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• Your employee wins, and so does your organization. Your employees win when you provide them with higher-level skills and new ways of viewing the world. And, at the same time, your organization wins because employees become more motivated and their work skills improve. The impact of every dollar spent on employee development is therefore magnified while employees are prepared to fill the roles in which your organization will need them to move in the future.
The Management Bible
• Your employees are worth your time and money. It costs a lot of money to recruit and hire new employees, and it costs a lot to train them. Employees are one of any organization’s greatest investments, and it’s in your interest as a manager to ensure that these investments are protected and allowed to flourish. By backing up with action your words of support for employees, you show them that you really mean what you say—leading to employees who are more engaged in their jobs and who will better serve your customers.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT PLANS
Sometimes you can get where you want to go in business—if you’re lucky. But, more often, it takes a plan, and effective career development requires well thought out and executed plans. Make no mistake about it: Career development plans take time to develop and they take time to monitor, track, and adjust as needed. But the investment of time required will pay off many times over in employees who perform better and who are happier in their jobs.
The best career development plans contain at minimum the following five key elements:
1. Specific learning goals: By identifying specific learning goals with your employees—classes they should take, skills they should learn, expertise they should develop—you provide them with a clearly marked path to travel as they proceed through their careers. The learning goals for a contract negotiator might, for example, include coursework in contract law, negotiation techniques workshops, and a progression of assignments from relatively simple low-dollar negotiations to very complex, high-dollar deals.
2. Resources required to achieve the designated learning goals: It’s not enough to create learning goals; managers also have to designate the organizational resources that will be devoted to making the
LEADERSHIP: THE PEOPLE THING
goals happen. Such resources might include assignment to specific teams or job shadowing, formal training (conducted by outsiders, by internal trainers, or perhaps online), and of course the money required to pay for all this.
3. Employee responsibilities and resources: Career development is a joint responsibility of an employee and his or her manager. A business can and does pay for things, but so can employees (as any employee who has paid out of his own pocket to get a college degree can attest). A good career development plan should include what the employee is doing on his or her own time.
4. Required date of completion for each learning goal: Every good plan also needs a good schedule, so therefore each learning goal must have a corresponding date of completion. Schedules must be above all else realistic while keeping an employee’s forward progress in motion. Ideally, schedules will allow employees the flexibility to get their daily tasks done while keeping a step ahead of the changes in the business environment that necessitate the employees’ development in the first place.
5. Standards for measuring the accomplishment of learning goals: Of course, employees and their managers must have some way of knowing when (and if) a learning goal has been completed. Standards might be unambiguous (a course has been completed) or it might be more subjective (the employee has some measure of expertise in a particular area of learning). Whatever the situation, managers should always ensure that the selected standards are clear and attainable and that both you and your employees are in full agreement with them.
Are you by now wondering what a simple career development plan might look like? Here’s an example of a basic career development plan for an interest rate analyst. Note that a career development plan doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be as big as the book that you’re holding in your hands. When it comes to employee plans of any sort, simpler (and more concise) is usually better:
The Management Bible
PETER SOR KIN'S CAREER DEVELOPMENT PLAN
• Become proficient in interest rate analysis.
• Learn the basics of employee supervision.
• Shadow supervisor in daily work for half days, starting immediately.
• Attend quarterly supervisors' update seminar on the first Wednesday of January, April, July, and October (no cost: in-house).
• Complete "Basics of Interest Rate Analysis" class no later than the first quarter of fiscal year XX ($550 plus travel costs).
• Successfully complete "Intermediate Interest Rate Analysis" class no later than the second quarter of fiscal year XX ($750 plus travel costs).