Giving employees training, new skills helps boost their growth as leaders

As a company that focuses on the health of the human eye, OCuSOFT Inc. works hard to make sure its employees see ways to improve, understand their growth potential within the company and have leadership training to get where they want to go as a professional.

To make that happen, the Rosenberg, Texas-based company seeks training opportunities, finds creative ways to help people learn more about their jobs or other job-related skills and goes out of its way to promote from within, said Courtney Mason, director of marketing for OCuSOFT.

Learning more on your own so you can become better at work is a key component to job success, studies show. One Pew Research report found that “54% of U.S. adults in the labor force say that, in order to keep up with changes in the workplace, it will be essential for them to get training and develop new skills throughout their work life.”

The privately held company describes itself as a research, development and supply business that specializes in eye and skin care. Founders Nat G. Adkins Jr., the company’s chairman, and Cynthia Barratt, the president and CEO, founded the company some 33 years ago to come up with ways to help people suffering with ocular surface disease or other eye-related issues.

Today, the company is most recognized for its doctor-recommended brand of eyelid cleansers, OCuSOFT Lid Scrub, in addition to its standing as the preferred distributor of ophthalmic products and supplies by eye care professionals.

Big growth
The company’s growth since 1986 has been substantial. OCuSOFT started in an office complex with 350 square feet of space and currently has a 72,000-square-foot, 18-acre complex in Rosenberg. According to Barratt, OCuSOFT originally had representatives only out in the field. But about 20 years ago, it developed an inside sales force to meet and greet people the company couldn’t otherwise physically reach. As a result, of its more than 160 employees, about 40 are out in the field and 35 are inside sales customer service representatives.

The idea has always been to “lead from within,” Mason said, or to help its employees grow with the company so they could become managers and executives. That means taking on new skills, and that requires a lot of additional training.

To meet that goal, OCuSOFT relies on online training to help people gain that expertise so they can move up within the company’s ranks. If you’re interested in marketing or communications, for example, the company makes sure you also get training in graphic design, photography and video so you have a complement of skills right for those jobs.

The company’s HR team also gives employees access to websites such as Lynda, which has a wide array of courses and instructions on how to learn a new skill that may end up being a key part of receiving a new job within the organization.

“We want to help you achieve those skills because it’s beneficial to the individuals but also beneficial to the team,” Mason said.

In other words, OCuSOFT wants a staff that’s well-versed in the skills needed for the current job as well as future roles within the company, Mason added. Posting jobs internally with the skills needed gives current employees a chance to get up to speed and gain the skills they’ll need for those roles. Then, if they get the job, they receive the title and raises to match.

Open opportunities
“We’re always interested in giving people a chance,” Mason said. “Because (these current employees) are already part of our culture, the learning curve isn’t as steep and you can jump right in.”

That said, OCuSOFT also is open to bringing in new people as needed. That’s why its employees carry business cards that have the information about the business right on them and easy ways to contact its HR department.

So if you meet someone interesting or who might fit in great for the culture, “we always have cards to give people,” Mason said. “We have a friendly corporate culture despite being such a big company. We operate more like a family.”