Employee Development is an Investment in Success
In today’s economy, companies are cutting costs and employee training/development programs are some of the first expenses to get cut. That is a BIG mistake!
Any enterprise plan should include well defined development programs for employees. After defining a strategic direction and delineating an organizational structure that will help achieve your goals, it is imperative that you fill the organization with the right people in the right jobs with the right skills.
Let’s review the importance of employee development. First, is it a “cost” to the business that is “nice to do”? Or is it an “investment” in, not only the employee, but also in helping the business to achieve its goals and becomes a “must do”? Clearly, it is an investment! Many employees view it as a sign of confidence that their employer thinks enough about them to invest in their future. That buys a certain degree of loyalty and engenders motivation for them to do a good job in return.
Each employee’s needs are different, so it is important to treat this task in a customized way and not in a “cookie cutter” approach that we see in many large corporations. There are several steps to consider. They include:
- Evaluate Your Business Goals – Align individual development plans with your business needs. You have hired or promoted individuals to fill specific positions in the organization, but no one is perfect. Identify the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies that support their efforts in helping achieve business goals and understand the gaps.
- Discuss Development Needs With Employees – Don’t assume you know your employee’s skill level and career aspirations. Arrange face-to-face meetings with each team member to better understand what their goals are and/or should be and how they think they can best accomplish them. Ask them to do a self-assessment of their work. In what areas do they struggle the most? Would they benefit from additional training or mentoring?
- Create An Action Plan for Each Employee – Development plans can include a combination of activities such as formal training programs, reading, working directly with subject matter experts, one-on-one coaching and mentoring, and on-line programs among others. And don’t forget the opportunities available through industry trade associations such as the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association. Once you’ve decided on specific needs and opportunities, create a plan. The plan should include a timetable.
- Apply The New Skills In the Workplace – Because of the time and expense involved, it is important to immediately put newly acquired skills to work in a visible way. In that manner, the employer assesses their return on investment and the employee can also demonstrate that the investment was well worth it. It is essential to provide feedback to the employee in order to reinforce and refine their new skills. If they don’t use the new knowledge quickly, they are likely to lose it. It must become a new way of doing business for them. Otherwise, it is a waste of valuable resources.
The takeaway is that creating a development program for each key team member, not only helps make your workforce more effective and knowledgeable, but also improves employee morale and satisfaction. When your employees are happy and feel that they have confidence in their skills, their loyalty to the company and to its success improves as well.
How effective are your employee development programs? FreshXperts can assist you in ensuring your enterprise planning includes the proper organizational structure to achieve your strategic goals, but that you also have the right people in the right jobs with the right skills.