“Employee development” is often framed as learning certain skills or building knowledge to keep employees engaged and productive. We all hear about company-funded training, attending upcoming conferences in our field, or how everyone should read the latest best-selling business book.
But the way we see it, employee development is less about what you and your people can do and more about how your team can achieve specific, time-bound goals together. Instead of focusing on individual knowledge, skills, and abilities, we encourage you to look at the potential of your people and ask, “What do we want and need to achieve together over by a set period of time? What capacity do we need to build to get there successfully?”
What Do You Want to Achieve in 1 Year?
Agree on realistic, measurable, and concrete benchmarks, such as, “Bring in $1 million by December 31, 2018,” or “Have 20 ongoing and committed clients by October 1, 2018.” By being detailed in both number and deadline, your team will feel more empowered and driven to rise to the challenge.
Once you’ve agreed on specific overarching goals for the coming year, post those goals somewhere where everyone will see them regularly. Put them on a shared calendar, or an online business dashboard. If you don’t have one, create one that everyone can see. Think of this goal as a mission statement to keep your people inspired and focused. Eyes on the prize every day.
Then, after you’ve determined what you want to achieve, planning how you’ll get there will be a lot easier.
What Can Your Team Bring to the Table Already?
Once you’ve figured out what you want to achieve over a specific time frame, you can map out what capabilities you’ll need to get there. Chances are that if you’ve hired driven, high-performing people, you have the talent, you’ll just need to ask them a few questions.
Ask your team members: “What do you like to do?” Then ask, “What do you think you’re good at doing?” And your third question can be, “What kind of work would benefit both you and your team that you’d like to stretch into?”
Maybe your team members have passions that you didn’t even know about, and those talents align with your team’s goals. Combine this potentially new information with the strengths that you know your people already have.
If your people are doing what they love to do, they’re more likely to take ownership of their work, follow through with excellence, and stay with your organization. And instead of spending time and money on trainings to develop skills and knowledge your team members might be lacking, you’re leveraging their existing talents right away.
What Does Your Team Need to Be Successful?
You’ve figured out what you want to accomplish. You have driven, passionate, and hard-working people. Now… what new, improved capabilities does your team need to build to get there?
Get down into the nitty-gritty of what skills and capabilities your people have, which ones they both need, and want to build. Align those with your team’s goals. Now that you know a little more about what each member of your team is good at and wants to learn, you can work together to create development plans that benefit the group and keep the individuals engaged. Way better than just sending someone from your team to the next conference in your field because you feel like you should.
Say Angelica is your leading sales rep, and you want your her to help your sales team increase sales by 50% over the next 12 months. Angelica has the skills and the drive, but you need a better strategy and planning to reach that benchmark.
So how can you work together to both help Angelica develop and be successful in reaching your collective goal? Maybe it's a specialized sales-planning training. Maybe it’s connecting her with a more senior sales veteran with experience in sales strategy. Work together to develop the plan that keeps your target at the forefront.
We wish you the best of luck in developing your people. Be in touch if you want to find out more about how our team assessments, feedback training, and consulting services can help you shape the team of your dreams.
What are your upcoming achievement goals?