People are the most important assets in any business – FACT!
Even in the most hi-tec organisation, if you don’t have good, talented, well-trained, highly-motivated people setting the strategy, managing the processes, dealing with clients and pushing the buttons, you will fail. This is seems to be a ‘no-brainer’ conclusion, but it’s amazing how many business owners/managers still seem to ignore it – to the clear detriment of the performance of their organisations.
When you manage or lead a team, how well it performs depends significantly on how well you’ve trained and developed your people. Individuals will always need on-going training and development to help them become more effective, and take on bigger and more significant challenges. In addition to this, they will need help to learn new skills as the nature of their work – and of your business – changes.
Much too often, companies limit training and development to new hires, to people moving into new roles and to people who have been performing a particular role for a long period of time. One perfect example of this is when high performing frontline staff are promoted into leadership or management positions, without being given the necessary training in people management skills and techniques. The result is that the previous high performer becomes a low-performing manager, negatively affecting the performance of the whole team.
It is a serious mistake to overlook people development requirements in your organisation, because on-going training helps people adjust to changing job requirements. It also creates a pool of well-qualified and readily-available people, who are ready to step into new roles as your organization needs them. This process helps you develop a much more effective, efficient, productive and motivated workforce. When it’s done properly, it will ensure that your company achieves its objectives and improves its competitive position.
So How Good is Your People Development?
There are some key aspects to a successful people development strategy within a business. The right strategy should:
- Link personal and group development to business strategy
- Combine assessment and performance data with workforce capability analysis
- Analyse and identify skill and competency gaps for current/future roles
- Address weaknesses and leverage strengths in all critical individual, team and company competencies
- Ensure and acknowledge employee readiness with skills and knowledge certification
- Encourage employees to discover career interests, talents and opportunities (career exploration)
- Identify and retain high-potential, high-value talent in your organisation
- Create personalised development plans to maximise individual employee potential
- Equip managers with assessment tools to guide employee development plans
- Develop and promote internal talent for future leadership roles (leadership assessments)
In addition, it is important that those at the top of any organisation, endorse and support the whole ethos of people development and:
1. Demonstrate that people development matters. Managers must understand how employees’ development goals fit into broader organizational needs and strategy as well as into the employees’ own personal and business objectives.
2. Integrate individual learning into day-to-day work. A manager’ day-to-day interactions with their direct reports can boost manager effectiveness at developing employees up to 40%, but the majority of managers are ineffective at these interactions.
3. Prioritize employee development activities: Managers need to provide employees with direct on-the-job learning experiences and also stretch employees over time and help them reflect on their experiences to ensure learning is retained.
4. Improve development execution: Managers need to use documented individual development plans with the employees, or help employees plan how they can apply what they have learned.
5. Hold managers/supervisors accountable for the quality of development. Compliance-based accountability focuses erroneously on the time spent on employee development. To motivate managers to improve and be better coaches, monitor the quality of development and emphasize effectiveness over activity completion.
All surveys and studies indicate that a proper people development strategy will significantly improve business performance. For example, a 2008 study by the Institute for Employment Studies, concluded that companies would increase gross profits by £176.35 per employee, by implementing an Investors in People programme (this doesn’t sound like a lot, but this is just the initial financial effect, and doesn’t take into account the many non-financial benefits and long-term effects).
The bottom-line is that people development within an organisation is much more than just sending someone on a training course. If you want to know how to implement a proper people development strategy within your organisation, call us on 0844 870 8768.