I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the topic of “staff development.”
Having been in leadership for more than 35 years, I can say with certainty that I’ve seen many a staff member “develop.”
I think what we have to ask ourselves, though, is what’s the purpose of “staff development” and what’s the best way to get it done? Obviously, the purpose is to “develop staff,” but how well do we actually do that?
Another relevant question is … how many people in the workplace have you seen actually “develop” over time? Think about it for a minute. I’m not necessarily talking about promotion from a lower-level position to a higher level position over time. Or, am I?
Do people progress from entry or lower-level positions to higher-level positions over time due to “staff development?” Or, is it just that they gain experience, get more education, and increase their “worth” to the organization. So, they qualify themselves for more senior positions that pay more money. Did the company’s “staff development programs” do that, or did the staff member do that themselves?
Here are a number of staff development “methods” for your consideration …
- Regular Performance Appraisal and Feedback
- Mentorship Programs
- Attending Conferences
- Attending Classes
- Going to College
- Employee Recognition Programs
- Internship Programs
- Job Bid/Posting
- Work Share Programs
- Personality Type Assessment
- Focused, Accelerated Training Programs (like Center for Creative Leadership)
- Cross-Training Programs
I think staff development boils down to how we treat staff members and how much we provide for them in terms of gaining experience and being exposed to new things along the way. We must provide resources for them to allow them to gain knowledge and learn from others who have been where they have not. Yes … everything on the list above (and probably a bunch of other stuff) needs to be available and employed in the process of developing staff.