My favorite cartoon shows a CFO and a CEO in a board room talking about difficult economic times. The CFO says, “We can’t spend money on training employees, they might take the new skills and leave.” The CEO replies, “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”

I see this mentality time-and-time again in business’ large and small across the country. Executives get nervous and development dollars get cut. Executives refuse to invest in development because employees might leave. Employees leave because they aren’t developed.

While it might have been a fiscally responsible move decades ago, we know the workforce of today sees this as short-sighted and strategically inept. Fifty years of research from the Gallup Organization illustrates that in today’s world, employees are less concerned with job perks and and more concerned with development opportunities. Future leaders are less interested in having a boss who tells them what to do than having a coach who teaches them how to solve problems.

Think these trends only apply only to other companies? Think again!

A recent study on what Millennials are looking for in their  next job was explained in an article in the Harvard Business Review Magazine entitled  Why Top Young Managers are in a Nonstop Job Hunt The researchers found that, “Dissatisfaction with some employee development efforts appear to fuel many early exits. They’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring, and coaching- things they also value highly.”

If you are truly interested in keeping your potential leaders long enough to think about succession planning, you need to create learning opportunities that will keep them engaged with your business.  Failure to create opportunities increases the chance that you will experience a leadership succession crisis.

Keys to Development Planning
  • Play to Your Employee’s Strengths

People naturally want to do what they do best. We know that weaknesses will never become strengths, but when fostered, strengths will grow exponentially. Know your employee’s strengths and create learning opportunities that utilizes each person’s natural talents. Playing to their strengths will allow increase their overall satisfaction and create the highest return on your investment.

  • Align Your Team’s Development Plan to Your Strategic Plan

Make sure that the development plan for your team is more than an afternoon of “Blindfolded Trust-Falls.” Simply stated- ask yourself “What are the strategic goals we need to meet this year? What kept us from doing those things last year?” The gap you find will speak to the types of skills that your team should focus on with their development planning.

  • Create Opportunities with Application and Manager Follow-Up In Mind

Let your employees know that the hard work really begins after the training is over! Set the expectation that behavior change is necessary to meet the new goals and the training will provide the foundation for making the change. It is imperative that everyone leaves the session with a take-away and measurable action items. Your job as their manager is to coach them and hold them accountable for measurable outcomes.

Want to learn more about creating development opportunities that improve engagement, increase accountability, and allow you to retain your Super Stars?  Reach out today and let Smart Possibilities help you get started!

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