are as a leader, what makes them tick and how to influence people,” Holsen said. “It’s not just managing but learning how to have an effective relationship, whether it’s good coaching or confronting a difficult situation. That curriculum is going to help our leaders be more effective as they begin careers here.”’

The city has worked closely with the USD Beacom executive education program in selecting that curriculum. It was part of a focus group of industry leaders whose input helped develop this fall’s lineup of courses.

The USD Beacom team has “been listening to our needs and asked great questions about what we need and want,” Holsen said. “A lot of us aren’t interested in sending our people back to college, per se, in an academic setting. We need focused, targeted training to lift their skills and impact culture in a positive way, and they really understand that.”

In the past year, 30 city employees have attended one- or two-day executive education courses.

“They’ve learned new skills that they can take back and apply immediately,” said Linda Halliburton, director of the graduate business and executive education programs at the USD Beacom School of Business.

“Strong organizations want to ensure the success of the next generation of leaders, and they can do that with courses such as this one. A key focus of the upcoming leadership course is empowering people to create an environment where they want to and can contribute their best work. This fits extremely well with the city’s transformational goals.”

Six city employees attended a lean management course last spring that happened to include some of their peers from the region, she said, and the instructor was able to tweak the program so they could work on a real problem that affected them.

“They were able to ask questions of each other and have conversations that may not have otherwise happened. It was amazing to see the solutions they came up with,” Halliburton said. “How many times do you get to go to a course and leave with a plan that several stakeholders have already signed off on?”

The USD Beacom School of Business is looking at how to support the city’s leadership goals with a longer-term, customized program, Halliburton said. That’s something USD can do for businesses of all sizes. Some aren’t large enough to have their own training and development programs. Others are looking to bring in specialized expertise.

Customized programs such as this are a key focus for the USD Beacom School, dean Venky Venkatachalam said.

“It’s a strategic partnership. We are not just a vendor that delivers a program,” he said. “We have to create value for them, and they create value for us. So we have created a process of designing material and gaining their approval before we even deliver the program.”

USD Beacom has “worked backwards” to create its programs, he continued

“We do a needs assessment, understand who the audience is, what the expectations and problems are, and allow them to ask questions about measuring the effectiveness of the program,” Venkatachalam added.

The school now partners regularly with regional businesses to complement the training they provide for their employees, Halliburton said.

“This can be anything from offering group discounts for public courses to bringing a course to their location or creating a course specifically for their company’s needs.”

Holsen, who has attended multiple executive education courses, said both USD faculty and leadership are committed to delivering the sort of ongoing education organizations need.

“They’re aware of the impact they’re having in the community. There’s a spirit of being purposeful that was very credible,” he said. “Their openness to customizing what they do is just what we need. They’re willing to be flexible, quick and nimble, and that’s what all of us need.”

To learn more and register for the upcoming leadership course, click here 

To explore other ways the USD Beacom School of Business executive education program can work with your organization, call 605-274-9519 or email

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From day one to retirement, focus on employee development bolstered by ongoing education

Just as employees need different development at various stages of a career, businesses need customized approaches to providing training. Here’s how the USD Beacom School of Business is providing both.

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