“Supervisor Ready” Combines Collaborative Content with Digital Education Platforms

Case Study - Human Capital - Human Experience - Recruiting, Staffing and Retention - Stakeholder Engagement - Workforce Planning and Transformation

“Supervisor Ready” Combines Collaborative Content with Digital Education Platforms

Posted on 12.16.22

Training hundreds of employees requires experience and a technological solution.

In addition to VHA, VA includes the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and National Cemetery Administration (NCA). Each of these administrations is essential to providing care, services and benefits to Veterans and their families. VA needs highly skilled and talented leaders to fulfill its mission. These leaders must be able to manage diverse teams of employees and ensure continuity of services and benefits to Veterans across the globe.

Previously, VA offered the Virtual Aspiring Supervisors Program (VASP) to employees across all three administrations. VA later narrowed its focus to facilitating leadership development in clinical health care supervisor settings and transformed VASP into Supervisor Ready (SR), a career development program specifically for VHA employees.

Developing a specialized leadership training program for hundreds of students presented a number of challenges. In addition to new content, VHA needed an optimized platform through which to host the content and a place for faculty and students to interact, as well as to provide data on student performance. VHA asked Aptive to provide a solution.


VHA Supervisor Ready Program: Custom Tech, Custom Curriculum

Aptive experts have experience creating custom technology-enabled solutions for government challenges. With years of management, leadership and teaching experience, Aptive professionals are qualified to deliver the Supervisor Ready course.

New coursework

Any coursework developed for Supervisor Ready needed to align with and complement the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) leadership competency model and the VA leadership development framework for front-line supervisors. Aptive worked with VHA to develop coursework page by page, facilitated by an online platform that improved accountability and communication between faculty and students.

The coursework consists of weekly content that guides students through a 12-week program, where they learn about 12 VHA leadership competencies and requirements topics. VHA offers the program twice a year to groups of 200 students, developing 400 future VHA leaders annually.

Revised content for students and instructors

The new curriculum includes real-world examples that make the content come alive for students. Each of the 12 lessons includes a slide deck and lesson plan. Three guidebooks accompany individual lesson plans, which Aptive revised with content to reflect new, streamlined operations created by Aptive and VHA with extensive input from a diverse group of VA stakeholders. The guidebooks reflect multiple facets of a shared vision for Supervisor Ready.

In 2021, VHA delivered 480 virtual trainings, six webinars and a VHA leadership panel to VHA’s classes of aspiring leaders nationwide. Course leaders were available to students outside class to facilitate their learning experience and ensure their success.

A cohesive educational experience

Creating a user-friendly learning experience was a high priority for VHA. To achieve this goal, VHA and Aptive implemented technology-based solutions to ensure each student could enjoy a seamless interface.

The team created an online portal through which students attend class and access all course materials and information. In addition, supervisors-in-training can access educational resources, meetings and a collaborative space for peer discussion and feedback. VHA can collect data and conduct student surveys to continually improve the program. Aptive provides additional program information through weekly updates and reports after each educational module is completed. This convenient and effective program platform provides a one-stop-shop for all student, faculty and VHA needs. In addition, automating a significant amount of administrative work resulted in cost savings for VHA.

From custom coursework with essential information for aspiring supervisors to an innovative digital platform for student and faculty engagement and interaction, VHA’s new Supervisor Ready program helps develop VHA’s next class of competent leaders.


VHA’s innovative Supervisor Ready program prepared 600 participants for leadership roles in the first 18 months of the program

VHA and Aptive worked behind the scenes to deliver this training program without any setbacks. Every project phase required consistent communication, continual feedback and proactive modification.

Intensive planning and delivery paid off for VHA’s Supervisor Ready program. In the first year alone, 97% of participants remained active with the program and an equal number provided their valuable feedback on course modules. Was the course content successfully preparing students for VA leadership roles? Over 80% of participants reported the program increased their knowledge in each of VA’s competencies:

  • Technical credibility
  • Accountability
  • Political savvy
  • Strategic thinking
  • Decisiveness
  • Resilience

In addition, 99% of participants indicated the program administration and faculty provided the support they needed. Since its inception, three classes of 200 participants have gone through Supervisor Ready. Of these 600 participants, over 90% graduated with the knowledge they needed to advance their careers. The program also taught some participants they would prefer to serve as individual contributors, rather than in leadership positions. For all participants, connecting personally with faculty and other participants and gaining a better understanding of their options and roles within VHA increased employee retention.