Career Growth Employee Accountability Employee Development Problem Solving Time Management Uncategorized

Improving Employee Development in Six Steps

Have you spent money on your employees for training, seminars, or coaching?  I hope so!  If you choose to be a high performing company, you need high performing employees.

But, have you noticed that even though some return pumped for action, slowly (or maybe quickly), they also return to doing business the same old way?

Why is that?  Quite simple.  Training is ONE step.  The discussion before, and work behind it; taking action and accountability, must follow.

I have fired clients (yes, fired CLIENTS) who fail to take action.  You see, we all have our pieces of the puzzle.  Paying me to provide guidance is excellent, but when nothing happens to ensure follow-up, we all fail.

Here is an example.  One of my clients, a CEO of a large organization which I have worked with for a few years, asked if I would work one on one with one of his project managers on time management skills. This project manager was a hard worker but not focusing on crucial performance indicators.  A loyal and hard-working employee, but the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) didn’t move.  What was he doing, we wondered?

I started with the project managers’ boss, the VP, to make sure I understood the goals and anything more I needed to know.  I was then ready to work with the manager.

My first meeting with the project manager went well.  We identified where he was spending his time unproductively and put an action plan in place.  He was excited about the new plan and clear on expectations.   He made commitments, yet for the next two weeks, had endless excuses.  At the end of the 2nd week, it was apparent that he was struggling.

We combed through his past two weeks and found he was avoiding some of the ‘must-do’ work and replaced it with the unproductive tasks that more fit his comfort zone.  I suggested that we pull this project manager’s boss, the VP, into our meetings.

When the three of us met, we again were all on the same page.  We all agreed on the plan of action and expectations.  We dug into the area the project manager needed extra help and provided that support.

Next, this project manager needed to make the necessary changes.  To accomplish the difficult work (change, ouch) and hold himself accountable.  His boss, the VP, needed to support him with weekly clear expectations and follow-up.  It takes a village.  That is why we always start at the top with leadership.

I love working with this CEO and believe me; he and this company have made a ton of progress.  I did, however, fire myself from working with the project manager.  I explained to the CEO that he would be wasting his money, paying me to continue this particular project.  The project manager was able, but not willing to make the difficult changes necessary.  Further, the VP was not adequately following up.  That was where I needed to put my efforts if we wanted to affect change.

If your training and development efforts are not working for some, take a step back.

  1. Did they have an expectation to come away prepared to enhance one or two behaviors at the end of the session?
  2. Can they do it? Have they been adequately trained. Training is not just telling.  Has the employee demonstrated proficiency.
  3. Have they gone through an expected learning curve? Do not underrate this step.  You may have been doing this for a long time.  This employee probably has lost half of the lessons learned without some reinforcement.
  4. Are the expectations clear?
  5. WILL they do it? Some people are simply not willing to change. 
  6. Is there supportive supervision with high expectations, leading by example?  On occasion, the leaders need help too. It’s normal and a review/slight adjustment of the leaders’ process for follow up can make a big difference for their entire team.

How often do you complete one program, and move on to another without looking back and providing the needed reinforcement and leadership?

And finally, be sure to implement the newly learned behaviors into your everyday routine.  If for example, you and your team learn Compassionate Accountability ™, do not go back to yelling at your employees, and do not accept the old behavior from your team.  Lead them, guide them, and be the example.  Have conversations around how they have used the new behavior.  Keep it fresh in their minds.

Change is hard.  Learning something new is not a one-time venture, but it should not take forever.  Take a look back.  Are you missing the next steps?

Parone Group is a consulting firm enhancing organizational effectiveness. We help you and your team identify sound processes, so that every person, at every level of your organization thrives.

We also speak for organizations on creating customer loyalty from the inside out and organizational effectiveness.

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