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Guest Post: How MBS Direct used Digital Badges to Engage and Educate our Employees

How MBS Direct used Digital Badges to Engage and Educate our Employees

MBS Staff

In any industry, professional development is crucial to the long-term success of a company’s employees. New employee training is an excellent foundation, but education shouldn’t stop there; continued development has a positive effect not just on an individual level, but company-wide. If your employees are growing and improving, the company should be doing the same.

At MBS Direct, a provider of digital and print educational resources, one challenge is to stay current with a constantly evolving industry. Employees need to stay up to speed on new products and services. There is always something new to learn, and in order to grow alongside the industry, everybody needs to keep up and remain on the same page.

That line of thinking is what led to the MBS Direct digital badging program, headed by Senior Digital Consultant Carrie Watkins. The program allows MBS Direct Client Services employees to earn digital badges – which they can display at their desks, on their desktops, on their LinkedIn pages and in an email to a colleague or customer – by completing quizzes and courses that pertain to specific aspects of their jobs. Complete enough of these tasks, and employees complete a level – something employees are encouraged to do once a year.

“MBS Direct has a good training program but we didn’t have a great way of continued development. We wanted to make sure everyone could stay on top of all their responsibilities,” said Watkins. “The industry is always changing, and we want our employees to be able to talk intelligently about what’s happening in the education industry.”

Watkins puts these courses and quizzes together with help from her co-workers. The tasks are designed to be increasingly difficult as employees progress and work their way up the badging ladder. Level 1, for instance, starts off with things employees typically do on a regular basis, while Level 5 features more challenging tasks like client presentations and webinars.

That final level remains a few years off with MBS Direct taking things one year at a time, but steady progress is being made. “The bulk of account managers are somewhere in Level 2. We have about a dozen that have completed that level,” Watkins said.

An example of an activity eligible for recognition within the badging program is what we are calling “The More You Know” presentations that occur once a month. These talks give client services employees an opportunity not just to share something about themselves, but to get more comfortable with public speaking.

“Most of what our team does is on the phone, so this is a good opportunity for them to develop public speaking skills,” Watkins said. “It’s been great to see them talk about things they’re passionate about. So far, we’ve had talks from a person who raises chickens, another person who tests games for game companies. We even had an eagle scout teach us about survival skills.” Successfully completing the presentation earns an employee a Presentation badge."

Much like the educational resources industry itself, the badging and professional development programs in MBS Direct are constantly evolving.

“We always look at it and try to add new things,” Watkins said. “There are certain things we’ve realized schools are really talking about that we wanted to add.”

Though it can add to an already busy workload, the end goal of a better, more well-rounded workforce seems well worth it. With our digital badging program, MBS Direct is well on its way towards accomplishing that goal.