Monument Chemical is a fast-paced, production-based manufacturer of specialty chemical products. Supervisors and leaders within the organization stood to benefit from training, but the company couldn’t afford to stop production to meet training needs. UofL Professional Development delivered customized training that worked with Monument Chemical’s production schedule, allowing the company to reap the benefits of employee training without losing time or money.
Employee Development is a Capital Investment
When Human Resources Manager Jason Curry joined Monument Chemical, he knew employee training and development would be a priority.
“I see training as a capital investment. We invest in new buildings, equipment and process. Now we are investing in our people,” he said. “Your equipment and buildings devalue over time, but your employees’ value increases over time. Part of that is investing in educational opportunities. It contributes to long-term success for them as individuals and as employees.”
Monument Chemical’s team of supervisors and leaders had a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience. Many were new to their supervisory positions. “I felt that it would be a good to start with topics like time management and communication skills to give our team the opportunity to learn how to manage,” Curry explained.
“Your equipment and buildings devalue over time, but your employees’ value increases over time. Part of that is investing in educational opportunities. It contributes to long-term success for them as individuals and as employees.”
Finding Time for Training Without Halting Production
One of the biggest hurdles Jason faced in offering employee training was time. You’ve probably come in contact with one of Monument Chemical’s 200+ products, which can be found in everything from memory foam to cough syrups. With such varied and high-profile customers, Monument Chemical can’t afford to miss a step when it comes to production.
Monument Chemical had an existing relationship with the University of Louisville through a successful co-op program, so Jason turned to the university to look for management training opportunities that would fit within the company’s busy production schedule. He worked with the UofL Professional Development team to identify topics based on the needs of their employees. Together, they selected a customized Management Development certificate program.
“One of the benefits of our customized programming is the flexibility. We serve clients near and far, delivering our programs and services beyond local and state borders. In this case, we were able to schedule classes onsite in Brandenburg, KY to make the program accessible to all employees and encourage participation. We also scheduled two sessions of each class so that participants on shift work could attend without sacrificing time on the job,” explained Professional Development Director Robbie Chitwood.
“I liked the flexibility of the program - the scheduling and how it was set up. It was really favorable for our supervisors. They have a job to do here and this program allowed them to manage their schedules. It didn’t seem like training was a burden. It was something that they wanted to go to. I didn’t have to call and remind people.” Curry elaborated.
Employees appreciated the flexibility as well. “The scheduling worked out well. Because the classes were offered twice, and on location, the people on shift work could come,” added Quality Manager Kelly Farmer.
Management Development Gets Supervisors on the Same Wavelength
Over the course of eight months, 32 participants completed eight courses to earn their University of Louisville Management Development certificates. Course topics included how to work with difficult people, bridging generational gaps in the workplace, and setting SMART goals.
“My favorite course was Working with Difficult People. I discovered that I’m more of an assertive, driver mindset. The course helped me be a better listener,” Safety Tech Robbie Nash explained.
“The techniques can be applied universally,” Farmer added. “You can use the principles at work, coaching a little league team, or on a church board. You can use those principles anywhere.”
“This training really changed the way I communicate with other supervisors. I used to think nothing of calling the maintenance supervisor wanting something done quickly. Now I understand what they are going through and why things might be delayed.”
Both stakeholders and participants indicated that one of the best outcomes of the training was bringing together the group of supervisors who don’t often get to work with one another. “The team building was a big piece. They got to learn about people they don’t work with as much. It becomes a little more than just a working relationship. It helps us work better together, which makes our plan successful long term,” Curry said. “It has changed the way they think.”
Shipping Supervisor Darren Dowel elaborated, “This training really changed the way I communicate with other supervisors. I used to think nothing of calling the maintenance supervisor wanting something done quickly. Now I understand what they are going through and why things might be delayed.”
“It’s brought us all together to work better as a team to solve problems. Now we’re all thinking on the same wavelength,” Nash added.
Bridging Generational Gaps in the Workplace
Participants also learned to value the perspectives of the many generations represented at Monument Chemical. “I now understand Millennials better, which has helped me both at work and at home with my two daughters,” Farmer stated. “Understanding what is important to them and their generation has helped me bridge that gap. It helps me work better within the organization, from interns to engineers.”
“When you see someone else’s priorities it opens your eyes. And the instructors knew how to tap into that so they could tie our experience back into the topic.”
Dowel offered a different perspective. “Everybody that I supervise is a Baby Boomer. They’ve been around this place a lot longer than I have. I have to find techniques to speak with them so I don’t come across like I know their job better than they do. Now I’m working on gaining respect by working with them, not over them. We’re all here for the same reason – to make Monument Chemical a successful company.”
“That’s why I like the open dialogue of these courses,” Farmer added. “We were learning from each other. When you see someone else’s priorities it opens your eyes. And the instructors knew how to tap into that so they could tie our experience back into the topic.”
An Investment with Immediate and Long-term Returns
Aside from the skills learned during the program, participants are energized about the future of Monument Chemical and their roles in the organization. “I’ve got at least 30 years left in the industry,” Dowel explained. “Professional Development is one of the most important things on my list.”
“Trainings like this make me more valuable to the company. The more I learn and the more they teach me, the better I am going to be at what I do,” added Nash.
“They value the fact that we invested this training in each of them,” Curry said of the participants. “More than anything, they see that we view them as valuable members of this company.”
“Trainings like this make me more valuable to the company. The more I learn and the more they teach me, the better I am going to be at what I do.”
Treating training and development as a capital investment is a strategy that is already paying off for Monument Chemical. Farmer explained, “The program has made me a better change agent through communication and better application of SMART goals. Monument Chemical is in a transition period and growing. All of us are now in a position to help steer and guide that.”
Curry agreed, “We’re growing. These employees will be prepared to fill gaps as we grow.”
Are you concerned that training and development might interrupt your business?
Learn more about our customized programs that are designed to fit into your schedule without slowing your company down. Contact us online or call 502.852.4620.