The Importance of Staff Development

Learning and development is a finite journey with a clearly defined destination. Development programmes are useful, however they should be part of a much wider learning and development process, owned by the individual and recognised as a continuous process that can include a wide range of opportunities in the employee’s job role and the overarching company strategy. 

There are different ways of identifying training needs:

  • Training Needs Analysis involves collecting data about existing employees’ capabilities, the organisational demands for skills, and the analysis of the implications for changes in capability of new and changed roles.
  • Performance Appraisals are written assessments of employees carried out in a systematic way at regular intervals throughout the year allowing gaps between expected performance and actual performance to be identified and good performance to be praised. An employee’s overall performance should be monitored to identify possible development needs and to set new goals for the next appraisal period.
  • Feedback can be positive or negative; it should be related to a task well done or one that needs improvement. It is an on-going process through which employees learn what they can do to improve, therefore identifying learning gaps or be aware of what tasks they are doing well to maintain their esteem in their work.
  • Coaching is another method used to provide a person who has just entered a new role with guidance from an expert available when needed.  This is best done in a nondirective style, since the coach’s function is to act as a detached and objective raiser of awareness in order to allow the coachee to act on their own initiative.

The effective use of the above methods will allow a manager to keep stock of his team’s development paths especially in roles which are continuously evolving. These development paths may then be complimented by formal training programmes or may be used as action points in their day-to-day tasks.

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