Leading With Expectations: Lehigh’s New Staff Career Development Curriculum

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Monday, April 18, 2016

A new approach to career development at Lehigh is taking shape. We sat down with the workplace learning and performance team of Judy Zavalydriga and Linda LeFever to learn more about the philosophy behind the shift and some of the details of the new curriculum.


“The biggest shift in our new career development program is that we are leading with expectations,” Judy explained. “We are moving from open registration to a more defined expectation and standard for knowledge, skills and expertise at different levels.”


“Those expectations will be different depending on where someone is in their career path,” Linda added. “So a person who manages employees, for instance, will have a different standard for what they should know than someone who doesn’t.”


Succession planning, which we have discussed in the past, is also a factor in newly designed career development curriculum.


“We want to build the current base of management and feed the pipeline of managers,” Judy noted.



A Focus on First Time Managers


The new career development curriculum will be organized into several distinct certificate programs which staff can join to work toward completing. These will include programs in administrative professional excellence, careers and choices, and leadership development.

While the curriculum will continue to include programs that are open to all, some of the programs will be specifically geared to certain populations of staff.


For example, the curriculum places a greater focus on preparing first time Lehigh managers for their role. Judy says it’s all about creating a standard understanding of the Lehigh culture of management.


“We want to establish a baseline level of competencies, skills, work behaviors, and attitudes so that we can feel assured that all of our new managers are prepared to step forward in their role,” she said.


Programs like Supervisor’s Crash Course (example at right) cover employment law, an important element in management. “Employment law drives our policies, which drive our internal decision making,” Judy said. “So, it’s essential that managers understand the reasons behind the policies we have and how to carry them out.”


Beyond the basics of law and policy, Career Power Lunch for Managers aims to foster a coaching mentality in Lehigh managers.


“We want to have an environment where managers encourage their employees to grow in place or grow in their career,” Linda said. “Managers should recognize their people have career interests and maybe those interests are outside of their current area. We want managers who support that.”



Additional Development Opportunities


While the formal learning environment will be the main venue for the new curriculum, it was also important to Judy and Linda to offer opportunities for informal sharing. “Many people get a lot out of watching TEDTalks, for example,” Judy noted. “But they don’t always have a chance to discuss the insights they gained. We plan to offer ways to gather to discuss things like videos and books.”



The Road Ahead


There are still a few workplace learning programs going on this spring. Find out about those classes and register here.


As spring turns to summer, we’ll be sharing more details about the new career development curriculum, both in Spotlight and on the Human Resources website


When the campus returns to full activity in August, look for a full launch of the new curriculum. We’ll be telling you about specific certificate opportunities and giving you the information you need about how to apply or register for programs.