A member of HRPAB once interviewed an applicant for a vacancy. The candidate was a stellar employee, having completed his first degree and exhibited a great work ethic in a renowned organisation, so his interviewers inquired as to why he wished to leave his current employment. His response: “I just want to grow”.
Long gone are the days of transactional form of human resource management with an implicit expectation that employees will simply work in exchange for a salary. This is the time for holistic and strategic human resource (HR) management, which requires employers to provide a paycheck and also to invest in their staff and thereby fulfilling the organisation’s goals and objectives. Today, we will consider a highly desired investment option: learning and development.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, learning and development (L&D) refers to a variety of formal and informal activities that impart knowledge to employees, provide them with job competencies, and help to improve their job performance.
Examples of L&D initiatives include workshops, on-the job training, executive coaching, mentorship programmes and simulation exercises among many others. L&D is a beneficial function of performance management within any progressive organisation.
When done right, strategically aligned L&D initiatives ensure that all staff members are equipped with the knowledge, skills, aptitudes and competencies (KSACs) required to fulfil the organisation’s mission, vision, core values and strategic goals and objectives.
Further, when equitably administered, L&D initiatives create a motivated and engaged workforce. According to the consulting giant, Gallup Inc, staff engagement is propelled when employers encourage staff development, speak to staff about their progress and provide opportunities for growth and development.
Evidently, L&D should be a staple of today’s workplace; so how can we incorporate L&D initiatives in our work lives? We are happy to share a few recommendations here.
As a starter, consider your company’s mission, vision, core values and organisational strategic plan to ascertain its overall purpose, aspirations and priorities; then let these principles guide you. For instance, if excellence is one of your core values, then emphasise high quality work in all development activities and reward your staff for producing excellent outputs.
Believe it or not, there is a science to creating appealing, effective and relevant L&D programmes for adults. Therefore, we recommend that employers learn the principles of adult learning and incorporate these tenets accordingly. (It may sound daunting but just Google “The Principles of Adult Learning” and have a read).
One principle is that adults tend to be experiential learners who learn best, not by being told what to do but by applying principles and processes to what they and their colleagues have experienced. It is on this premise that organisations may provide mentorship programmes for the sharing of experiences between an experienced practitioner and a new hire.
Additionally, invest in training your staff during their onboarding. Identify the KSACs required to optimally perform in their new roles and take a proactive approach in guiding them. Not only will this boost engagement by providing clarity to your new hire, but it will allow organisations to engender their desired culture from an employee’s commencement.
Finally, utilise your performance appraisals for performance improvement. At the end of every performance appraisal cycle, identify your high achievers and place them on a leadership development programme, as suitable. See where some employees may be struggling and deliver an appropriate L&D programme to aid in their growth and development.
Why not invest in the growth of your staff members? Rest assured that you will reap dividends for your company and your staff.
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