Six Strategies of Staff Development
(Extracted from Talanta: Ojijo’s Guide to Identifying, Developing and Selling My Talent & Career Skills.)
“My greatest resource is my people; my greatest strength is their knowledge.”
The challenges associated with the changing nature of work and the workplace environment are real and hence require a skilled workforce with employees who are adaptive, flexible, and focused on the future.
Staff development is the process through which employees acquire new or advanced skills (job skills & transferable skills).
Staff development is a joint, on-going effort on the part of an employee and the organization for which she works to upgrade the Staff’s job skills & transferable skills. Successful Staff development requires a balance between an individual’s career needs and goals and the organization’s need to get work done. Staff Development leads to achievement of an individual’s career goals as well as the organization’s objectives.
ق Why Should Staff Skills and Abilities Be Developed?
Staff development programs make positive contributions to organizational performance. A more highly-skilled workforce can accomplish more as employees gain in experience and knowledge.
Further, ‘my staff are adults who want to succeed’. And, ‘I will be successful if my staff is successful.’ A staff development plan addresses performance weaknesses and plans for professional development and career opportunities.
Staff development leads to employees with upgraded skills, working to their full potential and equipped to deal with the changing demands of the workplace.
It also leads to employees with higher morale, career satisfaction, creativity, and motivation.
Further, it leads to increased productivity and responsiveness in meeting departmental objectives.
In addition, retaining an employee saves the organization a great deal of money. One method of retention is to provide opportunities to develop new skills.
I can develop my staff using the six strategies of personal branding listed in Talanta: Ojijo’s Guide to Identifying, Developing and Selling My Talent.
Training is the process of improving on my emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual (four dimensions of the human being) fitness, by getting and applying relevant knowledge. I can do it by individually or in a team; and I can do it myself, or get assistance from an expert, or professional. Staff trainings can be on-site or off-site for my employees only, or I can send the staff to take part in paid training programs where there are employees from other organizations. Whichever raining option I take for my staff, I need to give them an opportunity to share what they learned in the training through a presentation to either their team mates in the department, or the rest of company members, through emails, etc. To keep up with or create business growth, I need to ensure that I am continually upgrading my skills and those of my staff. Attending training on new technologies, industry specific topics or internal processes such as financial management can help increase my profits, productivity, staff motivation and customer satisfaction.
Coaching is the process through which I am taken through steps to achieve certain pre-determined goals in any area of my life, including financial, sports performance, career, project management, and or spiritual enlightenment. This helps employees identify strengths, weaknesses, interests, and values by maintaining open, effective communication and ongoing encouragement. I can improve my coaching skills by encouraging two-way dialogue; showing employees how to identify their skills, interests, and values; and scheduling uninterrupted career development discussions.
Mentoring is the process through which someone, the mentor, influences me to become better as an individual, and hence, ultimately, contribute more towards my projects. Mentoring is most of the time impassive, and the mentor hardly knows they are mentoring someone since they just live their life, and in so doing, they influence others to live better. I can also institute a mentorship program where every senior member of the organization and long time serving Staff has a junior or new Staff as their mentee.
This is the process through which I am told exactly what to do, and how to do it, leaving little room for discussion. I will apply this where I need to execute a specific command, for instance, how to play Handel, or how to kick box, or how to march.
Consulting is the process where I seek professional advice on a pre-stated and specific challenge. The consultant will have clear terms of reference, and will seek to take me to where he is; in essence, a consultant pulls me to where he is, whereas in coaching, the coach pushes me to where I ought to be. This provides organizational information, realities, and resources to employees. I can improve my advising by helping employees develop realistic career goals based on my department’s needs and their individual development plans; helping employees understand the current opportunities and limitations on the campus; and advising employees on the feasibility of various career options.
Counseling is the process of getting professional help with my psychological problems to restore my emotional balance when I am below normal (e.g. I have experienced the death of a loved one), or when I am above normal (e.g., I have won a lottery of hundreds of millions of dollars). A career counselor helps employees meets their goals through contacts with people and resources. I can do this by helping employees formulate development plans and consulting on strategies; providing opportunities for experience, exposure, and visibility, such as committees and task forces); using personal resources who I know and what I know to create opportunities; and assisting in seeking employees’ placement lateral or vertical.
Job skills are the skills that are particular to the job and they depend on the responsibility of the Staff.
As an entrepreneur, I need to be an expert at what I am offering. Indeed, I should remember the old saying,
‘if I cannot be the best at what I am doing, I should quit.’
I must have the substance of what I am doing, and what is being done by people below him. In the absence of sufficient personal competence, a manager may be confronted by an emergent leader who can challenge her/his role in the organization and reduce it to that of a figurehead.
Every business requires certain set of skills. As an entrepreneur, I will ask myself the following three questions.
- What skills will be necessary for the business?
- Do I have these skills?
- If not, what type of training might be required?
Information on learning different skills may be found on the internet, or at the local library. Friends and family are also a great resource. If possible, I should study the business from others who have done something similar. On the need to be an expert in my career, I should read the chapter on ‘becoming an expert’ found in Ojijo’s The Gift of E11even Moves to Make Me Wealthy! I can also read his classic book, Talanta: Ojijo’s Guide to Identifying, Developing and Selling My Talent & Career Skills.
As an entrepreneur, I should remember,
‘the instrument of humanity’s liberation is skills’.
The English have for long held a saying,
‘do not give a man fish. Teach him how to fish.’
To build my career is to teach myself how to fish; then I will feed myself for a lifetime. I will identify the skills I will need to be a professional. And then I will look at how I can acquire these skills efficiently, effectively and sufficiently. There is an ancient saying,
‘Education is the great equalizer’.
I should acquire skills to build my career. In acquiring skills to build my career, I am my best teacher and my worst student.
I am my best teacher because I cannot lie to myself; and I am my worst student because, despite knowing the truth, I still do not apply it.
I will remember this today! I will not just accept a sketchy, just-good-enough solution, but I will look for a program that fully equips me with both information and skills to build my career. I need the knowledge (information and experience) and certification, degree or recognition I can be proud of to build my career.
‘Cultivate a skill, and it will repay you over and over again.’
I will remind myself of this wisdom every day.
Nothing builds more authority than establishing myself as an expert in a particular field.
To establish myself as someone who knows my field and how to succeed in it, I need to show that I have the necessary knowledge. Certification is not always necessary, but it is a great way to demonstrate that I have what it takes to be successful – and that I am dedicated to my profession. Companies usually offer jobs to candidates who are capable of advancing in their careers – and who are committed to helping the company achieve their financial goals. Any expert consultant or professional advisor has built her career with a large knowledge base of hours, thousands of hours, one piece at a time. And what I see when I meet an expert in my field, is that high level of knowledge that make my very valuable in the marketplace.
This is the Universal Law of accumulation; that everything great and worthwhile in human life is an accumulation of hundreds and sometimes thousands of tiny efforts and sacrifices that nobody ever sees or appreciates.
Everything accumulates over time.
As an entrepreneur, I have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before I can achieve and become a career professional and an expert. I have to get as much information through formal education, apprenticeship or personal reading and self-coaching; and I have to amass experience and horn my skills by applying the information I so learn in daily experiences. This mix of information and experience is what creates true knowledge. Indeed,
Knowledge = Information + Experience
In the current climate of rapid technological change, it is becoming necessary for the organization to make continual improvements in order to succeed in an intensely competitive global business environment. As Kaplan & Norton argue,
‘Only through the ability to launch new products, create more value for customers, and improve operating efficiencies continually can a company penetrate new markets and increase revenues and margins—in short, grow and thereby increase shareholder value.’
Kaplan and Norton further emphasize,
‘learning’ is more than ‘training’’
I should hence make sure that my organization has programs such mentors, coaches, tutors, etc, as well as that ease of communication among workers that allows them to readily get help on a problem when it is needed.
I will also remember that product development includes technological tools; what the Baldrige criteria call,
‘high performance work systems.’
The high performance systems are achieved through innovation and continuous learning process to bring about efficiency in operating domain of the business. Moreover, it ensures cost reduction and product differentiation to meet the varied requirements of the customers. As a result, it strengthens the financial ability through earning higher profitability and greater degree of appropriation of profit and retaining larger share of earnings to finance the forthcoming expansion of future projects of the company under consideration.
As a leader, I will stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in my profession through joining the professional associations. These associations will maximize my professional development. Professional associations will not only inform me, they also provide networking opportunities and job listings. Networking is one of the best ways to advance my career organically, regardless of my current situation. Further, networking is super easy to work into my regular daily life and activities. I will enhance my professional social networks. Business and professionalism is about relationships, and so is any other type of trade. I will be a member of a group, a professional group. I will join professional or student groups, associations, organizations and societies that advance professional development in my area of specialization. The English are right,
‘birds of a feather flock together.’
I will become member of a network of fellow tradesmen to grow my career.
‘Iron sharpens iron’,
the Holy Bible says. And all blacksmiths know,
‘diamond cuts diamond’.
If I am around my fellow professionals, I will learn to be like them, and to build myself. After all,
‘a man is as good as his company’,
or so the Luos of Kenya believe. The Book of Proverbs teaches any caring learner,
‘he who walks with the wise shall be wise.’
Transferable skills, on the other hand, are skills that can be used in more than one job, and are general and interpersonal skills.
The transferable skills are also refered to as management skills, soft skills, or people skills. These are the skills that I need to relate well with people, and they are the same skills that qualify me to lead them as a branch manager, team leader, or even CEO.
They include, but are not limited to:
- effective communication (public speaking, written and oral expression)
- teamwork & interpersonal skills;
- leadership & management skills;
- attitude (personal qualities);
I can read more about the four (4) transferable skills in Talanta: Ojijo’s Guide to Identifying, Developing and Selling My Talent & Career Skills.
The Author, Ojijo, is a public speaker and consultant in financial literacy, collective investment schemes (investment clubs and saccos), and business financial projections; lawyer and guest lecturer in financial services law, law firm management, and ICT law; author of 49 books; Rotarian, Inua Kijana Fellow; Poet Pianist; and owner, www.luopedia.com, www.lawpronto.com, www.treazures.co.ug, www.allpublicspeakers.com, www.bankitgroup.com, and www.achibela.com.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile:+256776100059