(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
Polaroid Corporation - Waltham, MA
Polaroid has a tradition of helping employees improve their work related knowledge and skills. To provide additional focus in the areas of health, safety, and environment, Polaroid established the Professional Development Committee (PDC) in 1994 which assists company HSE employees in their continued skill development.
Polaroid recognized that their HSE employees need a high level of technical competence, business insight, and personnel leadership. In addition, these employees face a continual learning challenge due to the day-to-day demands of their jobs and everchanging regulatory requirements. As a result, their longer-term professional development tended to be neglected. To resolve this situation, Polaroid uses its PDC to update and educate HSE personnel on the skill requirements for promotion; standardize the HSE job family and job titles; offer ongoing professional training; and build a community of shared learnings on an HSE Intranet home page.
In 1994, Polaroid identified skills development as a top priority area within its corporate and matrix organizations which needed improvement, especially in the technical and leadership/management areas. Employee learning method preferences included coursework, on-the-job training, and specific project assignments. Therefore as part the PDC's focus on professional training, Polaroid developed a PDC Development Planning Kit. Based on the objective of helping HSE personnel, the Development Planning Kit clarifies their vision of career and/or personal achievement goals develops a plan to reach those goals identifies specific skills improvement activities with a time line for accomplishing them and enhances the supervisor's understanding of the PDC work and support for skill improvement. In addition, the Development Planning Kit provides details to the employees on how to conduct their own goalsetting effort. These goals are then reviewed with the employee's supervisor, and a skills assessment of the employee is conducted by a professional and the employee's supervisor. A portion of the skills assessment tool is the Checklist for Individual Development Planning which addresses knowledge areas such as environmental health; safety; leadership skills; communication skills; business environment; administration skills; community and professional engagement; and personal effectiveness skills. These efforts support employees in their pursuit of knowledge and skills through learning plans and management commitments.
Polaroid's PDC focus on HSE established a framework and guide for employees and supervisors to maintain and ensure skills development through educational support, relevant monitoring, and successful progression. Employees who used Polaroid's PDC Development Planning Kit have benefitted from self assessment and achieved positive results from their learning plans. In addition, supervisors have gained a better understanding of HSE job responsibilities through the Development Planning Kit and regard it as a useful tool for supporting employee development.