Training and development is often cut when costs are tight. Developing people needs to be seen as an investment, not a cost. This means that there must be some strategic criteria for deciding which employees to develop and what skills to focus on.
Too often training is used as a reward rather than as a strategic investment. The reality is that training serves multiple purposes: it can be an employee retention tool, a reward, a pacifier as well as a strategic choice.
Who Should You Develop?
- Everyone who asks for it or strategically?
- What are your main criteria - immediate performance improvement, to meet key strategic goals - these should be the main ones.
- Also, development can be used as a reward for excellent performance.
- Or as a retention tool.
- A career or succession planning aide.
How to Develop People
- Put people into a range of stretching projects, ones outside their comfort zone.
- A good developmental process should include some form of log book for them to record what went well and what they want to improve for every aspect of a project.
- You, or a mentor, should review their progress regularly.
- Regular reviews help to consolidate learning and plan next steps.
- Feedback from others on key developmental areas is also critical.
- Anonymous feedback through questionnaires might be more honest.
- A training course is only a one-off event; developement is an ongoing process.
- Developing personal skills amounts to changing bad habits - not as easy as learning technical skills.
- Bad habits will re-surface unless a concerted effort is made over a sufficient time period for new habits to become ingrained.