Skill-building: who has the time?

Computer keyboard with key LearnOur office recently completed the 2014 staff development survey.  As leaders we know that development is important and our employees need new skills and abilities to contribute to successful change. Yet the survey showed that many don’t feel they have the tools they need. Just slightly over half (59%) of the employees who responded to the survey agreed with the statement that “my workplace gives me the tools I need to be successful on the job.”

This highlights an opportunity for us as leaders. Are we aware of what our team members need in order to be successful?  How can we provide it? Most important, how can we help people build capacity to meet future needs while still addressing their current workload?

Two trends in the survey provided interesting clues. First, among employees who did not attend training, there was a substantial decrease in the number of employees agreeing that one reason was “timing conflicted with my work commitments.” As more development activities occur online, people may be finding it easier to work it into their schedules.

At the same time, the number of employees who said they didn’t attend training because the timing conflicted with personal commitments doubled over previous surveys.  As workload increases, employees may be less flexible with personal time such as lunch hours, work schedules, and vacation.

What does this mean for us? For one thing,  we need to remember  that skill building has a learning curve and requires practice. Our team members need dedicated work time to experiment with the skills and information they have learned.

What practices have you used to ensure that your employees have the tools and information they need to be successful on the job?

Dee Anne Bonebright


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