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How to Build a People Development Strategy That Actually Works
The HR department is the heart of any company’s internal procedures. It defines company culture, ensures employees have proper training and is central to creating a strong people development strategy.
People development strategies help HR teams and leaders build a successful company by evaluating skills gaps and ensuring employees meet their career goals.
It sounds great, but how do you build a strategy that actually works? Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we’ll reveal how to create a plan that works for your organisation and sets up your team for success.
Read on to power up your HR department and get lasting results from each employee.
What is people development?
People development gives individuals the skills, attitude and knowledge to meet company objectives and fulfil their career goals. It involves both formal training and informal on-the-job learning and can include activities such as coaching, mentoring, feedback sessions, job rotation and team-building exercises.
People development is often seen as an investment in employees that pays dividends in terms of increased morale, higher levels of productivity and improved quality of work.
Human resources professionals are instrumental in building people development strategies, and understanding how to isolate each employee’s needs will ensure you can support managers in meeting them.
What are the benefits of developing your people?
Is developing employees really worth the extra effort? Yes, it absolutely is. When you look at the sheer benefits of coming up with effective development plans, you’ll see how the effort and investment can pay off.
Here are the main advantages of people development:
1. Retaining your people
According to Monster, the average UK employee turnover rate is 15% per year, which might not seem like much, but we have to factor in the costs of recruiting and training a new employee too.
Not training your team and failing to offer development opportunities can increase your turnover rate and impact your finances.
Retaining your current staff is much more cost-effective than training new employees, and people development is central to retention rates.
2. Create a strong company culture
A job is no longer a job today. Our digital-first world and changing priorities mean people want to work for a company they can be proud of. Company culture is about setting expectations about how all employees and management should work.
For example, positive company culture is a supportive and collaborative environment where senior managers listen to entry-level staff and consider their needs.
If you make it your mission to develop people, you show each employee that they matter and create a positive culture.
3. Upskill and reap the rewards
Skilled employees build better companies; we all know how growth potential defines a business’s future success. However, let’s not forget that learning how to create effective career progression plans also helps HR teams build vital skills.
Development is an investment, it will strengthen a workforce and help even small businesses compete with large companies.
The do’s and don’ts of developing people
People development is an ongoing process that requires sustained effort and commitment. It’s not something you can just dive into because communication and support are central to building each employee’s confidence.
Most importantly, there are certain do’s and don’ts when it comes to developing people – the key is to ensure each individual is empowered with the right tools and resources to grow in their role.
Here are our top do’s and do not’s for people development:
✅ Do: Prioritise communication
Communication is key when trying to develop people because everyone has different needs. Managers and employees must find common ground, and HR departments should be accessible instead of hidden away.
✅ Do: Build and identify
Everyone has unique skills and abilities, so it’s vital for a company to build upon existing skill sets and identify areas for improvement.
You’ll also need to isolate the right training opportunities for people, including workshops, online courses or bringing specialists in.
✅ Do: Measure results
Successful people development strategies must also include measures for tracking progress and measuring results. Leaders should regularly assess employee performance with targeted feedback that focuses on what has been achieved rather than just what hasn’t been done.
❌ Don’t: Treat everyone the same
When it comes to development, nobody is the same. You should always assess each individual’s unique needs and balance them with company goals.
❌ Don’t: Forget to recognise achievements
Your team needs to know they’re appreciated, and recognition goes a long way to employee retention levels. Incentive schemes yield positive results when utilised correctly, as you can see from this Webinar Care article.
❌ Don’t: Forget HR training
Human resources teams must also ensure they have the necessary skills and tools to support employees. Understanding how to identify needs and come up with the right plan takes time and effort, so proper training is something you should never avoid.
Examples of people development strategies to implement in 2023
So, now you know more about why it’s crucial to develop people and how to create the right plans, it’s time to look at the best strategies to implement. Whether you choose one or combine some of these strategies, they will deliver results if you stick with them.
1. Mentorship and coaching
Mentorship and workplace coaching are so important right now, and companies continue to utilise them. You can see how some of the world’s biggest companies are building successful teams with mentoring in place to get inspiration for your programme.
A report by NBC states that nine in ten workers with a career mentor are happy in their jobs. The numbers speak for themselves.
2. Job shadowing
Job shadowing is a learning and observation technique in which individuals closely follow and observe someone in their workplace, typically a professional or an expert in a specific field.
The great thing about shadowing is that the employee learns from an expert and gains vital hands-on experience, making training a lot easier.
3. Peer coaching
Peer coaching is one of the best ways to create a positive company culture, as it involves people working together and supporting one another. The reciprocal relationship includes constructive feedback and sharing ideas.
This type of coaching can be highly beneficial, and it also gives employees more autonomy.
4. Job rotations
Job rotation involve moving employees across various departments and giving them multiple tasks and responsibilities. The positive thing about rotations is they can help people identify their strengths and facilitate personal development.
However, rotations aren’t always possible in some companies, so it depends on whether you can utilise them effectively.
5. Creating a learning culture
Some companies believe they have a learning culture, but encouraging employees to develop their skills isn’t enough.
For example, a learning and growth mindset often means employees share what they learn with co-workers, and managers use every experience as a development opportunity.
It takes a while to instil the culture in existing and new employees, but the end result justifies the means.
Prioritising people development allows businesses to grow and foster a supportive and collaborative culture.
By taking the time to work with employees and management, HR teams can boost retention levels and create an environment where everyone can thrive.
Investing in your people is one of the best investments you can make for long-term success, so try it today and be amazed at the results you get.