Sr Learning & Development Specialist

  • Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • La Jolla, San Diego, CA, USA
  • Jul 29, 2020
Full time   Biology/Biotechnology/Life Sciences

Job Description

    • Posted: July 23, 2020
  • Full-Time
  • Salk Main Campus

    La Jolla, CA, USA
    Salk Main Campus

    La Jolla, CA, USA
    +0 more less

Job Details


Application Instructions:

Employment History Include your last ten (10) years of employment history, or length of your employment history if less, including all position (even those that are not relevant to this position) and periods of unemployment. Incomplete information could disqualify you from further consideration.


Responsible for the research, design, creation and delivery of onsite learning and development programs and initiatives.  Incumbent will focus first and until further notice on the most pressing training and development issues facing the Institute as prioritized by its executive leadership team and work them into the broader landscape and goals related to professional development.  

The completion of organizational needs assessments, development and delivery of a variety of organizational development programs including leadership development, skills training, succession planning and organizational change initiatives, compliance training, e-learning, and specialized training needs such as modules/programs that support equity and inclusion deliverables for the entire population and specific cohorts are all key components of this role.

In consultation with responsible leadership, determines what courses are more appropriate/cost-effective as outsourced modules and makes recommendations accordingly.  Manages learning and development program including required administration and logistics.


Content Development & Management (40%)

  • Works in partnership with the Human Resources (HR) team, the Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI), Institute leadership teams, the Postdoctoral Office (PDO), to implement organizational development programs, processes and training initiatives to proactively address organizational development and business needs, through a variety of delivery means (e.g., live, e-learning, self-paced, etc.) as appropriate for the audience/cohort.
  • Responsible for the conceptualization, design, development and execution of training courses in support of Salk learning/development and other strategic initiatives.
  • Works closely with the HR team on initiatives such as talent management, career development and succession planning.
  • Works closely with the OEI staff to recommend, develop and deploy learning opportunities that affirm the basic tenets of cultural advocacy and appreciation for all members of the campus and related inclusion efforts. Supports initiatives aimed to promote race relations, civility (e.g., bullying, professional conduct, bystander intervention, implicit bias, advocacy, and proactive conflict resolution).
  • Works closely with the OEI and HR staff to develop/facilitate career development modules for groups at Salk to recognize the critical role of their professional cohort (e.g., lab managers).
  • Works closely with the PDO staff to develop and deploy training that supports and promotes initiatives aimed advocacy, and proactive conflict resolution (e.g., peer-peer advocacy training) to strengthen their skills and resources and to foster career development.
  • Identifies and implements appropriate measurement systems to ensure learning objectives are being met.
  • Develops and/or identifies/evaluates appropriate vendors for content development and delivery to ensure compliance with Salk policies and legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Works on the development of content for staff mentoring programming and provides appropriate training to mentors and mentees, with a focus on engagement and value add for participants.

Training Facilitation (25%)

  • Delivers and facilitates training in a variety of formats, including classroom, online, role-playing, group discussion, and other methods depending upon specific needs.
  • Develops guides, handouts and other supporting course materials.
  • Works with departments and laboratories to ensure that training is appropriate, timely and effective.

Program Management (15%)

  • Provides development and logistical support in the assessment, planning, marketing and execution of approved and scheduled programming. Makes additional recommendations based on research of practices at other organizations that would serve to have high impact at Salk.
  • Ensures that the training module of the human capital management system (HCM) is used and maximized. Troubleshoots issues with the HCM Manager to ensure timely, accurate use of the system for registration, cancellation, attendance, tracking and reporting.
  • Ensures that the logistics are in place for all training pertaining to space, refreshments, equipment, etc.
  • Develops and maintains relationships with a variety of stakeholders on campus and provides training support to established groups that provide direction and support to the training function.
  • Drafts/edits/issues scopes of work for outside vendor relationships in collaboration with Procurement and other members of HR.
  • In consultation with others who may need access to centralized training funds, prepares training budget for supervisor review and approval. Monitors budget throughout the year.  Justifies any requests for non-budgeted needs during the fiscal year.
  • In coordination with the Communications Department, will propose and/or develop regular, timely, creative communications around training value strategically designed to drive engagement and interest in training and related internal initiatives.  Avenues include but are not limited to the HR/Training website, Salk this Week entries, all-campus emails, etc. 
  • Handles communication for the planning, advertising and execution of training to the target population before, during and after programs and using excellent judgment that demonstrates knowledge of the audience, appropriate branding, demeanor, timing, frequency and scope of communications to ensure engagement and return on Institute investment.
  • Ensures that post-training evaluations are conducted. Creates and uses metrics for return on investment.
  • Oversees, monitors and strengthens relationship with UCSD staff education.
  • Checks training email box regularly; triages and responds as appropriate.

 Research (10%)

  • Engages in research, memberships (ATD, CUPA-HR) and other means to keep abreast of best practices and continually assesses and realigns direction as appropriate for the benefit of constituents and the campus overall.
  • Looks for new and innovative learning techniques for traditional and non-traditional training and development for both onsite and remote associates.
  • Incumbent continually finds ways to develop relationships with outside vendors and demo outside training at no or low cost with potential vendors for Salk.
  • Uses and leverages social media as appropriate and in accordance with Salk policies and procedures to promote learning and development.
  • Conducts research and polling on best practices to help position Salk as an employer of choice overall with an emphasis on training as a benefit.  Makes recommendations about those which could have measurable impact at Salk.
  • Works on complex issues where analysis of situations or data requires an in-depth knowledge of functional area and related organizational objectives.

Interdepartmental Collaboration (10%)

  • Participates with members of management to establish strategic plans and objectives for learning and development.  Develops methods, techniques, and evaluation criteria for projects, programs, and people. Helps HR and supervisors connect learning & development initiatives to performance management and evaluation.
  • Using evaluations from participants, supervisors and colleagues, prepares and presents summary reports and recommendations for management that outline training results and impact.
  • Liaises with other training functions within Salk to ensure consistent training practices, materials and recordkeeping.



  • Bachelor’s degree in psychology, organizational development, human resources, communication, education or equivalent combination of education and applicable job experience.


  • Master’s degree in business, organization development, communication, or other relevant field.
  • MBTI Certified Practitioner 


  • 5-7 years of previous experience in the design and delivery of trainings with an emphasis on issues facing organizations today including diversity, civility, inclusion in addition to leadership development, compliance, etc.
  • A minimum of 5 years in a role working with a diverse employee population audience with multifaceted goals of reaching the targeted audience, successfully implementing new methods of training/development to a variety of audiences and the ability to recognize when communications could be designed to connect and engage all workplace stakeholders in furtherance of common goals.
  • Demonstrated experience designing and implementing learning and development programs.
  • Experience with current learning technologies and platforms; to include human capital and learning management systems.  UltiPro experience helpful.
  • Ability to work in fast paced, team focused environment and exhibit flexibility within changing environmental business needs.
  • Experience working effectively with subject matter experts (SMEs) across various functions and levels of an organization.
  • Prior experience with needs assessment, evaluation development, results analysis, expectations management and outcomes implementation.
  • Prior experience in functional areas of Human Resources other than training helpful.


  • Knowledge of instructional design and facilitation best practices.
  • Knowledge of a wide array of diverse adult learning styles.
  • Styles inventory or communications certification helpful (MBTI, DiSC, Thomas Kilmann, etc.)
  • Able to make recommendations and offer alternatives when training is not a preferred solution for a performance gap.
  • Able to analyze cost/benefit of various learning approaches to determine the best solution to close the gap while managing timelines, budget and resources.
  • Strong analytic skills and metrics aptitude.  Organized program management skills.
  • Ability to work with confidential and sensitive information.
  • Proven leadership, team-building and mentoring skills, a proven track record of building, leading and working on teams.
  • Excellent communication skills, ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing, to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with persons inside and outside the business.  Strong public speaking skills.
  • Adept at facilitating communications and presenting information to small and large groups. Needs assessment knowledge.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective and cooperative working relationships with others regardless of title, rank or other factors which may present themselves as barriers.
  • Ability to independently formulate long-range objectives and manage varied programs and services. Excellent critical thinking and analytical skills. Strong communication and writing skills.
  • Working knowledge of and the ability to apply standard theories, principles, practices, and techniques applicable to the program and/or administrative specialty to develop conclusions and make recommendations.
  • Working knowledge of operational and fiscal analysis and techniques. Ability to take initiative and plan, organize, coordinate, and perform work in various situations where numerous, diverse, and time sensitive demands are involved.
  • Skilled in research methods and the synthesis of information.  Strength in the development and evaluation of policies and programs.  Ability to quickly read and synthesize voluminous information quickly and comprehensively and determine its applicability/usefulness to the relevant workplace.
  • Ability to collect, evaluate, and interpret data to develop sound conclusions and make appropriate recommendations. Expertise in investigating and analyzing problems with broad administrative impact and implications.
  • Ability to anticipate problems, address them proactively and creatively and develop appropriate recommendations leading to effective, sustainable solutions.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively interpret, organize, and present information and ideas in written or presentation form and use consultative and facilitation skills to gain consensus.
  • Skill in self-management, deadline adherence and appropriate follow up.
  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office products (PowerPoint, Word, Excel). 
  • Knowledge of and skill in use of e-learning platforms and how to leverage them for various audiences.
  • Excellent in building and maintaining relationships with internal clients/stakeholders and external vendors.


  •  Must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment.
  • Successful completion of the Institute’s background investigation.
  • Must be willing to work an adjusted schedule to support operational needs.
  • Must be willing to sing an employee confidentiality agreement.


This position requires constant adjusting focus, grasping, hearing, keying, seeing, sitting, talking, analyzing, calculating, communicating, reading, reasoning, writing and working inside.


Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities

The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor’s legal duty to furnish information. 41 CFR 60-1.35(c)

Application Details

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