Personal Development ~ the perfect opportunity

personal development

Personal development planning

There are only so many hours you can spend binge watching on Netflix or catching up on your favourite soap.

With many now having time on their hands it’s a fantastic opportunity for personal development; something which often takes a back seat in the day to day hubbub of the business.

With team members on furlough, it’s a good opportunity to keep their minds active as well as the chance to up-skill to make them better in their existing role, or develop new skills or expertise to fulfil their longer-term aspirations.

Don’t rule out team members who have be laid off; supporting them in their personal development can help in the quest for a new job. By showing your interest in them is a good boost for their morale, as well as how they perceive you as an employer.

Here are 4 considerations for drawing up personal development plans for existing or future roles.

1. Know what you want to achieve

When identifying personal development needs, ascertain yours and their expectations, what you each want to improve, and how will you know when it’s been achieved.

What’s missing

If there was one skill or one piece of knowledge that they feel would help them in their role (or roles they may be applying for) what would that be? How would that help?

Identify and build on strengths

Utilise individuals’ known strengths to capitalise on them, and stretch them.  It’s all too easy to focus solely on the gaps, but we need to tap into people’s talents too, and build on these so they can excel in some areas rather than being mediocre in everything!

Looking to the future

If discussing development for future roles, find out what’s important to them. Don’t try and second guess this, or make an assumption of their aspirations – ask them!

  • What motivates them in work? What’s important to them outside work?
  • What career path do they have in mind? What are the things that they value and are not prepared to give up?
  • What do they enjoy?  The chances are things they enjoy they’ll put more effort into.

Do a sense check that what you or they have in mind is a good fit.

The skill will matrix is a useful tool which you may want to complete first before undertaking the other activities. Or watch the video here

Their expectations and perception

If you are discussing the possibility of development into other roles ask them for their perception of the role by asking these or similar questions.

  • What do they consider to be the key areas of performance against which they’d be measuring their success?
  • What will they hear, see and feel when they are performing this role?
  • How soon do they expect to be able to get to this level?
  • What do they need to happen between now and then? (This is a good question to open up the discussion on development and support needed).

2. Plan personal development activities

Formal training is obviously not an option right now, and even when it is, it can be expensive, time consuming and present logistical challenges, particularly with complicated shift patterns.

Normally I’d recommend using everyday activities as opportunities for learning and development, and suggest a combination of different activities, which will be more effective than a one off ‘training session’ as it gives an opportunity to reinforce learning and maybe take in different perspectives.

However, if people are working from home, furloughed or laid off, what are the options?

There is so much information available online it would be easy to spend every minute of every day searching, reading and viewing this.

Go back to your objectives. What do you/your team member want to achieve and learn?

Review the objectives and content of online programmes and sessions and only sign up for those that are relevant.

3. Scheduling personal development activities

Don’t feel compelled to attend every session; if following a whole programme, there’s no shame in missing an individual session if it’s not of interest or relevant to your/their development.

Conversely, maintain momentum.

Stick with one or two options on each topic. Too many can lead to conflicting messages which can lead to confusion as well as overload.

4. Monitor progress

At the end of each session encourage participants to review their learning. Ask, “what’s the most useful thing they learnt”, or “what one thing will you put into action?”

This serves three purposes:

  • it encourages the participant to review and they are far more likely to remember and implement an idea they have repeated back
  • it gives you some feedback on their learning
  • it provides an opportunity to discuss how they will apply or implement this at a future date

If you only do one thing towards personal development

Talk to your team about the opportunities for personal development and suggest they each find one thing they’d like to learn or focus on whilst they have the time now, but that would help them in their role when we are back to normal.

Today’s top tip

Even if your business is temporarily closed, keep up your scheduled 1:1 time with each of your team, so they stay connected and have the opportunity to ask for help or support when needed without feeling awkward. Even if it is beyond the scope as your role as their employer, it’s good to know they have your moral support.

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