Customers We Love: Garrett Messer, ZirMed

This post is the first in our Customers We Love series, a chance for us to turn the pen over to some of the amazing people we have the pleasure of working with everyday. Meet Garrett Messer. Garrett is HR Manager of Organizational Learning & Development at ZirMed, Inc. In his 8 years at ZirMed, he has been in Operations, IT, and Human Resources roles. In his current role, he manages employee orientations and other company-wide training initiatives. Take it away, Garrett!

The Learning & Development Industry: how is it evolving?

As an HR professional in charge of learning and development at a leading cloud-based software company serving the healthcare industry, I’ve seen L&D embrace a variety of new and evolving trends, including:

Continual Learning

When products stayed the same, there was minimal need to train and retrain. That’s still true of some products, which is why we only have to take the driving test once. If cars were suddenly able to fly, every driver would have to be retrained.

However, as technology and business practices continue to change faster and faster, our knowledge and skills need constant updating. Those who stay current get to keep their jobs. I always tell new employees that people can become out of date just like software, which is why they need to invest in themselves through continual learning.

Self-Directed Learning

Some managers will point you to education to make you a better worker in your current role, but far fewer managers will point you to education that will help you excel in your career. I say, “Don’t let your job description be your eulogy!” Take control of your learning.

Dan Pink does a nice job explaining how we can motivate people in the workplace and beyond. Find your purpose and take on the effort yourself. Know the end goal and learn at your own pace—even if it’s faster than everyone around you.

Searching for Learning

How and where do you go to learn—your company’s LMS? A brick-and-mortar or online college? A MOOC (massive open online course) ? A pay site? And once you get there, which courses and resources will you choose?

As learning opportunities increase, so does the challenge of navigating them. We all need information to help us make those decisions, and we want feedback from our peers on the quality of the education.

Community Learning

Sharing educational information reduces effort and formality. We want others to tell us whether the material we’re considering is good or bad—and why. We feel more comfortable when we can consult stars, ratings, and reviews so we can make faster, more confident decisions.

We also want to share what we learn with others. Communities of learning empower us to interact and discuss the things that interest us—check out John Green’s TedTalk about his experiences with them.

What’s Next?

Education will continue to become more personalized and customizable. Portability and availability will increase. And you’ll have even fewer reasons to wait for your boss or HR department to tell you what to learn.


-- Garrett Messer


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