Fostering a Culture of Learning at Clune Construction
By: Peggy Newquist, Learning & Development Manager
Studies have shown that employees who are given the opportunity to learn and grow professionally are more engaged, have higher job satisfaction, and produce higher quality work. Clune’s Learning & Development department has enabled us to stay ahead of this trend with our robust training program. The role of the Learning & Development department is predominantly one of support. Not only of our employee owners in their professional development, but just as importantly of the Clune Way, which is defined by our values, behaviors, customer focus, and dedicated support of each member of Team Clune.
According to “What People Want?” a report by Hays, a leading employee benefits consultancy firm, a personal development allowance and financial support for training and certification is among the top five most desired benefits by employees in the construction industry. In addition, a construction industry consulting firm, FMI has found providing training opportunities to be one of the most popular strategies for retaining high-potential employees.
Clune is ahead of the curve with many of these trends. While we have always had a strong culture of peer learning, we raised the bar on this initiative in early 2020. It was then that Clune implemented a structured and required all-employee learning and development plan. This initiative was supported by an investment in a Learning Management System (LMS) to track and report employee training across all levels. All employees were tasked with completing a minimum of 10 total training credits in a year.
Since everyone learns differently, and also desires and require different skills to succeed, Clune recognizes that a one-size-fits-all approach to employee development is not effective. The goal could only be achieved by completing a combination of mandatory courses and electives. To encourage well-rounded learning and development, a maximum number of credits per elective category could be counted towards an employee’s annual goal. The objective of the plan is to set an achievable goal for all, one with a strong purpose behind it and not simply another box to check.
Six months into the year, employees are given a mid-year credit report and suggestions to help them to meet their year-end goal. In addition, Clune didn’t stop its training program during the pandemic. During this time, Clune pivoted to offering more frequent webinars and training opportunities via Microsoft Teams and Zoom. We also offered third party content on how to best work remotely, and Health and Wellness education to encourage self-care for all during a very stressful time.
At the end of 2020, a survey was distributed to all employees. Feedback received included positives such as; “… staying up to date with continuous learning and development can only strengthen Clune’s position in the industry” and “… plenty of options to enable us to meet our goals.” Constructive feedback such as “… more external training options” and “… greater variety and flexibility for employees who aren’t PMs or Superintendents” was also welcomed and taken into account when designing the 2021 learning and development plan.
In 2021, it became clear that traditional in-person learning could not be guaranteed to return anytime soon. To keep content engaging, the 2021 elective categories incorporated additional credit opportunities for creating and presenting content. It also included representing Clune at industry speaking engagements and recruiting at college job fairs. The Learning and Development department wanted to maintain a high level of engagement and reward those willing to pay-it-forward by sharing their knowledge and expertise for the growth and good of the company.
Supporting the Clune Way
Clune’s many Learning & Development offerings align with The Clune Way values of Service, Teamwork, Respect, Excellence, Leadership, and Innovation. These values are the foundation of who Clune is as a company.
How Learning & Development contributes to each of the Clune Way values will be detailed in an upcoming Insights post.