Domtar President and CEO John D. Williams often says our employees are our competitive advantage, and developing our talent is a top priority. As a modern manufacturer, we know that ongoing employee training and development is essential for us to continue to compete and succeed in our industry. My Knowledge Tree, our award-winning online learning platform, makes training more accessible to everyone in our organization.
“Everyone has the potential to get better at what they do, no matter what their job is — not only for their current role but even for the next step in their career,” says Sarah Waltman, senior director of talent management at Domtar.
My Knowledge Tree’s on-demand access has contributed to its popularity; 90 percent of Domtar employees have used the platform through their computer or mobile device. It offers a broad range of tools, such as courses, videos, books and job aids, many of which can be combined with in-classroom learning.
“People need to learn through different approaches,” Waltman says. “We favor blended learning, with resources that are available before and after a course to help prepare for the topic or reinforce it after a training session.”
Neal Aronowski, packaging and software deployment coordinator at our Kamloops Mill, appreciates the variety of training opportunities that the free program offers. “I’ve used My Knowledge Tree to advance my career and improve my technical and soft skills,” he says. “I believe if you’re not learning, you’re automatically going backward.”
Grow With My Knowledge Tree
While some My Knowledge Tree training, including safety and compliance, is mandatory, much of the content is optional, allowing employees to choose which topics they would like to explore.
All Domtar team members set individual development goals as part of our performance management process, and they are encouraged to identify one or two areas where they would like to grow professionally each year. In collaboration with their supervisor, they create a customized learning plan, which could include My Knowledge Tree training as well as conferences, mentorships or collaboration with another Domtar team.
My Knowledge Tree remains the backbone of our talent development and is frequently refreshed with new training modules on topics like communication, project management, information technology, marketing, operations management and leadership. Many courses lead to industry-recognized certification in human resources, project management, Six Sigma or IT, which is a major benefit for motivated professionals.
Waltman recently noted in an article for HR Tech Magazine that our Talent Management team has developed and expanded its award-winning learning management system over the past five years, in partnership with local site leaders and managers across the organization. She sees talent development as a win-win.
“Empowering our employees to excel is stated in Domtar’s mission,” she says. “It makes our company stronger. Plus, I think people are happier when they’re learning and growing.”