Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Key Principles of Employee Development

I owe the following to Dr. Dan Harrison. While his points are succinct and distilled, I've tried to make the narration of development sportive. Indians follow cricket so furiously, that some popular characters may bring home the points. Hope you will enjoy these points stated as principles of employee development.

1. Ensure the right placement for the one who wishes to develop for performance at work. This makes development of the incumbent in the role practical. No point taking the gloves off Dhoni's hands to deliver dot balls as bowler in the slog overs. Inspire the incumbent in roles that offer what he or she enjoys doing.
2. Consider both technical and behavioral competencies. Without either, performance post-development will falter. It is not enough for Sreeshanth to tear down the green and pound the leather into the pitch. He should carry himself in ways that his conduct is deemed appropriate to the requirements of the game and that such be acceptable in his own conscious mind.
3. Consider all relevant job suitability factors. This reveals all behavioral factors that affect job performance, work satisfaction and retention. So to get Laxman to very very specially be special at all formats of the game would be risking a lot of his special talents.
4. Discover, acknowledge and utilize strengths. This provides encouragement and the motivation to develop. Dhoni could do more to discover young talent like Jadeja, Raina and Kohli as part-time bowlers. They will be thrilled to contribute to performance in inspired ways.
5. Work on Self-Awareness before working on others' development if you can. It helps to use the self as working model of development for others to value their own development seriously. Besides, experience is a humbling touchstone. Self-realization makes contribution or service more likely without having to quote one's own effort in development! One quotes one's efforts only when a committed learner asks for it.

In summary, whether performance or development, man likes to have the pleasure of engaging in activity he chooses to. Development is a future oriented effort for the employee. It is an investment if and only if the above principles are held together in the development decision. Focus on the developing employee's needs.

Secure her or his learning in a non-threatening  and enabling work environment. When an employee asks for development, listen to the intent in the ask. Distinguish a curious question from an internal commitment question. When an employee intends to develop to make impact (and not impression), the commitment to perform is assured. A curious question lacks the emotive tonality that accompanies a committed intent.

Am sure you can tell me more from your own experiences of the millions of dollars spent wastefully from developmental budgets, when unwilling, confused, disinterested or disoriented employees enter a learning situation!