For Ryan Clements, Genscape’s formalized training program was key to his development and success as a Power Market Analyst.
Clements was the first of three analysts hired by Genscape, straight out of college, who were recruited for the Commodity Analyst Program. Now in his second year of the program, Clements says it has been an invaluable experience.
“Initially, the group met twice a week to learn about how the company is structured, what the industry looks like, and about market fundamentals. We were able to see how the electric industry has evolved and where it’s headed,” he said. During training sessions, outside experts are called in to give their perspective and former Genscape Analysts often come back to talk about what they’re doing now.
Clements says that although the formal presentations have ended for his group, he and the other two employees still meet once a month to talk about the projects they’re working on. “This lets us share our knowledge and our challenges with each other and make use of cross-team collaboration.”
Brian McIntosh, Product Manager of the Power Market Analytics group at Genscape, was one of the architects of the Commodity Analyst training program, along with Human Resources. McIntosh manages a group of about 40 Analysts and Meteorologists that look at the power market.
The team is typically made up of new graduates and people who are fairly early in their analytic careers.
“We wanted to find ways to help our new hires develop their skills and get really good feedback in a way that helps them advance their careers.”
As Clements said, the first year of the program covers market fundamentals and understanding each market, which can be really complex. Then, McIntosh says, “The second year, after they’ve gained an understanding of how the markets work and the way we do business, we ask if there’s a match? What can we do to make your job here better?”
This might mean that an employee suggests that he or she wants to pursue a Master’s degree, Genscape will help him or her determine what the right program might be. He or she may decide he or she wants to be a trader at a renewable development firm. “In that case, we’ll help pair him or her up with the right opportunity. We understand that this is all part of the process, of career growth,” McIntosh says.
Either way, the company is dedicated to helping employees achieve their goals.
Who makes a good candidate for the program?
McIntosh says that he looks for people who are intellectually curious. “I like people who ask ‘Why? What tools do we have?, and What ways can we improve the process?’”
Occasionally, at the conclusion of the program, an individual might leave Genscape to move deeper into the industry. This program, along with their day to day responsibilities, make these employees extremely attractive to the market.
McIntosh says “In a perfect world, our employees would stay with us for 10 plus years. But if someone decides to leave, we’re going to help them do it in a way that advances their career by having given them consistent feedback and structured goals.”
Formal training in Genscape’s Louisville office
Tabitha Foree is the Technical Support Manager for Genscape’s Locus Energy product. She said that she started planning a training program a little over a year ago.
“We were having issues with employee performance, employee turnover, and customer expectations. We knew that in order to better serve our customers and facilitate employee development, we needed to begin a formal employee development program.”
Foree helped create what they call an Employee Training Curriculum, a structured four-week learning process that begins with quizzes that help gauge where employees are in their development. “Then we begin the training process, which helps the people on our support team become more confident before they even start answering customer calls,” she said.
These employees are given timelines to achieve specific goals before they move on to the next. “This way, they always know where they are in the skills development process.”
“Based on that training, we create documentation and decision trees that staff can use as reference sources for software and hardware calls,” Foree said. “It makes for a more uniform experience for our customer. The better our support team is, the happier our customers are.”
In fact, Foree says, her group hears from sales all the time about how much happier the customers are with their tech support. “We’ve also seen an increase in job satisfaction and morale. People are just more motivated.”
Genscape doesn’t leave employee development to chance. They want to develop leaders and launch careers. Their formalized training programs make that process more organized, developing better employees, improving morale, and increasing customer satisfaction in the process.
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