Smithville Spotlight: Rusty S., Training Coordinator

A foundation for success is training and development, and Smithville is lucky to have an enthusiastic and dedicated Learning & Development Department. As Training Coordinator, Rusty Shields manages training initiatives and ensures employees have the adequate skills and knowledge to succeed. We followed him for a day to see his focus on growth and development. Before we got started for the day, we got to know Rusty better by asking some hard-hitting questions:

  • Hometown: Osceola, Arkansas
  • Favorite TV Show: Golden Girls
  • Favorite Movie: The Greatest Showman
  • Favorite Food: Steak
  • Best Part of Working at Smithville: Delivering world class products and service to the best customers a company could have!
  • Dream Vacation Destination: Ireland
  • Favorite Quote: “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” -James Dean

In addition to his role at Smithville Rusty serves as the VP of Communications for the Central Indiana Chapter of the Association for Talent Development. The organization offers development and networking opportunities for workplace learning, training, and talent development professionals in Central Indiana. On this day Rusty was busy helping with ATD-CIC’s annual Learning Summit in Indianapolis, where training professionals from across the state convene to share ideas and resources. Rusty hosted a breakout session called “Training with a Twist – Marketing Your Learning Program’s Value Throughout the Organization.” He offered many different strategies to market training programs to gain employee buy-in and participation. These included content marketing, personalization, engagement, and social media strategies. He also encouraged attendees to consider guerrilla marketing to grab employees’ attention and break through the noise and busyness of day to day work.

The most engaging part of the presentation was when Rusty had everyone work together as a team to develop marketing strategies for a new training initiative. This was a great opportunity to think outside the box on ways to market new training programs to capture employee attention and participation. Some interesting ideas included ice cream socials, lunches with leaders, and using technology like Google Glass to train new hires. At the end of the session all attendees left knowing the importance of marketing their training programs. If you can make it exciting and engaging, rather than just emailing that there’s an online training module to do, the results will be huge!

Rusty practices what he preaches, and uses a lot of videos to market new training initiatives. Smithville recently launched an employee development online training opportunity and Rusty sent out a sneak peek preview using an online video. This helped to create hype and interest, and has led to many employees registering for the personal development opportunities. He’s always monitoring trends to see what’s working in the training industry and adapting for the best results.

After his session was over he attended other sessions on creating intentional experiences and networked with vendors and attendees. This long day that started at 7AM finished up around 6PM and he left energized and ready to apply what he learned. Here’s to a great year of learning and development for the Smithville team!

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