The foundation of running and building a company lies in the overall performance of the team. Your success depends on your ability to identify, recruit, hire, develop and retain the absolute best talent you can afford to achieve the highest level of performance. I have written quite a few articles on the issues related to identifying, recruiting and hiring the right talent. While that is a big struggle for many companies, there is a real issue related to developing and retaining good talent. As a business coach, I have had an opportunity to visit with hundreds of CEOs and peek under the hood of many of their companies. From what I have seen, even from some of the companies that have good revenue and profit growth, there is a lot of lip service paid to staff being important, being a real asset to the business and the key to their success, but their actions and treatment of these so called “assets” is inconsistent with their words.
If CEOs really meant what they said about talent, there would be a lot more emphasis on development. It would start first with hiring stronger people to run the Human Resource function (or outsourcing in smaller companies) to bring a more strategic view to developing the organization’s talent. Many executives think that if they hire the right people then they do not need to worry about development, and this could not be further from the truth.
Defining the Difference Between Training vs. Development
I first want to clarify the difference between training and development. Oftentimes these two terms are used interchangeably. There is an important distinction, and many times leadership uses training improperly, causing them to misuse company resources for the sake of saying they provide training. Training is the process for transferring knowledge, experience, or new skills to a person or group that does not currently possess them. Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies as a result of teaching. Development is a more holistic process of helping an individual to achieve peak potential. Development teaches people how to become more productive and effective at work and at the company. In other words, training provides the skill and development maximizes it. Training is a component of development and only part of the equation.
When you focus on developing your employees, you are helping them use their existing skills and your company resources to perform better. The best development programs give employees the opportunity to discover things that they would have never discovered in their day-to-day work. As you strengthen individuals, the team as a whole also becomes stronger. As the team gets stronger, the organization becomes more successful.
Organizations that take employee development seriously have a complete talent management system. In addition to training, the following are components you should consider in your program:
- Position profile – The position profile helps the employee see how their role fits in the context of the organization and communicates the link between business strategy and internal processes. It is a detailed piece of information that provides the required competencies and skills to execute the position successfully, and the position’s performance accountability and performance management aspects. By comparing the needs of the position with your employees and candidates for the position, you can see gaps and, when necessary, provide training to fill the gaps.
- Key Performance Indicators – By establishing key performance indicators, measuring performance and communicating those performance results, you help your employees understand how they are doing in your organization. When gaps in performance are occurring, it points to developmental needs for that individual.
- Performance Reviews – We recommend performance feedback on at least an annual basis.
- Developmental Program – During this annual process, the supervisor and employees work together to identify steps to help that individual to improve their skills and approach to their current positions as well as help them prepare for growth for greater opportunities. This is a proactive approach to identifying reading materials, seminars, workshops, webinars, and other ways to assist the employees to propel their careers.
- Mentor programs – A mentor is someone that shows you the way. They have been there before, so they show you how they have done it. Their qualification is the outcomes they have achieved. They are typically donating their time and not getting compensated for the advice they bring.
- Executive Coaching – The executive coach’s role is to help an individual unlock their potential and is not about teaching or showing the way. The coach helps the person being coached discover areas where their motives, values, and personality traits are causing them to be less effective as a leader. The biggest part of coaching is to help the person being coached become self-aware, as research has shown that the higher the position a person holds within an organization, the higher the gap in self-awareness.
Your people truly are the most important asset in your organization. They were hired for their skills and knowledge, and it is time to think about developing their skills to their maximum potential to propel your organization’s growth.
Call me if you think you want to address a challenge in your business or if you want an executive coach that can help you think differently, Howard Shore at (305) 722-7213.