Employment Enterprises Blog

Managers, Help Your Employees Learn

Posted by Jonathan Farrington on Nov 9, 2016 3:34:43 PM

workforce management

Nothing is more important to people than their own success. But employee development is not merely something to delegate to training departments (or, worse, to ignore). Rather, managers should assume the responsibility for making sure their employees have the right knowledge, skills, and attitudes to do their jobs and to do them well.

Development is not only about correcting weaknesses. It also involves upgrading and taking people forward at least enough to keep up with change. Ideally, it helps them reach their full potential. As the old saying goes, “You can have either five years’ experience or one year’s experience multiplied by five.” People want the former, and as managers we are the means for them to achieve it.

With that in mind, we need to recognize the importance of our employees’ development and create a visible system to help each person gain experience and extend his or her skills:

  • Analyze the job and what is needed to do it

  • Analyze the person and his or her competencies

  • Look ahead to anticipate what new skills the job might require in the future

  • Define the gap between the person’s current state and the job’s future state, then identify what’s needed to bridge that gap

  • Specify the methods, budgets, and priorities for the person’s development

  • Implement the development plan and monitor the results

This is a rolling cycle. Keep clear records, make sure that each employee’s development is reviewed in this manner, and create a culture in which people value development and what it brings. Remember, part of our job as managers is to help people to learn.

It isn’t always possible to send employees to structured training or courses, so consider other actions by asking these questions:
  • Should development be on the agenda for meetings?

  • Can any development be done on the job (including, but not limited to, what falls under the manager’s personal responsibility)?

  • Can any ongoing development activities (for example, a simple monthly lunchtime session) be implemented immediately?

Development is not only important in its own right, but is also highly valued by employees. A company’s culture can be shaped by its attitude toward training and development. Because our employees’ view of development is dependent, in part, on how managers approach it, we need to convey the right message.

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Related Article: 5 mistakes new managers make

Jonathan Farrington is the senior partner at Jonathan Farrington & Associates, the CEO of Top Sales World, and the coeditor of Top Sales Magazine. As a keynote speaker, business coach, mentor, author, consultant, and sales strategist, he has guided hundreds of companies and more than 100,000 frontline salespeople and sales leaders toward optimum performance levels. He can be reached at jf@jonathanfarrington.com.

Topics: Employees, Managed Workforce

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