Defining Effective Employee Development

Gone are the days of command-and-control leadership; today’s most effective workforce is made-up of employees who are competent, creative, passionate and take initiative. They know what they’re doing, apply what they know, enjoy what they do and grow to do more. Unfortunately, studies still show that workers are not happy with their level of professional development because they are not reaching their full potential.

It’s not really surprising; there is always room for improvement no matter what your level of accomplishment. But what does surprise me is that even today, less than 15% of workers feel they have the skills they need to use workplace technology to effectively do their jobs. This includes computer and internet usage.

Some jobs call for high levels of skill in several areas beyond the commonly accepted norms. For example, engineers may have great theoretical and innovative skills, but need to be more proficient at technical writing or public speaking to document or present their ideas. Too often I have seen production supervisors with good process and productivity knowledge lack in communication or conflict resolution skills needed to address the issues that crop up every day.

Fortunately, there are excellent sources of specific training in all these areas. However, companies that fail to budget for ample technical training also fail to account for the cost of a skill shortage, where processes fail and problems expand without sufficient solutions.

Many employees need better managerial skills, where communication and collaboration are essential. A staff that works well together sharing information and ideas, setting and achieving goals and drawing the input of others to make great plans is making use of good managerial skills.

Business insider Steve Olenkski sums up employee development goals very nicely in the Forbes article, 8 Key Tactics For Developing Employees. He states that organizations develop employees for two reasons:

  1. To enhance employee interest and engagement in their roles (which raises productivity)
  2. To grow new managers who in turn engage others.

Engaged people take on more responsibility, motivate themselves to keep improving and inspire similar motives in those around them. Employee development is best designed to build better people who are more interested in what they’re doing, are more effective contributors and raise the bar for the entire culture. Everyone benefits when any employee develops into the person they ultimately can be.

What do you think? How do you define effective employee development? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 704-827-4474; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

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