'Employee Development' is identified as a key focus area by all organizations alike. It is also the one aspect of management most discussed for its failure to live up to the expectations of both the key stakeholders – the Organization and the employee
It is accepted by one and all that as part of an overall HR strategy, employee development initiatives increase the odds that a workforce will be willing, ready, and able to move into the roles that the organization needs them to play when the marketplace demands change. So why do these initiatives flatter to deceive?
In my 15 years of experience in facilitating employee development initiatives for various companies, I have found that the success or failure of these efforts depends a lot on the employee. I say this because no matter what an Organization does, if the individual does not feel the need to develop him/herself, no amount of push will help.
This happens largely because as individuals we get into what I call as a ‘comfort cloud’ where we settle into a daily rhythm and habit of doing things and do not want to let go of the comfort. On the contrary, when an individual is passionate about his/her growth and willingly participates in a well-structured development activity, over a period of time, there is definitely bound to be growth.
With that said, can organizations do more? Yes. In a lot of cases, such initiatives mostly fizzle out in the last leg for want of a structured process of operationalising the IDP (Individual Development Plan). I have seen that a simple, automated self-service system where employees can upload their IDPs and monitor progress goes a long way in ensuring that the planned activities are completed in full and on time.
In my view, the following are few key factors for the success of employee development initiatives:
- Organizations to establish a structured process and provide a technology enabled platform to set, monitor and review Individual development plans.
- Managers need to buy in to the organization’s career development point of view. They also must be competent and confident in facilitating employees’ career development.
- Last but not the least, individual employees need to pop out of the comfort cloud, expand their horizons and participate in the development initiatives with their complete mind share.
I truly believe that if executed well; the payoff from focussed employee development initiatives can be substantial in terms of long-term loyalty and job performance.