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Creating Growth and Development Culture

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Creating Growth and Development Culture

  1. 1. PAGE 1 While Employee Development Programs Can Fail, Growth Organizations Help Everyone Succeed Over the last several years businesses have begun focusing more on the growth and wellbeing of their employees. And many organizations have implementation costly employee development programs. While it makes sense to respond to employees’ desires for growth in the workplace, understanding how to improve the effectiveness of these programs can be a challenge. Today organizations must make two decisions: first, whether they will just assess performance or work to improve it, and second, whether they will create collaborative environments or competitive ones. But the number one question that today’s business leaders must ask themselves is: What do employees really need to become their best selves at work? WRITTEN BY 15FIVE Contact: Equinox Partners Ltd Metro City Business Center 51, Alexander Malinov Blvd Sofia, Bulgaria Plamen Petrov plamen.petrov@equinox-partners.bg +359 899 826 714
  2. 2. PAGE 2 A Culture of Employee Growth & Development There’s a common saying in the business world: People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their managers. While it’s true that an employee’s manager is responsible for creating a positive employee experience, research suggests that many people leave companies because they feel like they’ve stopped growing. According to The Society for Human Resources Management’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, an organization’s commitment to employee development is “very important” to 40% of those surveyed. Yet only 25% feel “very satisfied” with the level of commitment to development at their organization. It’s clear, modern organizations must be intentional about employee growth and development initiatives. This takes two forms; (1) increasing the levels of skill and knowledge within a person’s current role, and (2) career development. Growth Organizations Have a Competitive Edge Technology has dramatically sped up the timeline for new companies to bring their products to market. Great ideas can be duplicated in what seems like moments and market share pilfered in months. A company’s greatest competitive advantage is its people. Accordingly, every manager’s job is twofold: to regularly communicate with their employees to learn about their strengths, weaknesses, and personal/ professional aspirations; and to create a safe space where employees readily volunteer their mistakes, opportunities, and triumphs. According to Carol Dweck when an entire company embraces a growth mindset – i.e., the belief that talents can be developed as opposed to being fixed innate gifts – their employees feel more empowered and committed. Business leaders therefore must actively work to embrace a growth mindset and create a Growth Organization. In a growth organization every member of the team can grow their personal and collective strengths, skills, and abilities. The company will grow in terms of product innovation, employee headcount, customer count, and of course revenue and profitability. Focusing on development goes beyond putting people-first and often represents a 180 degree shift in management philosophy. It is more than perks, compensation, and positive work environments. This philosophy isn’t focused on hitting the numbers. Rather it’s a focus on employee development and building a culture of growth. Leaders must now create a deliberate culture and stop looking at profit and business objectives first. While these matters are obviously important, leaders must
  3. 3. PAGE 3 prioritize their people and the systems that can help them thrive. Being deliberate about employee growth includes training in soft skills as well as professional development. Employee development programs can fail when growth is not expressed as a core value of the organization. Leadership must commit to consistently listening to employee feedback, and then have every employee obtain new skills and access the latest information that is relevant to their roles. This benefits both the organization and the individual employee and can be done with very little cost by growing a library of business books or providing access to online repositories of information. Allocating a certain amount of departmental budgets to seminars, conferences, and continuing education can also yield a high ROI. When Good Is Not Good Enough As mentioned above, employees deeply desire to advance in their roles. Ironically, what often holds them back is being good at what they do! One of the best frameworks for moving an employee forward within their role is the four zones of employee performance discussed in The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks: 1. Zone of Incompetence: Employees are bogged down doing tasks that they are not good at, and often stagnate from frustration. 2. Zone of Competence: Employees are competent, but not doing tasks that they are uniquely skilled to perform. 3. Zone of Excellence: Employees perform activities extremely well and make a great living, but are capable of much more. 4. Zone of Genius: Self-actualization (at least in the workplace) via offering one’s unique gifts. While the goal is to move every employee from Zone 1 to Zone 4, the common area that people remain stuck is Zone 3, the Zone of Excellence. This is the danger zone for managing talent. People add tremendous value to their team here, but they don’t feel fulfilled. We will always have to perform tasks that we find less than thrilling, but the goal is that the majority of work that an employee performs falls within their Zone of Genius. This is work they are exceptional at performing and are deeply passionate about. It can be difficult for employees to ask managers about removing seemingly vital activities from their plate because. It is part of a manager’s role to make the space for employees to feel comfortable talking about these things. Career Development, Not Career Confinement The other aspect of growth that employees desire is career development. But the reality is that some companies may not be able to provide a path for people to move into greater responsibilities. John Hall, CEO of Influence & Co., wrote in this Inc. article, that every workplace should serve as a stepping stone. Hall explains that training employees encourages retention but the alternative is fine too. While it may feel scary for managers to focus on career development at the risk of losing their best and brightest, this is a commitment they must make. By giving employees the freedom to explore, you are saying, I care about your best interests over mine. You may lose some of the people who interview elsewhere, but they shouldn’t be at your business anyway. We never get the best work from those we hold hostage.
  4. 4. PAGE 4 When you hire an intelligent and skilled individual, those are merely indicators of how successful they can become. Of course, their trajectory can go the other way too. Only management and leadership that is committed to employee development can take existing talent to the next level by creating environments where people flourish. Growth Organizations are unique in that people feel genuinely supported as human beings. That drives them to naturally want to improve and contribute and as a result everyone benefits, including your investors and valued customers. 15Five is a leading continuous performance management solution that not only guides employee growth and development but empowers people to become their best selves. Through strategic Weekly Check-Ins, 15Five delivers everything a manager needs to maintain visibility and impact employee performance, including continuous feedback, Objectives (OKR) tracking, recognition, 1-on-1s, and 360° reviews. Over 2,200 forward-thinking companies use the solution to bring out the best in their people, including Credit Karma, WPEngine, and HubSpot.

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