Developing people, that impact your line (in a good way).

Author:Dee, Kevin M.
Position:HR Matters

Most organizations realize that their employees are the biggest factor in delivering a robust bottom line. You need people out on the front lines interacting with customers in a positive way that builds loyalty or delivers a great product or service. Without those folks, you might as well give up and take up knitting full time. You can't build a prosperous business without a motivated and prepared team delivering the right results in a timely way. Many organizations think they are on that path. They invest in employee development by sending employees off to some workshops or classes that someone saw in a mailer or heard about from someone else. These workshops or seminars usually last one or two days and are given by some speaker of known--or unknown--repute. The employees return to work afterwards and the workshop may or may not get discussed at the next staff meeting. If you're a lucky employee, you may even go to a convention in some nice place if you're chosen by the powers that be. But that's usually the extent of the process, until the same thing happens next year. Frankly, most of the time it's a waste of company money! There is a better way to invest in people and at the same time measure the bottom line impact.

High performing organizations know this and that is why they stay high performing over the long run. There are three steps to making this happen in any company and the recipe is simple--though not always the easiest to achieve.

STEP ONE is alignment and commitment to a set of strategic goals and outcomes where everyone knows their roles and responsibilities in achieving the plan. From the janitor on up, everyone knows the big picture goal and their individual role in achieving their part of it. When these goals and outcomes are developed in a manner inclusive of input from employees, alignment and commitment occurs naturally.

STEP TWO is a disciplined performance management culture where hard data on progress towards company goals is communicated and apparent at every level. This type of rigorous performance management is one of the biggest opportunities for human resources and accounting. Together they can work as the gas gauge and speedometer of the company, measuring the trajectory toward plans and goals. Too often departments and employees only receive bad news when the journey is off course--or receive data so late or infrequently so as to render it useless (think annual performance reviews). You wouldn't drive a car...

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