Director of Staff Training, Development & Engagement

John G Shedd Aquarium

Chicago, Illinois

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details Salaried
Deadline Sep 30, 2024
Required Experience 7+ years


The Director will focus on employee training, development, and engagement to build and implement programs and initiatives that advance the Aquarium’s culture and enhance the overall employee experience. Responsible for all aspects of Staff Learning & Development: assess needs, set learning strategy, identify resources and partners, coordinate programs, evaluate program effectiveness & develop and implement institutional professional development philosophy and plan. Cultivate engagement through internal communications, events, and activities that support a collaborative and motivated workforce. 

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. 

  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission, and values.   
  • Design and implement innovative and effective training programs and curricula that address skill gaps and promote continuous learning 
  • Meet with departments to identify training needs and provide guidance and expertise to develop appropriate training programs. 
  • Utilize a variety of training methodologies, techniques, and platforms (e.g., e-learning, workshops, seminars, and on-the-job training) to meet diverse learning needs 
  • Support the development of leadership & management programs to build capabilities and support staff growth 
  • Stay current with industry trends and best practices in training and development to ensure programs are effective 
  • Work closely with subject matter experts to ensure training and engagement content is accurate and relevant 
  • Cultivate engagement through internal communications, events, and activities that support a collaborative and motivated workforce 
  • Facilitate employee participation in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion related learning and development opportunities 
  • Ensure institutional needs are met through adequate training of volunteers and interns.  
  • Maintain appropriate professional associations and contacts 
  • Serve on appropriate institutional teams and external organizations

Management Responsibilities: 

  • Manage the development and implementation of programs including vendor selection, material development, and delivery of training and workshops focused on developing the aquarium staff & volunteers 
  • Manage the creation and implementation of employee engagement initiatives, including recognition programs, employee events & employee surveys 
  • Develop and manage mentoring and coaching programs to support employee growth 
  • Develop and track key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness of development and engagement programs 
  • Partner with leadership to facilitate employee engagement surveys including oversight of data collection, communication of results, and action planning for measured improvement 
  • Partner on recruitment and hiring development and DEAI training programs. 
  • Oversee the training and administration for performance management and support effective utilization of performance management systems 
  • Perform other duties as assigned. 


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and ability required.  

  • 7+ years of experience in employee development, engagement, training, or similar roles. 
  • Strong understanding of adult learning principles, instructional design and delivery, trends, and training evaluation methodologies 
  • Experience in LMS systems, project management, and instructional design 
  • Experience maintaining course curriculum and course analysis to help identify new curriculum and training programs. 
  • Experience creating and executing strategic plans for learning and professional development programs, feedback and performance review cycles, recruiting and hiring practices, and continuous DEAI training and awareness.  
  • Proven history of designing and implementing successful development and engagement programs 
  • Strong understanding of current best practices in employee development, performance management, employee engagement, DEAI practices, and recruitment and hiring processes. 
  • Excellent communication, and interpersonal skills 
  • Proficiency in HR and learning software, platforms, and tools 
  • Flexibility to work evenings and weekends in support of specific programs, events, and teams that work various shifts. 


We offer competitive compensation packages and opportunities for professional growth within our organization.

  • Medical Insurance
  • Vision and Dental Insurance
  • Accrued Paid Time Off
  • Paid Holidays
  • Life Insurance
  • Parental Leave
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Employee discounts

Reasonable Accommodations:

Shedd Aquarium is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If you need reasonable accommodations for any part of the employment process, please email us at humanresources@sheddaquarium.org.

We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.


Please apply directly through the job link - https://sheddaquarium.applicantstack.com/x/detail/a23xwy52d345

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Admin & Leadership
Tags Outreach, Aquarium