Given double digit unemployment rates throughout the US and in the Bay Area where I live along with questions about the ability of the US to compete in a global marketplace, continuous learning and retraining at the workplace seems to be essential. Relatedly, the challenge has been made by leading thinkers in the media and the government urging the US to find new ways to innovate. Here are two recent tweets that illustrates this challenge and new reality from Bay Area entrepreneurs Dan Martell and Eric Ries and from President Obama during the State of the Union address.
Now, given this reality as a backdrop, let’s look at the popular internet radio startup Pandora. While there is much to admire about Pandora including its recent IPO filing, its legendary example of perseverance by persisting despite over 300 VC rejections for financing in the early 2000’s, and its early adopter use of Facebook connect, I was very pleased to come across this open position at Pandora: Director, Learning and Development. Here’s the job requirements:
Director, Learning and Development – Oakland, CA
The Director of Learning and Development will be responsible for creating a learning strategy to help ensure the building of employee skills to execute the Pandora business objectives. This person will be a strategic leader as well as a hands-on training specialist.
- Work with business leaders and managers across the Pandora business to identify skill gaps, training opportunities and develop/deliver training solutions. Determine changes and enhancements to current curriculum, what to develop in-house vs. purchase.
- Develop a programmatic structure and systematic approach to design and deliver training programs in support of the business objectives that emphasize on active learning and appropriate instructional technologies.
- Drive ongoing learning needs analysis, design, scripting, development, assessment, implementation and evaluation of training materials to ensure alignment with business strategy
- Design and deliver, both in house and with expert third parties, solutions that include a blended approach to learning such as coaching, classroom training, experiential learning, distance learning and online learning.
- Manage relationships with external providers.
- Develop and manage a training budget.
Large companies have for quite a while had learning and training organizations, often calling the group its internal University. Upcoming IPO withstanding, smaller private companies like Pandora with 160-180 employees, usually don’t invest in continuous learning and development like this. A good model to follow for growing companies, but it really doesn’t require a specific position like this to advance the continuous learning agenda. Even before the company has gotten large enough to invest in this role, companies should embed this philosophy into their culture. As the two quotes above indicate- the prize is significant and essential!