Tuesday, October 17, 2017

An Effective Approach to Employee Development

By Sean Hawkins

Employee development is very important to me. As a leader, it is my obligation to create a culture that aids in the personal and professional growth of my staff. 

In my career, I've had the opportunity of starting training and development programs with two companies. I have also utilized alternative training methods with regularity.

Whenever I am asked how to implement an employee development program, my answer is always the same, “begin at the beginning”! 

Start with the employees first, and then build your program. If the program is not employee focused, it will fail!

Developing staff begins the moment a new member joins your team. In addition, all staff members should have a "living" professional development plan in place. Staff development should be an on-going process, not a one time, yearly event. 

1. Agent assessment
Have team members complete a self-assessment of their interests, skills, values, and personality. This should not be an assessment of the organization. Instead this is an opportunity for employees to provide you with their critique of themselves, while also giving way for them to express their thoughts and detail their aspirations. Doing so will reveal any blind spots and/or misconceptions managers may have.
When reviewing the staff member's responses, keep these questions in mind:
  • What skills, career opportunities, technologies interest the individual?
  • Do those skills/interests/goals support the organization's needs and goals?
  • What are the short and long term steps to get there?

2. Manager assessment

Based on the staff member's self-assessment, their performance, and your own observations, determine the staff member's skill level in the following categories:
  • Technical skills: skills needed to get the job done.
  • Social skills: how do they work with others?
  • Aptitudes: natural talents; special abilities for doing, or learning to do, certain kinds of things.
  •  Attitude: outlook, feelings, mind-set, way of thinking, and point of view.

3. Organizational assessment
To ensure corporate buy-in and assistance, identify where your staff's needs and interests align with organizational objectives. If you want to retain talent, this is an ideal way to do so. You'll also increase the chance of reaching corporate objective, by matching talent and skills to those objectives. Furthermore, should the talent not exists, you have made it easier to approval to hire or train. Consider the following goals:
  • Company goals
  • Departmental goals
  • Team goals
Review corporate goals to ensure you are in position to meet them.

Are we there yet?
NOW, you can start creating a program. Based on the steps above, you have a higher probability of success. If not, you'll find that you are pulling the cart before the horse. That's a discussion for another time. 

I have over 15 years of progressive call center leadership and experience in the public, private and government sectors.

I have led or consulted contact centers of various sizes across numerous industries. Additionally, I’ve implemented new technology and products, while maintaining award-winning contact centers.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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