What is your organisation’s investment in developing its people?
No doubt, the L&D budget comes immediately to mind. But, what about the not so obvious costs, such as those associated with getting people up to speed in new assignments, the efforts of managers in performance management and career development, the cost of job rotations or paid time off for study?
Taking all these things into account simply provides an added incentive to maximise the return on investment and take a more holistic view of what constitutes development. A lament we have heard too often lately concerns the challenge of sustaining professional development beyond an initial program or event.
What this takes is a conscious effort over time, focused on two key elements – people and systems. Most people want to grow and develop, do well and be rewarded for their achievements; and organisations need a support system in place to help them. Importantly, managers need to be active participants in the process, as nothing much will happen without their ability, interest and commitment.
Six ways to sustain people development within your organisation
- Ensure development initiatives are aligned to business strategy – People need to know that what they are working on will not only help them be successful personally but also contribute to the organisation’s goals.
- Set targets for development – Provide role clarity through success profiles that differentiate skills by level and target high performance in the job. People are more motivated to work on skills that are recognised and rewarded based on their importance.
- Differentiate your development offerings – People are not all the same, they have different skills, talent, motivation, values and ambition. So, whilst all people need opportunities for development, they need them in different ways. One needs the challenge of new and different assignments, whilst another wants to deepen their expertise in their particular field.
- Empower your managers – Managers must embrace their responsibility for developing others. However many managers are not comfortable discussing a person’s skills or giving tough feedback but these are essential aspects to what can be ultimately a very rewarding experience, developing others. Start with simple briefing sessions on what skills are important, how skills are built and the difference between performance and potential.
- Make development plans personal – There are different types of development need – a weakness that needs to be a strength, an average skill that needs to be superior, an overused skill that needs to be toned down. Add to this the nature of the need – is it a single competency or a cluster of similar skills? Is it difficult for anyone to develop or specific to the person? Should they find another way to work around it? People generally respond well to this broadband approach to needs analysis and development planning.
- Offer the right tools to kick-start development – People need resources to create and implement a development plan. A range of self-assessment instruments, sources of feedback and clearly laid out options for skill development are essential.