Supporting Employee Development

What is Employee Development?

Employee Development in layman terms simply means ‘Soft Skills’ Enhancement or Behavioral Growth. To develop an employee is to essentially develop a person to exhibit a positive mentality, attitude and behavior that benefits the individual as well as the organization.

Why is Employee Development so Important?

It is unfortunate to find so many organizations of various sizes, industries and continents neglecting employee development activities. Maybe they should not be entirely blamed as there is a lack of awareness in the importance of employee development in relation to their bottom line. Many a time, managers would think that the biggest reason contributing to their direct report’s poor work performance is due to the lack of technical knowledge or skills, required to do the job. Little do they realize that it is in fact the ‘Soft Skills’ or the Attitude of the employee that determines the Altitude and the performance at work.

How Should Organizations Support Employee Development?

Employee Development cannot take place overnight. It is a dedicated, concerted and progressive process that requires the diligent effort from the employee as well as his superior.

Let’s take Tony’s scenario as an example. Tony has just been newly promoted as a head of department to lead a team of 8 people. Half of them are more senior than Tony, either in terms of experience or age. In a short span of time, Tony encounters the challenge of managing these more ‘senior’ people as he finds them disrespectful of him as the head of department. In such cases, who does Tony turn to? Attending a 2-day training on ‘Dealing with Difficult People’ for instance, may not be the best approach, as attending an ad-hoc training does not allow room for application, feedback and evaluation of his learning and development.

This is where Coaching comes into the picture. Whether he’s called an executive coach or an organizational coach, the role of the coach is to assist employees like Tony to see different perspectives of  his challenges. If Tony’s organization has a in-house coaching system or has engaged an executive coach, his issue could be solved systematically over a predetermined time frame. Tony’s coach could be a third-party person or a colleague who has acquired necessary coaching skills.

A Coach’s role in Employee Development is to

i. Assess the Actual Situation

ii. Best Outcome Visualization

iii. Co-create Alternatives

iv. Design Action Plans

iv. Evaluate progress

v. Feedback in follow-up discussions

With the assistance of a coach and a highly effective coaching process like the above, don’t you think Tony would have developed his people-managing abilities to a higher-level? Of course!!

Conclusion

The crucial criteria towards successful employee development is to start believing that it is important to the employee, superior as well as the organisation and  time commitment! It is common that no one discusses about employee development options, mainly due to a lack of precedence. The employee don’t know how to get assistance and the manager don’t know how to help!

As an organization, the essential first step towards instituting an employee development framework is to understand what each individual desires, what are their future aspirations and their challenges at work, what career goals they have, what are their strengths and weaknesses in relation to their job function. This is an on-going process that will enable the organization and the employee to mutually co-create an effective employee development plan. Through a properly implemented coaching system, each employee’s progress will be consistently on track, guided by continuous generation of options as part of their continuous improvement agenda. When the employee progresses according to plan, the organization similar progresses towards its predetermined priorities and direction. When employees made clear of their desired responsibilities through a clear employee development plan, they will be committed to continue to invest in the future with the organization – hence earning their loyalty towards sustained peak performance! If you want to keep your talents, support employee development with a reliable coaching framework!

 

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One Response to “Supporting Employee Development”

  1. Esther Lau ML June 28, 2011 6:00 pm #

    Employee development is the key to retention of talented staff, especially with the Gen Y nowadays, they are quick to leave when their needs are not met. You are right, HR have to do so much more than just sending them for training!

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