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Workforce Development Toolkit - Talent development

Talent development

WSDOT strives to provide a culture of learning. We understand that talent development and training helps employees grow and improve their skills and knowledge to better perform and advance in their roles. As top talent becomes more competitive, employee training and development are more important than ever to increase employee loyalty, engagement, and retention.

We recognize that our employees have unique skill sets, career objectives and career paths. There is no set recipe for professional development. We encourage supervisors to collaborate with our employees to document strategies, specifically utilizing available tools such as The Learning Center, Skill Soft and Performance Management System to support our staff's growth and development.

Resources to Work Productively During COVID-19

WSDOT Workforce Development has online resources available to ensure our workforce has access to learning opportunities, and tools to work productively during this unprecedented time of teleworking during COVID-19.

Below is information on how to access learning remotely (via personal and work devices), tips on teleworking, and ways to stay resilient. We will continue to expand the list, so be sure to check out the website frequently!

Professional development Technical training Telework resources and wellbeing Workplace Culture and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

WA-State Learning Center

The Washington State Learning Center is WSDOT's web-based training software, offered to all WSDOT employees, that tracks, records and facilitates individual employee development. It enables the agency to capture, create, manage, and share knowledge to accelerate critical training processes and drive organizational performance. You can access the system from the MyTools dashboard. Be sure to also check out our toolkits in the Library to help you get familiar with the system:

WSDOT Learning Center Toolkits:

If you have questions or concerns regarding this system, please email the Training Development Unit.

Mandatory Training

All new employees will gain access to the Learning Center approximately one week after their start date and are required to complete mandatory training within 30-60 days of course assignment. All trainings are available in the Learning Center.

All new supervisors are required to take the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) Leading Others class within the 6 months of becoming a supervisor. This class is 24 hours of instruction and is provided by DES trainers. The fee is $500. If you or one of your staff is interested attending, please e-mail with your request. You will need supervisory approval and charge codes to complete the registration process.

Additionally, if you are interested in other developmental training offered by DES, please e-mail with your request. You will need supervisory approval and charge codes to complete the registration process. To find out what courses are available, refer to the following website:

If you have questions, please contact Training and Development at

Leadership development

Part of what makes a career here at WSDOT so rewarding is our shared drive to continuously improve our organization and ourselves. WSDOT's new 5-track leadership development program. It is part of the WSDOT Learn Skillsoft program. This exciting opportunity allows all WSDOT employees - regardless of level or position - to develop leadership qualities to improve internal communication, cooperation and workflow while empowering an individual's professional development.

Learn Forward

Each journey begins with the new Leading Self learning track. This 4-phase self-guided program is designed to increase self-awareness and give you valuable skills to foster teamwork and collaboration, build relationships and communicate more effectively.

Over the coming year, four additional learning tracks will be added, including Leading Others, Leading Teams, Leading Organizations and Executive Onboarding. We hope everyone will be inspired by opportunities to expand individual and combined knowledge, helping WSDOT continuously grow and remain effective in its service to the public.

Learn Forward with Leading Self and WSDOT's full leadership training program at WSDOT Learn.

Other supervisory skills/leadership training

The agency also offers the following supervisory skills/leadership training outside of SkillSoft. If you're interested in any of the trainings below, please contact your local Human Resource Consultant, or Training and Development at

Below is an overview of each training:


Leading at the Speed of Trust
Leading at the Speed of Trust is a highly interactive workshop that engages leaders at all levels in the real work of identifying and closing the trust gaps that exist in your organization. Doing business at the "speed of trust" dramatically lowers costs, speeds up results, and increases profits and influence.


California Psychological Inventory - CPI 260
The CPI 260 personality assessment provides a distinctive view of people applying for or incumbent in leadership positions in organizations. Using a sophisticated technique to extract detailed insights about someone's personality, it is able to summarize and explain how other people would see that person, and how others would judge their leadership style. In this way, it provides a unique view of leadership ability and potential that cannot be accessed by most other personality assessments.


Four Lenses
There are as many different ideas and theories about human interaction as there are people. The Four Lenses is one approach. It is one of the most valuable things a person can ever learn to look with understanding into the heart of another. This training is specifically designed for that purpose. This training has strengthened marriages, opened the lines of communication between children and parents, reduced personal misunderstandings, and generally helped individuals communicate with others in a way that fosters mutual understanding and acceptance. Used properly, the principles you will discover in this workshop will empower you to improve aspects of every personal relationship in your life.


Leading Others
Leading Others is required for all new supervisors. This course fulfills Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 357-34-055 that requires new supervisors to attend management training within their first six months of assignment. You will learn tips, tools and techniques that you can use immediately. The Leading Others course focuses on the mindset, interpersonal skills, and technical knowledge it takes to successfully lead others in the public sector. Leading Others combines self-reflection, e-Learning, classroom instruction, cohort and small group work, and experiential learning. In this course we will explore how to motivate staff, manage risk, and develop effective teams to meet your organization's objectives. A person will learn to communicate better, manage conflict, and help those he/she supervises to navigate change effectively.

Continuous Improvement

The Continuous Improvement Office provides a diverse range of services encompassing various Lean Six Sigma skills and concepts. These services include change management, project management, facilitation, team building, and custom trainings. If you have questions, ideas for improvement projects, or training needs, please contact us at

Learning opportunities

The Continuous Improvement Office offers core classes on a regular basis through the Learning Center. Additional custom classes are available by request.


WSDOT Lean: Part 1 - Lean Basics
We will introduce you to Lean. Includes an overview of how the primary concepts and strategies of Lean work with human nature to produce better results and more satisfied customers.


WSDOT Lean: Part 2 - 8 Wastes: Work smarter, not harder 
You will learn about the 8 deadly wastes…the things that corrupt our processes, steal our time, and degrade the value of the work we produce.


WSDOT Lean: Part 3 - Daily Lean Practices
You will learn about multiple Lean tools and concepts that can help you remove waste from your work and find more time in your day.


WSDOT Lean: Part 4 - Structured Process Improvement
You will learn about DMAIC, which stands for Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control. This is a staple strategy used by organizations around the world to solve problems and systematically improve their processes.


WSDOT Lean: Part 5 - Change Management
You will learn the basics of organizational change management. The course discusses the emotions involved in change, the structure of the individual change process, and how you can help people through the process of change.

Additional learning materials and resources can be found in the WSDOT Continuous Improvement Library of Topics, located in the Learning Center.

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Program

About Lean Six Sigma

Lean Six Sigma is a customer-focused and data-driven approach to continuous improvement. It focuses on improving the value provided to customers by systematically removing waste in processes. It is used by organizations worldwide to meet the needs of their customers effectively and efficiently. WSDOT uses Lean Six Sigma tools and methods for everything from cross-divisional projects to daily tasks.

Certification Overview

This is a 40-hour certification program that covers foundational Lean Six Sigma concepts and practices. Participants learn strategies to streamline processes, reduce waste, and improve efficiency as well as develop their analytical, facilitation, and project management capabilities. Each participant will obtain a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification with successful completion of the program.

Certification Requirements

To receive the certification, participants must:

Upon certification, Green Belts will be able to:

Course offerings

For more information or to be added to the program's waitlist, please contact us at

Community of Practice

Join us for our monthly Community of Practice meetings! Our meetings are held the second Thursday of every month from 8:30-9:30am and will include expert guest speakers, open forums and discussions, and collaborative project and resource sharing. If you want to be included in these gatherings, please email

Unable to join us for our monthly meetings, but want in on some great resources? Join our Microsoft Teams page. Here you will find articles, presentations, reference materials, Lean Six Sigma tools, and recorded training sessions.


WSDOT Learn, powered through Skillsoft, is a system that provides e-learning opportunities and online training that can be used at a desk or any mobile device, either at work or home, all free of charge.

With an extensive collection of online books (over 35,000 titles), courses and resources, this web-based system gives employees access to training and learning 24/7. Create a learning plan to guide yourself through career development, certifications or other learning opportunities including our new Learn Forward development program.

Download the mobile app for easy access to courses, reading and audio books on the go.

Take a look at what WSDOT Learn has to offer!

Tuition reimbursement

Tuition reimbursement is for employees who successfully complete training conducted outside of work hours directly related to their current job or department career ladder. Reimbursement is limited to tuition. The cost of books, supplies, parking and other expenses are not reimbursable. Employees may be reimbursed up to $4,000 per fiscal year. Chapter 14 (PDF 205KB) Training of the Human Resources Desk Manual has more information about Tuition reimbursement. A summary is provided below.


  • An employee shall be in permanent or permanent project status at time of payment. The HR Director or designee for employees participating in the WSDOT Apprenticeship program may waive this requirement.
  • An employee may not receive reimbursement funds that exceed the total tuition for any course.


  • Employees must satisfactorily complete the course in order to receive Tuition reimbursement. The definition of a satisfactory completion is a "C" or better. For non-graded courses, the employee must receive a certificate of completion, a passing grade in a pass/fail course, or credit for the course. A course eligible for reimbursement will obtain a grade.
  • Reimbursement is limited to courses that directly relate to the employee's current job or career development within the agency. Degree requirements that do not meet this criterion do not qualify for reimbursement.

Alvina Mao - Workforce Development Manager, 360-705-7059

An accredited college, university, vocational school, or technical college is eligible for reimbursement. The Staff Development Branch may approve courses offered by other professional training organizations.


Professional certification & licensing refresher courses

Refresher courses are intended to prepare employees for Department of Licensing administered professional licensing and certification examinations. Examples include Engineer in Training, Professional Engineer, Licensed Landscape Architect and Licensed Land Surveyor.

For Tuition reimbursement, employees must follow the Tuition reimbursement application process outlined above. The employee must take the licensing examination the first time offered after completion of a refresher course in order to qualify for Tuition reimbursement. Evidence that this has been accomplished must accompany the request for reimbursement.

Tax information

Learn more about Tuition reimbursement tax implications under "Other Tax Related Items" located near the bottom of the Taxable Fringe Benefits document provided by Accounting Services.

Performance management

Performance management is not simply a once-a-year evaluation. Good performance management is a continuous, positive collaboration between you and your employees all year round.

Most employees want to be successful contributors. They want to know what is expected of them and how they can most effectively achieve those expectations.

As a supervisor it is your job to:

  • Clearly communicate expectations
  • Provide employees with the tools, training, and information they need to succeed
  • Offer regular, timely, and constructive feedback
  • Be reasonable and fair when evaluating performance
  • Recognize successes and achievements
  • Address performance issues in a proactive and timely manner in order to resolve them before they become significant

Good performance management does not just help the employee. It can make your job a lot easier and help you build a high-functioning, productive team.

Other benefits of effective performance management include:

  • Motivated and engaged employees
  • Increased retention of good employees
  • Reduced costs related to recruiting and training new employees
  • Less time dealing with corrective action issues
  • Positive departmental reputation as a great place to work

New Employees

During an employee's first week on the job, set the individual up for success in this new role by:

  • Reviewing the job description and performance expectations with the employee
  • Explaining how the employee's work contributes to the agency and division goals
  • Designing a plan to help the employee acquire all necessary competencies
  • Explaining how and when you will provide performance feedback

Planning for the Upcoming Year

Now that you have evaluated and discussed the just-completed performance review period, it is time to look forward to the next year.

Designing an employee's goals should be a joint effort between you and the employee. Allow the employees a voice in their own performance management. Encourage them to advocate for their own professional growth.


Set Goals
Set goals with the employee – not for the employee. Employees who help set their own goals are more motivated to achieve them.


Document the employee's goals, including any needed training and professional development. Once completed, be sure the employee has a copy. Both you and the employee will want to refer to the document throughout the coming months.


Support Throughout the Year
A lot can happen in a year – for better or worse – so proactively supporting your employee in their goals can make all the difference in their work performance.


Stay connected
Meet with your employee regularly throughout the year, formally or informally, so that you can provide timely feedback about the employee's performance. These meetings can also be a great time to discuss any additional support or training the employee may need to accomplish their goals.


Encourage two-way dialogue with your staff. A clearly communicated open-door policy is good. Actively initiating conversations with your staff is even better.


Address performance issues early
Do not let performance issues linger. Addressing them immediately is the best way to prevent challenges from snowballing into problems, then into formal corrective action. Focus on being an effective coach so that you spend less time – or maybe no time at all – as a disciplinarian.


Revise goals
If an individual's goals change, be sure to document the changes and give the employee a copy of the revised goals. Throughout the year, keep notes on your employees' achievements and performance. This information will come in handy when it is time again for annual performance reviews.


At any time, you can boost employee engagement by recognizing the good work of your staff. Award recognition individually or collectively, formally or informally, publicly or privately. Recognition is most effective when it takes place on a regular basis and in a variety of different ways. It is also important that recognition activities be aligned with the culture of your unit or department.

Resources for Training Development and Organization (for non-WSDOT employees)

The agency now offers two new resources for trainers and subject matters experts providing training in technical areas.  If you’ve ever struggled knowing where to start when putting together a new training, transitioning what was once an in-person training into a virtual experience, or knowing whether or not your training was effective, these materials will help guide you through the process comprehensively.

Below is an overview of each resource. The Needs Assessment should be completed first, as the Training Workbook concepts build on it.

  1. Needs Assessment (PDF 1.2MB) – a list of 15 questions to help trainers get organized for training development. This is organized into three sections including: assessment, training, and tracking.
  2. Training Workbook (and videos) (PDF 4.1MB) – this expands on the 15 questions from the Needs Assessment by providing resources, examples, and videos for trainers to follow throughout the training development process. Any trainer, regardless of experience, should be able to use this process and develop a well-rounded product.