What companies are wrong about employee development

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Highlights of history

  • Employee development drives performance
  • Development must be rooted in culture
  • Anticipate and overcome obstacles to development

Gallup has discovered that one of the most important factors in creating a high performance workplace is to instill a culture of high development: a culture that values ​​the growth of individuals. In reality:

“Organizations that have made a strategic investment in employee development,” says Gallup, “report 11% higher profitability and are twice as likely to retain employees. “

Development, in its purest form, is the process of understanding each person’s unique talents and strengths and finding roles, positions and projects that enable employees to apply those talents and strengths. It means taking the familiar saying “getting people done through work” seriously.

So what are companies wrong about employee development?

Let’s just say that there are many potential stumbling blocks where things can go wrong.

Here are some of the things that can get in the way:

  1. Hire the wrong person from the start.
  2. A temptation for managers to accumulate talents in their teams, preventing other growth opportunities.
  3. Project resource assignments that meet business needs but do not develop humans.
  4. Promotions that only look upwards.
  5. Career arcs that leave tenured partners with no clear path to the future.

These obstacles can make a successful approach to employee development overwhelming, but they are not.

Instead, employee development should be grounded in your workplace culture. This means that it has to be part of every phase of the employee experience so it’s just ‘how things get done here’.

To do this, leaders must view each activity in which an employee engages as a high, low, or neutral point for the employee’s personal development.

Yes, that means that throughout the day employees are growing, growing a lot, or not growing at all.

Leaders need to stop and appreciate this.

Development isn’t just about having a learning and development team or promoting a program – these are good things, but development should also be at the heart of every decision made so that it becomes part of the culture itself. of an organization.

Concretely, what does it look like?

Consider these developmental sticking points and address them directly:

Problem: Hire the wrong person from the start.

Solution: Systematize the way you hire potential stars.

Taking stock of how hiring is happening can be the biggest opportunity most organizations have today. Are executives recruiting potential stars? Most organizations cannot say for sure if they are. Without a real idea of ​​the potential of hiring, development is threatened from the start. When a manager gets a bad hire, rather than focusing on development, they get busy trying to make things work. On the contrary, it is becoming increasingly clear that leaders need to find a structured way to track the performance of hires. One way to do this is to use a validated assessment for key organizational recruitments such as managers and leaders. This analytics-based approach to recruiting gives leaders a way to establish a baseline for potential and measure progress over time.

Problem: A temptation for managers to accumulate talent in their teams, preventing other growth opportunities.

Solution: Incorporate strategies to eliminate talent hoarding.

Once hired, managers may be tempted to accumulate star employees, which impedes development. Talent hoarding happens when talent could be deployed to make a difference elsewhere in the organization, but it isn’t. Whether it is because of a mindset of scarcity or just unintentional, many organizations are plagued by this. A direct-to-customer organization that Gallup has worked with has embarked on a change initiative focused on employee development. In this case, they tackled talent hoarding with a program they called 2 + 2. The program allowed employees who had held a position for at least two years to apply for new assignments. Under the program, managers were required to release them within two months if the situation was good. What works with this program is that the expectations are clear for everyone involved. Transparency on mobility like this is essential to ensure alignment of expectations across the organization.

Problem: Project resource assignments that meet business needs but don’t develop humans.

Solution: take advantage of managers who use project resources as a vector for development.

Whether every task is a high, a low, or a neutral for employees, it’s important to regularly assess the domestic market as to what needs to be done and how and to whom each task is assigned. This is where your managers really make a difference. Managers entrust project work to individuals keeping an eye out for development opportunities or should play an important role as an internal agent (or coach) for the individual influencing work assignments.

Taking stock of how hiring is happening can be the biggest opportunity most organizations have today.

We know what it looks like when things go wrong. Burnout is regularly in the news. Gallup has researched burnout and its causes. “When their workload gets out of hand, employees look to their managers to be their advocates for what they can and can’t accomplish and to find others to help them.” On the other hand, regular conversations – including occasional “check-ins” where managers team up with associates to continually align with expectations, workload, goals and needs – help. to ensure that assignments match both organizational needs and development based on individual strengths. often as possible.

Problem: promotions that only look upwards.

Solution: Promote value in alternative development paths.

Individual development does not always mean getting promoted. Let’s just say the career ladders are a bit retro. Hinting that there is only one ladder or one path of advancement sends all the wrong messages to everyone. We know that incentives are directly tied to behavior, so when salary, title, and responsibility advancements are all tied to one track, well, that sends the wrong development message right off the bat.

Rather, high-development organizations encourage everyone to keep experimenting and take increased responsibility for what they naturally do best. This demands more from the leadership than the standard scale, as they need to think critically and creatively about cultural norms for job growth in the company.

Rather than a ladder, some point to career jungle gyms that allow managers to partner with associates and envision horizontal job growth by taking on more of certain tasks they excel at … or growth in diagonal, which could mean doing the same tasks with a new division or for a new client. Vertical growth is always an option, and it can happen by becoming a subject matter expert or a leader in the organization. It is about recognizing and appreciating multiple pathways so that individuals are encouraged to continue to choose the tasks and roles that they are naturally inclined to do best.

Problem: Career arcs that leave incumbent partners with no clear path to the future.

Solution: Anticipate career arcs and strategically plan options for incumbent partners.

And, in fact, career development applies to everyone in the organization and across generations. The popular Atlantic Arthur Brooks’ article “Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think” reminds us that it’s not just millennials, millennials and millennials that need development.

Anticipate needs through the arc of a all the career counts in a culture of high development. An article in Fast business cites an example from tech conglomerate Bosch where, “Some 1,700 of its retirees around the world – 700 in the United States – continue to act as paid consultants for the company through an in-house service. heavily marketed. This is one way of envisioning an alternative development path for older employees who can then act as mentors. Individual experiences will vary widely, but leaders who anticipate needs across generations will stay one step ahead.

Individual development does not always mean getting promoted.

In short, instilling a culture of high development – a culture that values ​​the growth of individuals – means anticipating common points of friction and building systems to alleviate them. When leaders do this, they will pave the way for a high development culture that will lead to high performance.

Should you develop employees during the disruption? Absoutely.


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