Welcome to ISPI’s Organizational Spotlight! This column focuses on our members–some you may know, some you may not. Each month, we will explore what brought them to ISPI, how they use the principles of human performance technology (HPT), and their insights into the value of membership. This month our interview is with Ray Reid, CPT, VectorCSP. He serves as a Senior Analyst with the HPT branch and as a Training Manager with the Operational Directors and Project Managers to assess and identify competency requirements and provide recommendations for continual staff and professional development.

VectorCSP is a small business that provides Federal agencies with holistic performance improvement and modernization solutions including: Fleet Logistics Support, Organizational Change Management, Systems Engineering and Analysis, and Human Performance Technology. Recognized by INC. Magazine as one of the fastest growing small businesses in America four years in a row, Vector’s success stems from Human Performance Technology as a vital element of all technical solutions.

Does VectorCSP work locally? Nationally? Internationally? Globally? How does your organization approach HPT in each of these landscapes? Is it different? How so?

VectorCSP offers three core services to Federal government clients: Fleet Logistics Support, Organizational Change Management, and Human Performance Technology. As a Federal services provider, we work nationally, and in recent months had employees engaged in training and mentoring military and civilian personnel in 26 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

We incorporate HPT processes, procedures, and principles into all of our contracts. This systematic approach guides us to provide real value in “start with the end target/final goal or objective that needs to be met” and then to work backwards focusing on the human accomplishments required and the types of performance solutions needed to meet the end goal(s).

How does VectorCSP adapt to performance improvement needs for today’s variety of generational workforces?

VectorCSP adheres to the core principles of HPT, and we adapt the human interfaces of our products and services to address the strengths and weaknesses of the target audience. For example, we were recently tasked to create maintenance job aids for mechanics in the United States Coast Guard. These job aids were traditionally paper-based, but after a survey of the target market we developed a method for delivering the maintenance procedures via the Sony Playstation Portable handheld gaming system. The average 19-year-old mechanic has had hundreds of hours experience with the device, and the feedback from the user population was overwhelmingly positive.

How do you use social media in your work? As a resource? As a solution?

We have been watching the social media phenomenon with great interest and continue to do so. Obviously, the use of social media can result in significant behavior change(s) within the user community. One example that comes to mind is a website called Fred’s Place, which provides Coast Guardsmen the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas, and techniques. Fred’s Place is not an “official” site, but appears to be the most effective repository of Coast Guard institutional knowledge. By utilizing social media outlets such as LinkedIn, our staff stays appraised of developments in areas of their expertise, along with learning about upcoming events, sharing best practices, and expanding professional networks.

What is your favorite CPT-HPT story?

In 2007, the Coast Guard began to update their communication sites. The project was named “Rescue 21” and provided Coast Guard Watchstanders with upgraded tools and the technology needed to protect America’s waterways. One of the most significant improvements was R21’s ability to accurately identify the location of callers in distress, reducing search times, saving lives, and property in all navigable waters. VectorCSP was awarded the contract to conduct a Job Task Analysis and a Workforce Analysis. The contract deliverables were to identify performance GAPs, recommend ways to close them, and provide optimal Watchstander staffing levels to support the R21 Command Centers. VectorCSP used HPT methodologies, tools, and standards to perform the analysis and complete the workload study. Project results included: recommendations for standard configuration in management of tools, equipment, job aids and policies; a new Watchstander qualification guide with R21 job tasks; and added an additional 168 new USCG billets which were distributed around the country at Rescue 21 sites to fill critical performance gaps.

What excites you about ISPI’s work?

ISPI is recognized as a world leader in the human performance technology arena. Through our organizational membership, our employees have the  opportunity to build relationships and access experts in the field of human performance. This commitment demonstrates VectorCSP’s seriousness about HPT and the continuing professional staff development. As the Training Manager and a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT), “I personally enjoy being a member of such a large HPT team across the country.”

What types of learning/performance improvement opportunities does VectorCSP offer its employees? Its clients?

We offer a multitude of learning and performance improvement opportunities to our employees, our clients, and our community. As Training Manager, my responsibilities include managing the competencies of our employee workforce, and working with the project managers to build development plans for employees. VectorCSP offers “Brown-bag lunch” training sessions (staff members volunteer to provide short hands-on performance-based training sessions to small groups). Our employees are encouraged to utilize our tuition reimbursement plans. VectorCSP also has company-funded programs such as Project Management Professional (PMP) and CPT to obtain competencies and certificates. We also partner with regional universities, host seminars, and workshops.

How has VectorCSP’s approach(es) to performance improvement changed over time?

VectorCSP continues to adhere to the guiding principles of HPT. However, as tools and delivery techniques for learning and performance improvement change, we continue to leverage what we see as the cutting edge and bring better solutions to the market. We strive to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. An example is HELP (Handheld Electronic Professional), an innovative performance support solution based on handheld tablet devices. HELP is designed to offer SCORM compliant training and job aids to field service technicians and mechanics operating in a disconnected environment. The performer has access to the latest materials even when deployed away from WiFi or cellular coverage. His interactions with the device are automatically synchronized when reconnected to the Internet (or secure Intranet). Our application of HPT principles at the Federal enterprise level is highly valued by our government clients.

What has your company learned from the recent economic slowdown?

It is important to maintain a high-level of competencies in our business focus areas, and use those competencies to develop solutions that help our clients get through these difficult times. All areas of business are impacted when the economy takes a hit, including the Federal market. We have used the slowdown as an opportunity to identify areas within the company where we build new, or strengthen existing competencies. Two examples are:

  • Designed and developed an innovative marketing campaign that is a “one-stop shop”
  • Developed an end-to-end performance improvement solution that will strengthen our ability to develop and deliver detailed work breakdown structures to meet our clients’ needs

Each of these initiatives (as well as many others) are based on the central idea that there is always the opportunity to improve.

What interesting things does VectorCSP do to manage and develop its human capital?

As the Training Manager, I work with the operational directors and project managers to track staff competencies and constantly monitor the internal needs of the organization in order to meet the demands of our contracts. We accomplish this using a competency database and a unique internally-developed model “Buy, Build, or Borrow” that guides management to analyze the competency needs with the following options: 1) hire someone with the required competencies; 2) build the new competencies using existing staff; and 3) borrow someone with the competencies using a partner or sub-contractor.

How does human performance technology add value to VectorCSP? How do you measure its worth and value?

HPT is critically important to VectorCSP. It is both a revenue-generating business line and a systematic approach we use to improve our own organic performance improvement within the company. We measure its success in several ways. Most importantly, its impact on the bottom line, our revenue, and the continuous development of staff competencies. By leveraging HPT internally, we have a workforce that produces high-quality deliverables to our clients, which results in repeatable and expanded business.