The Deep End team supports Operation: Job Ready Veteran (OJRV) with ongoing HR services. Read how our engagement started with a learning and development and grew from there. OJRV still holds the record for the most online courses taken by a team within its first year on the H2L.live platform!
Operation: Job Ready Veteran (OJRV) was founded in 2007 as the Crane Learning and Employment Center for Veterans with Disabilities—with a focus on helping veterans find employment at Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, located in Southwest Indiana. In 2012, the organization opened the program to all veterans and moved its headquarters to Indianapolis.
Today, OJRV serves veterans across eight states with career support and training as they transition out of active-duty service. Many of OJRV’s team members are also veterans with a heart for service and are still learning and growing in their civilian roles, as well.
The organization is funded by private entities and actively works to apply nearly every dollar raised directly to their mission. However, leadership realized that an investment was required in building and upskilling the team to serve more veterans at a higher level.
Our first engagement with OJRV was to introduce asynchronous learning to the team via H2L.live, Deep End Talent Strategies’ proprietary LMS. We partnered with the Executive Director to build an online learning path for each employee that covered core topics identified for year one: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging; Anti-Harassment; Communication; Software Basics; and Teamwork. Employees had access to optional training and collectively took over 200 online courses in the first year!
Naming and Framing
In year two of the engagement, the Deep End Talent Strategies team met organizational leadership to determine the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for success in current roles, but also with a key focus on the next several years of the organization’s growth.
Together, we identified the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for each role in the organization, and how those are defined for leadership positions. This work led to a workforce analysis and some role consolidation while hiring for newly identified needs.
Our team created new interview templates and a bank of questions to help ensure we were consistently asking the right questions of candidates to ensure they can meet the new expectations for each role.
We additionally revamped performance management and shared the new approach and philosophy in an all-hands meeting. The revised evaluation process puts an emphasis on competencies and soft skills in quarterly discussions between managers and employees. Each conversation focuses on clear KPIs for each role while reinforcing the over 3,000 online courses available to the team.
New job descriptions were shared with each employee by their manager with a discussion of any new expectations or competencies. Additional online courses were assigned to each team member building on the first year’s content. The organization’s ability to achieve its robust strategic goals largely hinges on the competencies and capabilities of the leadership team. Through a collaborative process, we found a crucial connection between decision-making, conflict resolution, and effective communication in advancing OJRV’s mission.
Leadership development is an essential element for the growth and success of an organization. As organizations evolve and expand in an ever-changing business landscape, the need for competent leaders who can effectively drive the organization towards its goals becomes increasingly important. Leadership development is critical for organizational growth, including its impact on talent retention, decision-making, and fostering a growth mindset.
A solid foundation in decision making, conflict resolution, and effective communication is essential for successful leadership development. A leader who is skilled in these areas will be able to address the complex and dynamic challenges that they face daily.
The Link Between Decision Making and Leadership Development
We found that for OJRV, as well as many other organizations, decision making is at the core of leadership, as it involves the ability to analyze situations, evaluate options, and make sound choices that benefit the organization. Developing this skill set is crucial for leaders who wish to drive progress and facilitate change in their teams.
Effective decision making requires a combination of cognitive and emotional intelligence. Cognitive intelligence allows leaders to analyze information, identify patterns, and weigh the pros and cons of diverse options. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, helps leaders understand the emotions and perspectives of their team members, enabling them to make decisions that consider the well-being and motivation of their team.
Resolution and Leadership Development
Conflict is an inevitable aspect of human interaction, and leaders must be adept at managing and resolving it to maintain a healthy and productive work environment. Conflict resolution skills are essential for leaders who seek to address disagreements and disputes effectively, thereby fostering collaboration and team cohesion.
To resolve conflicts, leaders must first understand the root cause and the parties involved. This involves active listening and empathy to gain insight into the perspectives and emotions of the individuals in conflict. Leaders should also develop their negotiation skills, as they may need to mediate between conflicting parties and help them find common ground.
In addition, leaders should be able to recognize and address their own biases and assumptions. By doing so, they can approach conflicts objectively and fairly, ensuring that resolutions are based on merit and not personal preferences.
Effective Communication and Leadership Development
Effective communication is the glue that binds decision making and conflict resolution together. For leaders, being able to communicate clearly and persuasively is crucial for conveying their vision, expectations, and feedback to their team.
Leaders must be proficient in both verbal and non-verbal communication. They should be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas concisely, using simple and clear language. Non-verbal communication, such as body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice, should also be considered, as these can significantly impact the message being conveyed.
Effective communication involves active listening, which entails being fully present, attentive, and engaged when team members are speaking. This skill is crucial for fostering an environment of trust and mutual respect, as it demonstrates to team members that their opinions and feelings are valued.
Lastly, leaders should be able to adapt their communication style to suit their audience. This may involve tailoring their language, tone, and delivery based on the individual's personality, cultural background, or level of expertise.
The Deep End Talent Strategies team curated a custom Leadership Development Program for OJRV with a hybrid approach of in-person workshops, asynchronous content, and interactive discussions. Leadership development is a critical component of organizational growth, as it directly impacts talent retention, strategic decision-making, and the cultivation of a growth mindset.