Let’s face it, nothing is more important to people than their OWN success.
The development of our people is not something to ignore or leave to training departments. The responsibility is ours. We must make sure our people have the right knowledge, skills and attitudes to do their jobs and to do them well.
Development is not only about correcting weaknesses; it is about upgrading and taking people forward, not least to keep up with change.
We should tell our people that we:
- Recognize that their development is important
- Will help them gain experience and extend their skills
- And…create a visible system so to do
As the old saying goes you can either “have five years’ experience or one year’s experience multiplied by five”. People want the former. We are the means for them to achieve it.
Use the development cycle:
- Analyze the job (what is needed to do it)
- Analyse the person (their competencies)
- Look ahead, anticipate what new skills, etc. the job might necessitate in the future
- Define the gap – what must be done to create a good fit between the person and the job.
- Specify development activity, methods, budget and priorities.
- Implement action and monitor results
This is a rolling cycle. Keep clear records, make sure everyone is reviewed in this way and create a culture in which people value development and what it brings. Part of our job is helping people to learn.
Development is sufficiently important to people (as well as being important in its own right) for us to address the process and give out the right messages about it. We may, sensibly, not want to send everyone off on a course so we must consider other actions, asking:
- Should development be on the agenda for meetings?
- Can anything be done on-the-job? (In any case, a key part of the manager’s personal responsibility for development.)
- Can any on-going actions be instigated now? (A simple monthly lunchtime session, perhaps.)
Make no mistake, the culture of an organization in terms of its attitude to training and development is important to people. Their view of it is, in part, dependent on us.
We have to send the right signals.