Deciding where to invest organisational resources can be a daunting task for leadership teams. Eager to achieve observable growth and constrained by time, managers often become biased towards short to medium term solutions. Turning outwards, priorities tend to fall on initiatives aimed at reaching a wider audience, such as the ramping up of online marketing or increased sales campaigns. It’s not surprising that employee development tends to be overshadowed by these more tangible processes.
But employee development should be a serious contender. Now more than ever employees want to feel that their managers are committed to nurturing their personal and professional growth. Investing in effective recruitment to find the best people becomes uneconomical when the new hires move on after slow professional advancement. Thus, while employee development may seem like a long term initiative, short term benefits such as increased engagement, motivation and efficiency are often observed right away.
So what are the steps you can take to create employee development plans that actually work and give you return on investment?
1. Consider your organisation’s goals. Take time to think about the current and future needs of your business. Once you’ve identified the objectives, think about the types of approach, work behaviours and skills that you can nurture in your employees to complement your company goals – it’s a win win.
Investing time into developing your current employees can save you time and resources on recruiting and onboarding new people. Whilst simultaneously, making attractive career development opportunities will increase engagement and retention of top talent.
2. Listen to your employees. Talk with each member of the team so that you are fully aware of their goals, strengths and hesitations. Find out where they currently feel challenged at work and where they think they could benefit most from some development.
By including your employees from the start of the planning process, you will align their goals with yours to create mutually beneficial outcomes.
3. Review your development choices. It’s not one size fits all. Development interventions don’t need to be expensive and come in all shapes and sizes. Have a look around and find something that fits well with your business needs. Interventions can include: outsourced training from an industry professional, skills workshops, local networking groups, stretch assignments, e-learning and coaching and mentoring.
Discuss the options with your team and see what appeals to them.
4. Incorporate feedback and exploration discussions. The majority of individuals report that they would feel more confident in their role if they had more structured time with a line manager, mentor or more experienced colleague to help guide them as they grow in the organisation.
By factoring in time to ask the right questions and provide constructive feedback you remove the barriers between leadership teams and employees and consequently your employees will flourish. Important questions to ask include: is there anything holding you back from developing? Is there anything I can do to help your development? What skills do you need to work on to grow in the company? What do you think are the first steps towards creating a development plan? How do your work styles, preferences and motivations effect your development?
5. Remember to review. Once you have decided on the best route and implemented your plan, remember to ask for feedback from your employees on how they felt the training/coaching went. What aspects did they feel were the most useful? Is there anything missing? Are the resources in place to ensure your employees have the opportunity to use their new knowledge and skills?
By checking in regularly you can continually evolve your development process inline with the changing goals of your company and its people.
How can we help?
Our brand new Personal Feedback Report is the perfect tool to be handed directly over to your employees (or candidates) to improve self awareness and kick start their personal development plans. Available after the completion of an online personality questionnaire via our COAST platform, the report provides individuals will an in depth look at their personality at work, as well as advice about career options, development guidance, hints and tips for adapting styles and more.
The report is designed specifically to be used by the individual themselves, however it can be a great springboard for discussion during coaching or mentoring. The report provides a structured place to begin when thinking about self development, and incorporates a section for guided self reflection. More information can be found here, or tune in to our Friday webinar at 11am here.
Published by Issy Hunter