We are proud to announce the results of the election for the 2024 board openings! Please join us in congratulating the following new board members-elect:
These new members will officially begin their terms in January. Over the next several months, they will be collaborating with the existing board to transition responsibilities and contribute to our operating strategy for 2024.
Thank you to our out-going current board members who will continue to serve the chapter through the year:
Finally, a special thank you to Nikki Palmer-Quade who is finishing up her time on the Presidency tract.
Thank you to all for your support of the chapter!
It’s time for our annual board elections!
Chapter members will be receiving a direct email invitation to vote for our open Board of Director roles. There are four open positions including: President Elect, VP Marketing & Communications, VP Community Relations and VP-Digital Experience.
Candidates have been approved by the Nominating Committee for presentation to membership. Voting will open Wednesday, August 30, 2023 and end Thursday September 7, 2023. All members in good standing are eligible to vote. Renew or join to be eligible to vote.
If you do not receive a direct election invitation email or experience any difficulties while submitting your vote, please contact our chapter administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your participation!
Susan Davies, President-Elect
By Teresa Pappas, Ph.D., Consultant, The CARA Group
Welcome back learner persona enthusiasts! In the previous article (How Learner Personas Can Enhance your Instructional Design Approach, Part 1) we showed you how five personas captured the core learning motivations of our healthcare emerging leader program population. We described our research process and how we identified participants’ core learning preferences and goals, along with how to best reach them in support of their leadership development needs. Through our analysis, we identified key ways that individuals tended to show up as learners: Champions, Change Agents, Achievers, Connectors, or Troubleshooters.
“Where our learner personas made the biggest difference was in enhancing our design to include instruction and activities that were essential to enhance the learning experience of our participants.”
As a reminder, here is how these five learner personas were defined based on our research:
Champions: Individuals who, above all else, are passionate about making a positive impact on peoples’ lives, providing exceptional above-and-beyond service, and demonstrating a calm and positive approach when working through challenge and conflict.
Change Agents: Individuals who are proactively forward-focused on improvements and see themselves as advocates for positive change within their role and the organization at large. Those individuals who pride themselves, above all else, on being flexible, agile, and resourceful when adapting to change—both incremental & breakthrough.
Achievers: Self-motivated individuals who set a high bar on their personal performance and engage in a relentless pursuit of their ongoing growth and improvement. Those who are driven to be best-in-class in their area of expertise and continually push themselves outside of their comfort zone.
Connectors: Individuals who are focused on making an authentic and personal connection with others (both colleagues and patients alike), model what it means to foster a collaborative team environment and strive to do what is needed in the service of achieving the highest-performing team possible.
Troubleshooters: Individuals who are driven to leverage their skills, knowledge, experience, and creativity when addressing challenges and solving problems. Those who are motivated in demonstrating the initiative to explore creative and out-of-the-box solutions, while building a reputation for being a “go to” resource within their specific area of expertise.
Through our research, we also obtained the following data to describe the goals that different individuals desire as part of their learning experiences:
Apply Skills & Knowledge: Having an opportunity to incorporate their technical/functional knowledge and expertise; staying up-to-date on best practices in their field; observing and learning from others who demonstrate expertise.
Meet Challenges: Having ways to apply their learning experientially while practicing while doing; troubleshooting solutions to refine their approach.
Set & Achieve Goals: Establishing structured learning goals with an opportunity to assess their progress; ensuring a clear understanding of, and alignment with, the “why.”
Flexibility & Independence: Acquiring learning in a flexible manner, including using blended methods and an opportunity to access on-demand content.
Build Relationships: Working with others to solidify their understanding and exchange insights gathered from topics to reinforce content learning.
Innovation & Creativity: Ideating and iterating when solving problems and identifying new opportunities.
Reflective Introspection: Reflecting upon concepts, new insights, and how to apply them; taking practical and tangible next steps to reinforce their learning.
With these foundational elements in place, we were then able to assess how the personas aligned across two distinct and equally important learning spectrums—key learning drivers (short- vs long-term) and overarching leadership interests (intrinsic vs extrinsic). As illustrated below, Champions tend to be intrinsically motivated based on the satisfaction they obtain from helping others and demonstrating leadership in-the-moment. Conversely, intrinsically motivated Achievers are focused on how actions they take today position them to achieve their long-term leadership development goals. While Change Agents are extrinsically motivated toward immediate ways they can influence and lead proactive change, Connectors are guided by the synergy obtained from maintaining network relationships as a way to achieve goals together. Finally, Troubleshooters are agile and flexible, leveraging both short- and long-term opportunities to solve problems and demonstrate leadership in their roles.
Learner Persona Spectrums
You may be thinking, “This all sounds great, but exactly how did this help you to design your leadership development program?” Great question. Let’s get to it. In short, we leveraged these learner personas by including training methods and topics that we knew were critical to our participants. Where our learner personas made the biggest difference was in enhancing our design to include instruction and activities that were essential to enhance the learning experience of our participants. We listened to the powerful examples of learner personas brought to life based on how individuals engaged with their colleagues and patients. Through these examples, we understood how to best tap into individuals’ leadership and learning interests, from their own words. The following table captures a summary of participants' key motivators, mottos that guide their work (from their direct quotes), learning goals, preferences, how to reach them, barriers to learning, and leadership interests.
When combined, these key learner persona elements are provided below and highlight critical aspects addressed in the development of the emerging leader program.
Learner Persona Instructional Design Dimensions
In the end, the Emerging Leader Program was designed to meet the needs of all five learner personas, as described above. The program objectives were to implement an interactive learning experience that provided participants with practical concepts, tools, and techniques to develop their leadership skills. The program target audience included employees of color who were ‘ready now’ for, or recently promoted to, a first-time leadership role. It was our goal that by completing the emerging leader program, individuals would not only solidify their readiness to take on a leadership role but also shorten their learning curve and increase their probability of success in the process. One key factor in achieving this was aligning our learner persona details throughout the program’s design.
We also developed an Emerging Leader Learning Journey map to demonstrate how individuals would progress through the program components. The learning journey illustrated the pathway through the program, following a Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading the Business framework. This included specific learning content that began with fundamental concepts for transitioning to leadership, involved content on leading teams and creating an inclusive team culture, as well as content on developing business acumen and understanding compliance, laws, and policies relevant to a leadership role. The learning journey also described specific milestones through the 12-week program, along with delivery method (which was a blend of online a-synchronous self-study combined with virtual instructor led weekly sessions.). We were intentional in designing the program to leverage their technical skills and comfort in working with technology, ensuring flexibility (with structure) to focus their learning, and providing a ‘sandbox’ with multiple experiential opportunities to practice new skills while working together.
We hope you found this case study example both interesting and informative. It was a fascinating opportunity for us to incorporate learner personas into our design approach. As instructional design and learning professionals, we are always looking for new ways to enhance our process and end results for our clients. This article series shows how learner personas provide an important tool to add to our toolkit to help us achieve this goal.
When was the last time you've created a development program wondering "How well will this align with the audiences' inherent learning needs...really?" If this is a question you've asked yourself, this blog issue is for you! In this article we present a case study introducing the concept of 'learner personas,' which can make sure you're tapping into individuals' underlying learning needs, interests, and motivations. We will also show how knowing this information helped to design and develop a powerful leadership development program, based on a recent client example. But first, some background.
"One thing that worked particularly well was taking a thorough, thoughtful, and customized approach by incorporating learner personas as a foundational instructional design element."
The learner personas you'll see come to life in this article were developed as part of an initiative involving a consortium of three health systems in the Chicago area. The consortium shared the collective goal of positively influencing and enhancing the diversity of the local labor market. The mission was to remove barriers and create avenues for nontraditional workforce populations to further develop their employment opportunities.
As a result, an emerging leader program was designed to support people of color in developing skills that will position them to advance into leadership roles within the healthcare sector. Ultimately, the program rests upon the fact that diversity in leadership is not only the right thing to do, but it's also good for business—as inclusive organizations have demonstrated themselves to be more profitable, innovative, and agile than others. The opportunity in creating this leadership development program was to truly understand individuals' unique learning styles and preferences so that program customization would be aligned with participant needs across critical dimensions.
Enter the learner persona. Ultimately, the objective of learner personas is to appropriately represent the individuals you are trying to develop. In doing so, personas highlight individuals' skills, motivations, and learning preferences—as well as the challenges and struggles that may impact their work and learning experience. According to Harvard Business Review (Peter Merholz, 2009) "A persona is the single most effective way to generate and spread empathy throughout an organization." Indeed, the process of creating personas shows a desire to tap into the core needs of a learner group so you can best customize your program content and approach. This was important, as the leadership development program was designed to rectify the fact that current leadership development initiatives do not typically address some of the most critical challenges, behaviors, and skill gaps that nontraditional participants faced within their communities.
To ensure that our personas were appropriately reflective of our population of learners, we embarked upon a structured interview process with a sample of 24 high-performing individuals across the organizations represented. During the interviews we collected a variety of information, including targeted questions across the following areas: Current role and work dynamics, work experiences and approach toward learning and development, opportunities to demonstrate leadership, future work and leadership interests, as well as learning interests and motivations.
Data were analyzed and themes extracted that identified individuals' work and learning style preferences, learning goals, barriers to accessing learning, how to best reach them, as well as their leadership interests. Important to note is that each interview was conducted by a member of two consulting organizations working in partnership. This ensured that interview questions reflected the cultural needs of the target audience and provided a consistent interpretation of interview responses.
Results of our thematic analysis produced five distinct learner personas, described below:
We also administered a brief online survey to augment the resulting interview themes, by providing participants with additional time to reflect upon their: Key motivations, learning style, learning approach, and current technical skill levels. The resulting survey responses reinforced certain aspects of the learning environment that would best facilitate participants' learning experience. For example, individuals stated preferring a balanced learning approach, including both an interest in learning as part of a group as well as taking time independently to reinforce content learning on their own. The vast majority of participants also reported their current technical level as skilled, being able to work with different technologies with little help. This was critical information to validate, as the leadership development program was designed to be delivered using a virtual format.
In the end, the emerging leader program was designed to meet the needs of all five learner personas. Specifically, the development of learner personas was based upon who the program was designed for as its key audience. Based on interview comments obtained, we developed a high-level program content framework including what skills and behaviors were demonstrated by the most effective emerging leaders. We then developed an emerging leader program journey map to demonstrate how individuals would progress through the program components.
As with any case study, it becomes important to reflect upon lessons-learned. One thing that worked particularly well was taking a thorough, thoughtful, and customized approach by incorporating learner personas as a foundational instructional design element. This provided an opportunity to later customize learning content and methods in a way that met participants where they were. It was also helpful to take a targeted needs assessment approach across the three involved organizations as part of developing the local community. One challenge that was addressed involved the timing and scope of an initiative of this magnitude. When it became clear that adjustments needed to be made to further reinforce the time-phased implementation of the action learning project during the 12-week program, the consulting and internal healthcare project team met and adapted the approach, as needed.
Now, stay tuned for Part 2! This is where we'll show how we leveraged these personas in the development of the emerging leader program itself. Specifically, in our next article you'll see how we leveraged these learner personas to customize our instructional design and development efforts—as well as the impact it has on program content and approach.
By: Daniel Stewart, President & Executive Consultant
Every group has a culture of some sort. Families, communities, affinity groups—anywhere people gather for any length of time and purpose; culture will form. The workplace is no different, and everyone benefits when employees align with company culture.
Your company culture is the totality of your processes, practices, values, and expectations as expressed across the organization. It often develops organically, at least in part, as founders and early employees bring their perspectives and preferences to the organization. If a culture is intentional, it may only be developed partly or as a secondary effect of writing out specific values or practices.
Any culture has nuance and depth that makes it unique. We’ve identified the Eight Dimensions of Culture, and within each dimension, most companies fall somewhere between two ends of a spectrum. In most cases, neither end of the spectrum is good or bad—it’s just an aspect of culture. There is one exception—on the dimension of engagement, morale, and dedication, a company culture on the “committed” end of the spectrum is preferable to one on the “indifferent” side. Employees can’t be aligned to the other seven dimensions if they are indifferent!
Culture is sometimes tricky to define in its entirety. For many employees, aligning with company culture can feel almost as challenging as moving to a foreign country. Employees may be able to identify one aspect of the culture, such as leadership transparency and openness. Or they may be drawn to the company by specific policies, such as flexible schedules and practices that reveal a family-oriented culture.
Cultural alignment is the idea that employees know not only how to define the culture but also how to practice it. They know the unspoken rules and preferences, and ideally, they believe in the culture and become champions of it.
When employees align with the culture, business outcomes improve. Gartner found that when employees and workplace culture are aligned, there is up to a 9% improvement in revenue goals, 8% in talent management goals, and 22% in employee performance.
The first step in achieving cultural alignment is to define your culture. At this point, a cultural assessment performed by someone outside your organization can be valuable. Someone with an outsider’s perspective can more objectively identify strengths and areas for improvement.
Next, with this information in hand, make a plan to address areas of improvement to strengthen the culture. This plan could include everything from the practical, such as reorganizing people to make teams more aligned with your organizational culture, to the more amorphous, such as encouraging transparency. While behaviors are associated with the areas targeted for improvement, changing something that’s more of a soft skill will likely take considerably longer than some practical, hard-skill-oriented shifts.
Consider employing a guide to help you align your employees with your company culture. If you were traveling to a foreign country, you might hire a local guide at first—someone who can help you navigate challenging scenarios and improve your interactions. Stewart Leadership’s experts can serve as your guides to help implement changes and improve alignment.
As you implement your plan, remember—aligning employees with your culture takes time, patience, and a lot of practice. Leaders may need to build trust with employees, and employees may need time to “learn a new language,” metaphorically speaking.
Focusing on aligning employees with your culture may be challenging, but the results can make the effort worthwhile. Just as someone who has become immersed in another culture comes away richer and more fulfilled as a result, your employees and your organization both can find great personal satisfaction and improved business outcomes by improving cultural alignment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Stewart - President & Executive Consultant
Daniel Stewart is a sought-after talent management and leadership development consultant and coach with proven experience advising senior leaders, leading change, and designing leadership-rich organizations. He leads Stewart Leadership’s extensive consulting practice, business development, and international partnerships.
By: Daniel Stewart - President & Executive Consultant
No one steps into a leadership role with every skill necessary to lead a team successfully. In fact, no one steps into any role completely prepared to excel in the position. Part of becoming excellent is learning, growing, and maturing over time.
An Individual Action Plan can make the difference between struggling to fully develop and thriving through the process while preparing to take on roles of greater responsibility. When creating your Individual Action Plan (IAP) with your boss, make sure your plan includes three kinds of learning: experiential, relationship, and formal.
Experiential learning is precisely what it sounds like—learning through experience and practice. It will include the obvious forms of learning, such as on-the-job practice, but it can also involve rotational and special assignments, such as projects or committee roles. This kind of learning should constitute about 70% of development.
Just because it’s experience-based doesn’t mean your experiential learning should be haphazard or disorganized. You should track your experiential learning in tandem with other types of learning so that you approach it intentionally and with a focus on holistic development. With the help of your boss, mentor, coach, or colleagues, identify and target specific areas for improvement. Identify metrics that can be tracked and measured to guide your progress and evaluate the overall effort at the end of a defined period.
Types of experiential learning could include:
Approximately 20% of your development should be focused around relationships. This type of learning falls into one of two groups. The first type of learning involves personal, one-on-one development through coaching, mentoring, advising, or relationships with colleagues, peers, or associates. Those personal connections might involve formal or informal feedback, but they’ll also involve ample opportunities for connection, discussion, and real-time problem-solving.
The second type of relationship-based learning comes through assessments and formal feedback tools such as 360° Feedback, Personality, EQ, leadership, or work-style assessments. This kind of learning is still based in relationships, but assessments provide the framework for feedback. Once information is collected, the assessment or feedback can be applied to the IAP for specific areas of development. Assessments can also be used as part of a mentoring or coaching arrangement.
Relationship learning can include:
Formal learning can include obvious avenues such as college coursework, technical certifications, or continuing education, but it may also include the kind of pursuits that don’t result in a degree or certificate. Reading books or articles relevant to one’s profession, writing and publishing thought leadership pieces, or attending or presenting at a conference can all be considered formal learning.
For many people who have spent years advancing their education and keeping relevant certifications current, it may be tempting to pursue only formal learning options for development. After all, formal learning is comfortable and familiar, and when it’s passive, as in reading or consuming webinars or conference speeches, it doesn’t require a lot of interaction or measurement.
Professionals who want to develop their leadership skills fully should limit formal learning to only about 10% of development. This doesn’t mean limiting one’s reading or postponing continuing education. Instead, when designing an Individual Action Plan, ensure that the overall goals are weighted heavily in favor of experiential learning, with only 10% of the formal plan focused on formal education. Learning of this type should be designed to support your long-term goals.
Formal learning includes:
Learning to develop oneself and others is key to thriving in a leadership role. By taking control of your personal development with an Individual Action Plan that includes the three key types of learning, you will be able to deliver excellence in your current role and prepare yourself for the next one—and thrive through the process.
Stewart Leadership offers a variety of assessments and coaching options to help you reach your leadership goals. To learn more, contact us.
1) Do you currently have an Individual Action Plan? If not, what would it take to develop one?
2) What is one kind of experiential learning that you have not pursued? Can you identify an opportunity to pursue that in your current role?
3) What is one assessment that you would like to add to your IAP?
Written by: Kristin Derwinski and Susan Davies
As the great resignation marches on, with an average of four million people leaving their jobs per month for over a year and a half, many organizations are finding that, as talent leaves, so does the institutional knowledge of business processes, systems, products, as well as best practices. The resulting skill gap is unprecedented.
The Southeast Wisconsin chapter of ATD held their annual Talent Development Forum panel on October 28, 2022 at Kohl’s Innovation Center, focusing on the impact of this skills gap to those of us in the Learning and Development (L&D) field.
For background, according to the ATD 2022 Skills Gap1 report, 83% of organizations report a skills gap, with 78% reporting that they expect to face such a skills gap in the future.
A skills gap is a significant difference between an organization’s current capabilities and the skills it needs to achieve its goals and meet customer demand. When an organization has a large skills gap in its workforce, it risks not meeting customer expectations and demands.
“This isn’t a training problem,” said CARA President and CEO Michelle Reid-Powell, “It’s a business problem. And there has never been a better time for Talent Development professionals to establish our relevance and make a significant difference in the success of our companies.”
Not only does Talent Development address the skills gap, it plays a significant role in retention. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Special Report2 released in September discusses the connection between learning and retention. Per their data:
● 76% of employees say they would stay at their company longer if they received
development support. Numbers rise even higher for business decision makers (+7).
● Employees consider opportunities to learn and grow as the #1 driver of great work culture, a jump from 2019 when it was ranked #9.
Taken as a whole, prioritizing employee learning and growth presents a winning retention formula for organizations—or, alternately, if neglected, could pose a threat.
1 ATD 2022 Skills Gap Report : https://www.td.org/research-report/bridging-the-skills-gap-workforce-development-in-changing-times-pdf-download
2 Microsoft Work Trend Index Special Report September 22, 2022: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work-is-just-work
RESEARCH AND INSIGHTS
Michelle Reid-Powell, President and CEO of The CARA Group, led the discussion with some insights into how to keep L&D relevant and impactful in a changing world. Based on their research and expertise, CARA recommends the following solutions to combat these challenges:
1. Learning and Development teams should join forces with those associated with Workforce Planning and Talent Acquisition. Sometimes, the best way to fill a role is to recruit internal talent before they look elsewhere for career mobility. Working together, these teams can align approaches and metrics and partner to optimize talent initiatives.
2. Review your course offerings and ensure you focus on value over volume. Rather than an endless database of possible courses, create learning paths to support specific roles in upskilling (especially those most in-demand by the organization).
3. Support and develop your managers. The role of Manager is more challenging than ever. They need to build their skill sets around creating emotional safety, career and skills development, coaching, managing a remote workforce, and how to support diversity, equity and inclusion more fully. They also need a playbook for how to support their employees in training (many whom are new to both the organization and the role.)
4. Connection is more important than ever. Learning strategies need to consider all stakeholders for learning – and ensure they have a role in supporting the success of the organization and the learner in applying the skills post-training.
5. Metrics are still important, but organizations are focusing on only a few critical formal measures. Instead, more frequent stakeholder feedback from learning sessions is being reviewed. Focus groups, surveys and performance check-ins are important for all learning sessions.
PANEL DISCUSSION HIGHLIGHTS
After Michelle set the stage, she turned to the panel for their insights. We were fortunate to have four key leaders from SE-WI to share their experience:
● Guillermo Gutierrez, Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity at Manpower Group
● Allison Peschel, Vice President of Client Services at JB Training Solutions
● Mike Tack, Director of Talent Development at Kohl’s
Some highlights of the discussion:
How is the world of work changing?
Given the level of volatility in the business environment, we need to prioritize HOW to equip people managers to lead change and create a safe work environment where people can share their ideas and viewpoints.
Mike Tack emphasized the importance of walking in the manager’s shoes. He stressed the need to know the daily challenges managers face in performing their jobs and aligning that with learning solutions.
“There has never been a more critical time for hard skills – what I mean by that are people skills. Those are most important now,” stated Guillermo Gutierrez.
L&D is being embraced right now because managers are exhausted. We (L&D practitioners) must prioritize what our leaders truly need right now. Yolonda Evans chimed in, “Now they need us – for a long time we were the scapegoat. For the first time L&D is a first responder – double edged sword!” Yolonda exclaimed.
An interesting observation shared by Allison: “we are also finding that what is challenging now are the informal conversations that were happening before the pandemic are now more formal conversations in the remote world.” There is a need to be more intentional about having those informal conversations.
How do you make a business case for training?
We are all going to have a moment when we have to sell training as an investment: tell a story - why the training matters, why is it important? Talk about money but also the time invested by managers. Talk about skills and well-being – think about internal and external customers. A manager’s stakeholders are their direct reports. If a manager attends a training, what impact is that having on the employees of the manager’s team? What does attrition/retention look like? How will your learning strategy impact people three layers removed?
Mike outlined how Kohl’s has changed their approach in how they offer training. His group found that they were offering too many options for the same type of training. People signed up but did not attend the training session leading to inefficiencies in deploying their limited training resources.
In response, the team tried a cohort model with a limited period to sign up for a limited number of seats. This created a sense of urgency around the training. They had four cohorts out of 50 people and all four filled up within 30 minutes. They did not change what they were offering but changed how they marketed it. A business case can be made by looking at how many people are clamoring for the training. This also required Mike’s team to be comfortable with having too many people interested.
What metrics are you using?
Allison noted that companies continue to track metrics including attendance, sign up vs. show up rate, net promoter scores, number of people reached, facilitator score, relevance to own job, tracking any barriers to application, etc. BUT – over the past year she has also seen a major shift to this idea of tracking sentiment, versus tracking skill. Michelle noted that this is something not traditionally done but could be a measure of engagement. Tracking sentiment can be a meaningful metric; if it goes well that is the business case for the training. If not, then the case can be made for why the training must happen.
Adding to that, Guilermo emphasized “ Show me the value rather than show me the numbers. How are we going to figure out what training did to the culture? How will we add questions to measure that? How can you be innovative in culture – how will your learning strategy impact people three layers removed.”
Lastly, panelists shared some final thoughts -
Our thanks to the panelists and attendees for this dynamic, engaging, and insightful discussion!
Mark your calendars for this year’s Talent Development Forum scheduled for October 27, 2023 at Kohl’s Innovation Center!
By: Nolan Godfrey
Regional Director & Executive Consultant
One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is navigating the tension between achieving results and developing people. As leaders concerned with business outcomes, performance management is vital, and there is a constant need to drive improvement for better results. However, improving performance involves developing people; without skilled team members to drive business outcomes, performance can't improve. Leaders may hesitate to develop team members, sensing that taking the time to develop people may slow down results. How can you develop your people while also driving business outcomes?
It's important to understand that performance and development are fundamentally very similar ideas. Performance management—"getting stuff done"—is one side of the coin, while development—the acquisition of skills, attitude, and knowledge to "get stuff done"—is the other side.
Performance management is a four-step cycle that includes essential aspects of development. By integrating development into this performance management cycle, leaders can drive development and outcomes to maximize results.
At this stage of performance management, leaders and team members will engage in conversation about expectations and goals for the position, project, or assignment. The level and type of conversation will depend largely on the competence and experience of the team member. Someone who is newer, earlier in a career, or less experienced will need more structured guidance and interaction throughout the cycle than someone who has a higher level of competence. Setting these expectations and goals up front will give clear metrics to measure outcomes so that no one is left guessing.
Development primarily happens in steps two and three of the performance management cycle. Once expectations and goals are established, leaders and managers need to set up the tools, resources, or training required to accomplish the task. Again, the level of resources provided by a manager depends mainly on how skilled the employee is. However, even a skilled and experienced employee may have knowledge gaps, and an open and ongoing conversation about what development is needed can improve outcomes.
Steps two and three are almost a short cycle within themselves in that there is a constant flow back and forth between providing resources and monitoring and giving feedback. Much of the interaction in this step will consist of informal coaching—a conversation between you and your team member about progress and any necessary adjustments toward completing a task.
Don't forget this vital step in the performance management cycle—rewarding and recognizing people for their successes! Reward and recognition fuel ongoing enthusiasm and propel team members into the next task for continued high performance and comprehensive development.
By understanding that performance management and development go hand-in-hand, you can take your performance management to the next level and upskill your people for long-term growth.
Talent Development Forum Summary
As the great resignation continues to march on, many organizations are finding that as talent leaves, so does all the business process, system, product, and best practices expertise. Our Talent Forum on October 28, 2022, discussed the challenges we are facing from an L&D perspective. We had a record number attending the event this year! Thank you to all our volunteers who helped make this event such a success, especially Rochelle Behling for producing the event and Kohl’s for hosting.
Here are some highlights…..
Michelle Reid-Powell from the CARA group led off the discussion with some insights into how to keep L&D relevant and impactful in a changing world. Based on their research and expertise, CARA recommends the following solutions to combat these challenges:
After Michelle set the stage, we turned to our panel for their insights. We were fortunate to have four key leaders from SE-WI to share their experience:
As there is so much volatility in the business, we need to prioritize HOW to equip people managers to lead change and create a safe work environment where people are able to share their ideas and viewpoints. Mike Tack emphasized the importance of walking in the managers’ shoes. He stressed the need to know the daily challenges managers face in performing their jobs and aligning that with learning solutions.
“Never more critical time for hard skills – what I mean by that are people skills. Those are most important now,” stated Guillermo Gutierrez.
L&D is being embraced right now because managers are exhausted. We (L&D practitioners) have to prioritize what our leaders truly need right now. Yolanda Evans chimed in, “Now they need us – for a long time we were the scapegoat. For the first time you are a first responder – double edged sword!” Yolonda exclaimed.
An interesting observation shared by Allison included, “we are also finding that what is challenging now are the informal conversations that were happening before the pandemic are now more formal conversations in the remote world.”
Looking for more tips or solutions? A detailed white paper will be coming in December.
By: Taura Prosek, Director - Business Development & Executive Coach
As companies have grappled with employee retention and a general worker shortage over the last two years, the circumstances around the pandemic have revealed several weaknesses around the talent wars. Some employees who were furloughed or let go when businesses shut down have simply retired or started their own businesses.
Other employees endured the struggles around working remotely only to burn out and decide to find a better work-life balance elsewhere. And as the talent shortage continues to grow, leaders are left trying to figure out where to hire talented people and how to keep the ones they have.
While there is much necessary conversation around such factors as expanded hybrid and flexible work options, wellness and work-life balance, and DE&I initiatives, among other things, one area that can be overlooked is the role that career development plays in employee engagement and retention. It’s not just training for their current jobs that employees care about; rather, they want to know that their companies and leaders are willing to invest in their careers for the long term, whether they stay or not.
Investing in employee career paths can be expensive, and for companies watching the bottom line, it may be tough to justify the cost of providing coaching and training. Some companies may fear that they will train and mentor talented people who will then take their skills elsewhere.
Both lines of thinking, however, are rooted in short-term thinking. The truth is that replacing an employee can cost anywhere from 1.5 to 2 times the employee’s annual salary–possibly even more for high-level employees, and employees are more likely to leave a company that does not provide learning and career development opportunities. In fact, a survey from late 2021 showed that 72% of tech workers were thinking of leaving their jobs because of limited career development and learning opportunities.
Given these realities, it’s clear that career development is a strategic retention choice. In fact, investing in the future careers of your employees may be the key to thriving during the ongoing talent shortage.
Here are four ways that investing in the career development of your staff can help you thrive during the ongoing talent wars:
Leaders intuitively understand that happy employees are more engaged and more likely to stay with the company, but they may struggle to know exactly how to give employees the experience they crave. While things like wellness programs or flexible work schedules are essential, it’s important not to neglect the value of career development across the employee population. One study found that employees who are given professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged in their jobs and had a 34% higher retention rate.
No one knows exactly what the future holds, but when organizations such as the World Economic Forum predict that 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, it’s a safe bet that educating and training current employees will pay off in more skilled people who can meet future demands. And this doesn’t just mean retraining employees to use different technologies; it may also mean upskilling employees who could benefit from academic instruction or management training.
Companies that invest in the long-term careers of their current employees are giving those people the opportunities to explore interests, find new talents, and practice new skills. This endorsement of exploration and curiosity can unleash employee potential and help them find a niche where they can flourish It also communicates that leaders recognize their potential and want to develop it. Employees tend to rise to the occasion when given the opportunity to chart a career path with full support from their leaders.
Giving employees career development opportunities internally can only strengthen the performance of the company. An organization with a strong reputation for helping people grow their careers can attract other talented people, giving the organization an advantage in attracting and retaining talent.
As the war for talent continues to heat up, companies will need every edge to stay competitive in an employee-driven market. Aside from the current “Great Resignation,” the ongoing and anticipated shortage of skilled workers will mean continued competition for high-quality employees. Helping everyone in your organization plan a career path and pursue development opportunities toward those goals could be the key to thriving and growing throughout whatever the future of work brings.
Contact Usadmin@sewi-atd.orgPhone: 608-204-9815Association ManagersSeth TrickelHeather L. Dyer, CAE