As organizations evolve in the digital age, we have seen the vocabulary of Development Plan expanding to reflect a much broader vision of people development at the workplace. A 5-point plan mapping organization charter to training plans seems pretty myopic when you look at the changing eco-system of today’s workplace. Traditionally restricted to upskilling employees to meet the future needs of business and the industry, Development Plan today is about carefully nurturing your human wealth with purpose and compassion.
If one were to look at the tech sector alone, the potential for growth is immense, especially with the proliferation of jobs around emerging technology. While our workforce is ready to take on these new roles head-on, are they equipped physically , mentally, financially and emotionally to meet the demands of Digital Revolution? As people leaders, are we asking these questions to ourselves before laying out development plans and mapping them to organization needs? What does our organization scorecard look like if we were to score ourselves as employers empowering employees in a holistic manner to be more effective at their jobs?
While change in skill needs demanded by the business is a part of it, emotional intelligence, cultural adaptation, strategic intent, physical wellness, financial acumen etc. all become part of holistic people development and get into the plans, whether structured or not. For such an approach to work, people manager's role will move from being a supervisorto being a coach/mentor. Such an approach to Development Plan would also shift the onus of Development from the manager to the employee. The key idea is not the organization being prescriptive about one's development plans, but create an enabling environment in which one identifies the development needs both related to the core functional areas as well as personal attributes.
A well-defined and holistic development plan should ideally address the following factors that will connect to employees at all levels:
While it may take sustained efforts to modify intrinsic human behavior, however difficult an employee may be, at times if you observe closely, it is the lack of exposure or right information at the right time or simply personal experiences that dictates employee behavior. Perhaps no one has asked a withdrawn employee to come out of their shell or get to know them better. Maybe they want to change but are unsure of the next move. But the key to developing EI lies with the manager’s ability to show the employees the larger picture and how his or her behavior is linked to their career trajectory. Your employee’s growth vision could be blurry but you could mentor them to see a clearer picture of what will work best for his career in the long run.
People drive your business and taking them along in your journey of transformation requires clarity in vision leading to actionable ideas. This is only possible when employees are aware of the organization's mission and vision and how their work plays a key role in the grand scheme of things. A mentor in instilling the values of the organization in its people and making them feel valued.
Is your organization’s long-term goalwell-embraced all through the organization? Is your team with you at every step of the way as you work towards defining the organization’s growth path with actionable items in the short term and with planning and vision for the long term? Does your organization make everyone involved and valued in their larger purpose? If a resounding “yes” answers all these questions, your team, you and the organization are working as a cohesive unit towards a unified goal.
Physical and mental wellness:
Wellness at work is a rage now and for a good reason. Employees spend most of the waking hours at office, leaving them very little bandwidth to accommodate a schedule prioritizing physical and mental health.
Professional development can only be realized when employees have a positive disposition affecting their physical and mental health. And it’s not just a gym at office that gets employees employee motivation going. A well-rounded wellness program should include, regular wellness sessions, availability of 24 hours counselors for employees who need support coping with pressure at work or outside of it, periodic health check-ups, or simply breaking the monotony of work with periodic floor exercises.
Worrying about finances is known to affect productivity adversely. So it is essential having a program in place that educates employees on all possible options to develop a sound financial plan. This is more important for those who are sole-providers for the family. Personal finance is and will continue to be a sensitive subject but employees should be given that assurance that help is at hand for those who need assistance with savings and investments.
Clearly, taking such an approach to People Development can't be handled unaided by technology. The many apps and tools that are available today help build and activate holistic development plans starting with identifying the total human value and potential to ways of fulfillment with realistic, yet self-paced methods. It is not so much about what apps and tools one uses, but how the plan is laid out with the above holistic approach and then one will see enough digital tools available around. Such a development plan and a culture supporting it will be a strategic advantage for organizations in all industries.