Nowadays, change is the one constant factor that any business can depend on. Planning cycles are shorter as the long term becomes ever more unpredictable. The time to implement, innovate or even respond to the market must be handled with dexterity as the market is so dynamic that time is the most crucial factor in delivering a meaningful impact. In order for a business to be current, its resources must be updated – this includes team resources.
I have always found that the best way to ensure development is to dig deep and get involved with your team. By doing, this you can learn so much more than what is stated on a resume. Sometimes, just a casual conversation can you teach you valuable lessons on some of your key personnel and you might just walk away thinking “Wow I never knew that about Paul or Sarah”. The key element here is to talk.
Once you have learnt where your team’s passion lies or their feelings regarding the direction of a department, make sure the message is communicated to the top and if changes are to be made that the changes are translated and filtered across the business unit. Demonstrate that your leaders are committed to skills and development – and not in an idealistic way. If there’s a burning issue or key areas of capability, skills or behaviour that need strengthening ensure that the message comes loud and clear from the top, and is then reinforced at team meetings.
- Walk the Talk
Well we all have heard the old saying” You can talk the talk but can you walk the talk”. If learning is a priority make sure that leaders are taking it as seriously as they are asking of their teams. Get involved!! Visibly make the time for development, and I don’t mean just attending meetings. In my experience, managers often feel that attending a meeting means their making a meaningful contribution – news flash – NO this does not mean ‘Jack’ to employees and quite frankly team members see right through this method. Instead identify areas where they could benefit from training and see what your business can offer. As a manager, it can be helpful to appraise yourself as well, you may identify areas where you can improve that will, in turn help your team to grow. A great example of this is delegation. If you have not delegated tasks that your team has the potential to perform, make a list that prioritise the most important tasks and delegate those at the lower end. Your team members can work their way up as they gain valuable experience.
It’s important to appreciate that many performance gaps can be closed with better communication rather than a training program. Coach your team members by having a relaxed environment with one on one conversations. Cultivate an open and supportive atmosphere where learning isn’t confined to any one individual or project. Try establishing debriefs where team members who attend a seminar, trade conference or exhibition can share with their colleagues their key take away so that the whole team benefits.
- Build Staff Development time into your day
It could be a couple hours a week, set periods in a month or it can be for example, having inexperienced members of your team partner with you when you work with a key client – whatever works for you, however you approach it ensure that the time is respected and not sacrificed when another meeting opportunity arises. Great companies such as Google have figured out the importance of giving time to create, learn and develop. Try to make learning habitual by formally allocating time for people to use towards their ongoing development.
- Reward & Recognition
In recent times, reward and recognition have gained popularity, and it seems like everyone has a programme. The real purpose of this is to attract employee engagement. But when I say recognition I mean acknowledge those who are serious about development. When employees are making ongoing learning a priority in their work lives – give them attention for it. It will help them stay motivated and it can also create a learning culture especially for those team members who aren’t as interested in learning to start.
Let’s face it in order to determine how successful anything is it must be measured. A true team does not become effective overnight – it requires work! However, when team growth is paired with focused challenged business goals – the business thrives. After all, you don’t want to spend time or money on training that does not provide a good return.
In closing, with any change being implemented there must be buy-in. If there is trust and employees feel part of the process, they will feel a sense of ownership and therefore will respect development feedback and reward the business with their effort of improvement.