Regardless of size and complexity, most organizations would agree that skilled human capital is one of the most prized business assets a company can possess. Whether it be your employees or peers, skilled talent contributes greatly to the efficiency, quality and thought leadership of the products and services a company offers. Even in organizations which are heavily vested in outsourcing operational roles, the skills and attributes of employees who own strategy, planning, design, and architectural responsibilities are viewed as a core component of the ability to grow and foster a competitive business advantage.
These highly skilled team members not only support the overall success of an organization, but they can also have an infectious impact on accelerating the success of their hiring managers, supervisors, team leads, project managers and other colleagues. This can lead to positive, yet sometimes unexpected, improvements in overall team dynamics within the workplace.
Ironically, in contrast to the high values placed on human capital, companies don’t often plan to grow this valuable asset. Over the course of my 20-year career as a CTO and architect in the field of adult technical learning, I’ve often found it odd that so many organizations treat the ongoing development of their team members as an afterthought. They default to the same old tired training approaches, including fire hose blasts of “just-in-time” training courses and risky “sink-or-swim” on-the-job experiences. It doesn’t occur to these business leaders to make a proactive investment in the career development strategy for their employees.
Of course, with the uncertain economic times of today, some organizations may argue that they cannot support the perceived time and costs involved in delivering a proactive employee skills development program. However, I’d counter this notion; without such a program in place, it’s been my experience that employees lose motivation to achieve excellence in their work, and they sink to a level of mediocre or, in some cases, inferior performance. This has a direct cost on the bottom line.
Truly, some of the largest “hidden” cost pockets in many organizations are the time and expense involved with hiring new employees and terminating underperformers. A program that coaches employees through career development milestones in a positive way is typically very small in comparison to the true costs of hiring, firing, and turnover. In many cases, the cost for an effective training and development program can be less, or at least on-par with, an organization’s existing budget for less-effective, more traditional training methods. In addition, when an organization conducts a thorough investigation of these true employment costs, and links a career development program to the reduction of these costs and the benefits of improved, measurable performance, they can realize a positive return within a very short timeframe to easily justify this investment in their employees.
Over the coming weeks, I’ll provide guidance on what we at WrightRobbins have experienced as the “required” components for an effective career development program. I’ll also expand on how you can leverage those components as part of a purposeful program to motivate and empower employees. I will also show you how to wisely invest in gaining a positive return on one of the strongest growth assets within your organization: your skilled human capital. Through this guidance, which we at WR call Disruptive Learning, you’ll learn tips and techniques that you can apply to your own organization, ideas that can safely and systematically challenge your team to attain achievable excellence in their work, and disrupt a less desirable path on which your employees may already be heading.
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