Why team development is important

why team development is importantSo why is team development so important?

In my role I often hear managers and owners say, “What if I train them and they leave?” What they should be asking is “What if I don’t and they stay?”

As Henry Ford once said,  “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”

This morning I am a guest on the Online Forum for Hoteliers, and will be sharing my thoughts on Team Development. I’m covering 3 topics, and thought I’d share the first of these today.

I can bet that whilst you’ve had team members either on furlough or working from home, that some of them will have taken the opportunity to learn, to do something towards their personal development. Whether that is something work related or simply something that interests them, isn’t the point. But what it demonstrates is that people want to learn, to grow and develop.

And if they are in a job that doesn’t satisfy that desire, the chances are they’ll either lose interest and motivation, or they’ll up and leave. Neither option is a good one for the business.

Developing people shouldn’t be something that’s reserved for management. It’s easy to assume that some people have no desire for development. They may have no desire to move into more senior roles or take on more responsibility, but that doesn’t mean we allow them to stagnate.

If you’re not convinced of the need to invest in people’s development, or you need to sell the idea to someone else, read on…

Here 5 good reasons why team development is worth the investment:

1. Shows you value them

Investing in your team in any way demonstrates that you believe them worthy of investment. It helps people feel they have been recognised. This in turn leads to them being more motivated and engaged. This is likely to have a positive impact on their performance both as a result of their engagement and their new skills/abilities. The more engaged and competent your team the better your customers’ experience.

And back to the concern of “What if I train them and they leave?”, not investing in your team could be the very reason they do leave. Which reminds me of something Richard Branson once said “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

2. Succession planning

It’s easy to think of succession planning simply about grooming people for more senior positions. But don’t ignore the need to cross train your team so they can cover not only in the short term, but also so they can take a sideways more to a new role or department at a later date. Succession plans shouldn’t be written in tablets of stone, but far better to have exposure to another role or department now, than when the time comes to make that move, that it’s not the role for them after all.

It can also be a positive development activity for the person currently in that role.  Spending time with a colleague showing them all that’s involved gives them a sense of pride as well as developing their coaching skills. Even if their potential successor has to wait a year or two to step into the role, both learn and grow as a result and have a great respect for each other.

3. Gives flexibility

The more you cross train and upskill across your team, the greater your flexibility. Don’t limit this just to cross training within a department. Inevitably there are times when one department is stretched and others are quiet, so if you have people who can switch to support the stretched team, so much the better.

It’s easy for a colleague to look on thinking that someone else’s job looks easy. But it’s only when they get a taste it first-hand that they realise the challenges associated with that role. So cross training will not only help the team to support one another, but it can also create a higher respect for each other’s roles.

4. Improves your employer brand

If you want to attract people who see joining your team as a career move rather than a fill in before finding their ideal role, you need to demonstrate there’s potential to grow and develop. If you’re not able to share what development opportunities there are, they’ll go to someone else who has a track record if investing in their team’s development.

Your existing team should always be your greatest advocates, so if they have positive stories to share about their own development you’re more likely to attract others …

5. Continuous improvement

People’s development doesn’t ever have an end date. There will always be things that one can improve on, however small. Yes, there may be times when they are on a steep learning curve, but once at the top, it’s important to look for those little incremental improvements that can all add up over time. And importantly not allow that person to stagnate.

If you only do one thing: Decide which of these 5 reasons is the most important one for you or your business and focus on that as your priority for now.

Next week I’ll share the second topic I’m covering with the Hoteliers’ Forum. Until then, have a good week.

Related posts:

Continuous Improvements can make a big difference

A-Z of managing people D is for development 

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