A safari is often characterized as an expedition, a time to explore, a time to observe. And while the word “safari” often conjures up images of wildlife in Africa, it refers to something different at Anaconda; here, the Safari program is a new part of our career development program.
Anaconda doesn’t view the learning and development (L&D) function as solely an HR practice, but rather as a collective commitment shared among all departments and leaders. In fact, this year Anaconda also launched an HR-led training captains group, through which representatives from all departments can discuss L&D challenges and opportunities.
The Safari program was born from a larger career mapping program at Anaconda, in which individual contributor and management advancement tracks are laid out by role, along with the skills and competencies required to progress to higher levels. This program was rolled out years ago, but interdepartmental mobility was missing. Now, the Safari program allows an employee to “try on” a different role without diving in headfirst and leaving their current position. It allows the employee to experience “a day in the life” of a different role and begin developing that muscle should they choose to transition permanently. The “test period” is typically three months, and the key ingredients for success are communication and tight alignment among the “home” manager, the “away” manager, and the employee.
“We’ve seen this kind of transition where an employee was hired to fill a certain role then veers down a different path,” says Jessica Reeves, SVP of Operations and head of HR. “But it’s important to have a more structured framework around what that transition looks like, to offer folks the opportunity and the psychological safety to try new things professionally.”
One Anaconda employee who successfully transitioned from support engineer to software engineer via the Safari program says, “I originally joined our enterprise support team with the intention of moving from IT support into software engineering. As I wrap up my time in the Safari program, I’m happy to say I was successful in achieving my goal with the support of our management and leadership.”
Anaconda’s Safari program is expected to continue to benefit both individual employees and the company at large, and we can’t wait to see how it evolves. To learn more about life at Anaconda and apply for an open role, visit anaconda.com/careers.