Competitive advantage used to be about who had the best product. Gradually, it shifted to who was using the most innovative technologies, and how. Now, neither is sufficient in itself to give organizations an edge. As things change at an ever-increasing pace, employees have become the new differentiating force, and the new challenge is to successfully manage employee knowledge and development.
MindLeaders’ white paper “Why Employee Development Matters: Creating Strategic Advantage Through Your People” looks at how to set up effective employee development programs to grow and exploit employee knowledge to the benefit of both organization and individuals.
Acknowledging the importance of employee development as a key tool for employee retention and engagement, the paper gives an overview of common challenges faced by such programs in the workplace.
It admits that while eLearning courses offered via an LMS have proven to be reasonably effective, they still do not address the tailoring of training, which is an important facet of an effective employee development program.
|The paper then goes on to recommend a blended approach for employee development programs including:|
|•||a personalized learning plan created with human input to define the learning path;|
|•||inputs from line managers to align the development plan more closely with strategic objectives;|
|•||eLearning components to address generic skills; and|
|•||instructor-led sessions (together with eLearning courses as appropriate) to cover more specialized skills.|
The paper further points out that employee development is important at all levels within an organization, and uses an example of a recently promoted Sales Manager to illustrate this further. The Sales Manager needs to carry out a performance review for her team but has not been trained on the process and associated behavioral skills. She finds herself having to provide negative feedback to one of her team members; this review doesn’t go well, and the employee shows no signs of improvement. Had the Manager gone through an effective employee development program, she would have been able to draw on relevant skills and resources to help her carry out a more successful review.
The paper then presents a list of factors to look for in a company that helps define and set up employee development programs. It concludes by introducing MindLeaders’ Personal Learning Service (PluS), where personalized learning plans are created for individual employees by human Learning Advisors, with inputs from managers. Progress against the learning plans can be monitored, and plans can be modified to remain in line with changing goals and conditions.
If you’re planning to implement employee development programs in your organization, or are looking to improve your existing programs, this white paper could provide you with some useful insights.