Organizations need employees with up to date skills. “So, develop them already!”, you say. Certainly, there is no scarcity of avenues to pursue for development. A recent study lists six: 1) formal off-the-job training, 2) formal on-the-job training, 3) upward and 4) lateral internal job transition, 5) job resource autonomy, and 6) skill utilization. However, employee development is not without its issues. According to one CEO, it’s difficult to keep up as the need for different skill sets changes rapidly. The other is the fear that an employee who enjoys development on your dime, will take those newly developed skills to your competition. Ouch!
According to the same study, there is only one development technique that encourages employees to go elsewhere and that is a promotion. However, there is a way to combat that by offering portfolio careers. Portfolio careers are careers in which individuals contract their skills and knowledge to multiple organizations, thereby building a portfolio of skills and experiences. Of course, any development program must be effective and here are a few ideas.
- Ensure that managers understand how to coach and mentor. Give them the time to coach. Overloading managers with work doesn’t allow them time to develop their team. Managers, too, need to understand how to balance responsibilities.
- One source suggests teaching more soft skills as these allow for more productivity, better communication, and cohesiveness. Certainly, without the soft skills, the hard jobs, no matter how much development, would not be accomplished in a successful manner.
- Developing a culture of responsibility includes having employees be accountable for their own career growth and development. Adding a career path document, flow chart, or some other guide can create more interest in pursuing a career and being responsible for finding ways to achieve career goals. Do this during on boarding.
- Promote cross training and collaboration
- Provide more flexible and shorter learning options
- Offer options outside the regular job function
- Be sure development materials reach each learning style
- Survey employees to help understand needs. The front line knows more than anyone about what type of employee development is needed at every level.
Graphic Credit: BigStock.com Copyright: PathDoc
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