You plan for your organization to still be in business in five or ten years, so everything done today is being implemented with an eye toward the future. When it comes to your employees it means shaping the direction of their careers in alignment with organizational goals.
That might have been true when employees had long careers with the same employer. Today the activity of employee development is largely ignored, or ends up being a box to be checked when someone attends a training program. A flyer about a workshop might cross your desk so you mention as an afterthought, “You should check into this. I think it might help you in your job.”
This offhand approach is the best way to squander the talent you have and lose the young talent you want to keep.
How much time do YOU spend thinking about the development of your employees?
How much time do you estimate your boss spends thinking about YOUR professional development?
A FALSE manager is very, very concerned about their own career. A TRUE manager is concerned about their career but just as concerned about the careers of their employees – and acts accordingly. They know that employee development reflects positively on them and their ability to leverage the talents and skills of their people.
Have you noticed that many employees (top talent and young managers) are involved in an ongoing, never-really-resting job hunt? Many exits can be linked directly to the lack of development they find where they work. Top people have little problem getting the key assignments so it’s not visibility. Many employees can receive more work assignments so it’s not increased responsibility they are seeking. It’s the lack of coaching and training that will send people looking for exactly that – with another employer.
WHY IS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OVERLOOKED?
The Focus is on NOW.
The Focus is Lost
DEVELOPMENT = ENGAGEMENT AND RETENTION
Loyalty is built over time. Employees who are loyal tend to be more engaged. Engaged employees tend to be more productive. Ultimately, that’s what everyone wants.
Don’t just take my word for it. Gallup recently released “The State of the American Workforce” and has this to say about professional development.
“The world’s top-performing organizations start engaging employees from the minute they show up on the first day. These organizations have well-defined and comprehensive leader and manager development programs, but they also go one step further — they fully integrate employee engagement into these programs. They take leaders’ and managers’ development seriously, and focus on the development of individuals and teams. Employee engagement is a fundamental consideration in their people strategy.”
A NEXT STEP
Development can be focused by providing a training program on a critical skill like Polished Presentations, a key managerial competency like Creative Coaching, or the ability to be proactive in communication with Tackling Hard Conversations. Development can be ongoing by providing feedback, guidance, and support by creating a coaching culture where employees improve.
The best development ambassadors are the Supervisors, Managers, Directors, Vice Presidents, Executives, CEO’s, and COO’s who coach their direct reports on a regular basis. The one-on-one time to connect, understand, and help an employee close the gap between their skill and the need that exists is the best development there is.
Employee development does not usually provide immediate results. People display small increases in effectiveness and over time those small increases add up and have an impact on the organization’s bottom line for profit. If employee development is done well, the return on your investment will be huge. Show employees that their growth has a direct link to your business results.
Without it, the costs will be huge.