It’s hard to think of an important aspect of management more neglected than development planning: helping your employees shape the future direction of their careers. Yet for a variety of reasons, this valuable activity is often ignored… or handled as a bureaucratic exercise… or an afterthought. Companies pay a high price: the loss of top talent.
Dissatisfaction with some employee-development efforts appears to fuel many early exits. Companies generally satisfy needs for on-the-job development and employees value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring and coaching – things they also value highly to exceed in positions of increased skill complexity or responsibility.
Why is employee development a chronic problem today ?
We tend to focus more on the here and now. Many organisations are in a constant state of dis-order, reorganizations and trying to do more with less. In this environment, managers & leaders tend to be most focused on critical day-to-day functions and less interested in longer-term activities that don't make an immediate impact.
Some exercises are done for name sake but not acted upon. This can be more damaging than not having a development strategy at all. People development strategy is not a tick in the box HR exercise, it has to be lived on a day-to-day basis by the leadership team and driven by the CEO. If systems are to be used, make sure they fit the wants and needs of your organisation and it creates data that is actually easy to interpret and is meaningful.
There’s just no time for it. There is always time for important activities. If you believe that development planning is a valuable managerial function, just make it a priority and carve out the minutes and hours for it. Include it into the appraisal process of the leadership group in how they are driving ROI from their most valuable asset - their people !
Why development planning makes good business sense.
People care if you take a genuine interest in their future. Emphasis here on “genuine.” Development planning should be something a manager takes a real personal interest in – not an HR-driven mandate
It helps builds loyalty, and loyalty increases productivity. Taking an honest interest in someone builds loyalty. Loyal employees are more engaged. Engaged employees are more productive.
Good talented people naturally want to advance, and appreciate support in the process. Capable ambitious employees want training, mentoring and coaching. They want to gain skills. They want to become more versatile and valuable to their organization. Who doesn’t appreciate thoughtful support that helps you and advances your career? But the flip side is, if one company doesn’t provide it, enterprising employees will go elsewhere for it.
Development planning doesn’t have to be elaborate or costly. It's a matter of good managers taking the person-to-person time to understand their employees… recognizing their skills and needs… and guiding them to fill in the gaps. If it’s done well, the payoff can be substantial in terms of long-term loyalty. If it’s not, the costs can be substantial in terms of long-term talent.
We hope these ideas help. Feel free to contact us for a discussion or to arrange a meeting on how Bamboo Consulting can support your talent development program.