Employee development can be termed as the application of policies and practices that enhance the behavior and performance of employees. To achieve the desired career goals, a person needs to engage his or her efforts in continuous career development to retain his relevance in the career market. Employee development enables them to be more effective in their work place while at the same time helping and enabling them to upgrade their skills to reflect the dynamisms in their careers. Nevertheless, for an employee to develop his or her skills appropriately, he or she must first understand their career goals and then strive to achieve them.
According to the United States labor statistics, economic news release, employment levels have declined as compared to the level of employment two years ago, in the United State of America. Last year, hundreds of thousands of Americans were laid off, rendering them jobless. This calls for employees to be more careful when choosing their careers and at the same time in choosing activities that can promote their personal development as well as improving their performance at the work place. It also calls for proper career selection as their career choice will impact on their entire life (Nadler 1984). Career selection and development refers to the systematic analyses and selection of a career path by individuals from a pool of career options. It is based on individual’s needs of self development and contribution to the society. Employee development is an important decision that an individual has to make. This sometimes starts at an extremely early age, when a person may be lacking important information on career opportunities as well as his or her strengths and weaknesses that impact on his or her career choices. A career determines a person’s lifestyle, levels of income and general job satisfaction, in the future.
In the wake of increasing specialization in the labor market, individuals need to engage in continuous self improvement programs. Such individuals need to select careers that offer balanced benefits between economic, social and job satisfaction. This can only occur through proper research on an individual’s capabilities, benefits and constraints of a particular career path. Before specializing in a career, an individual should asses his skills, interests and values in life. The career that he settles for should offer a balanced package, in terms of the above variables.
Training forms the basis of personal development, both hands on as well as professional training. Training mainly refers to application of deliberate efforts and support to facilitate learning by employees to carry out their tasks effectively. For someone to learn, an effort to serve a particular need in terms of behavior or functionality must be applied. This can be done through high leverage training, which emphasizes on the effectiveness of the training in meeting of goals.
Benefits of personal development plans to individuals
The major goal of training is imparting of knowledge in employees and individuals on functional skills or desired behavior that can facilitate better performance (Storey 2007). In the current dynamic business environment, organizations are interested in employees who can serve their basic functions effectively in the organization while at the same time remaining adaptable to fast changing organizational environment. This can be achieved through proper training.
The second purpose is the creation of better human capital with a competitive advantage. This implies that, training in the current dynamic environment should be tailored, not only to improve basic skills, but also skills that can differentiate individuals from their peers in the job market and work place. Today, global unemployment levels are on the rise. This implies that, an employee need to have more than just a basic knowledge on function performance. Personal development ensures that individual acquire skills that he or she can utilize to actively compete in the labor market (Nelarine 2001)
Career development facilitates helps in the attainment of performance standards that promote team work at the work place. In the current work place, team work is a must for employees who are aspiring to move up the corporate ladder. This is based on the premise that, when employees work effectively together as a team, they are able to derive synergy from such team work. This implies that they can be able to successfully orchestrate organization operations while at the same time managing diversity at the work place. Personal development promotes high level of social competence in individuals thus facilitating active team play.
An individual should put into consideration, his own ability and talent while selecting a career. They should take a career path that they can pursue successfully with their current abilities and talents. They can also take a career which they may not have the ability to execute its duties at present but which they have capacity to learn and perform their duties effectively. Values that individuals hold to their life should also be put into consideration before selecting a career development path. Undertaking of an employee’s improvement program enables one to improve his or her career opportunities, in a field that is consistent with his or her personal values. This increases their productivity in that field, as people are more likely to perform better in a place where they feel their rights are respected than in a place where they feel that their rights and values are looked down upon (Nelarine 2001)
Long-term career possibilities and viability is another key element that an individual should consider in career selection. Employee career development enables one to invest from an early age in her career, thus creating a firm foundation for his future career prospects. By undertaking the right improvement program at the right time, employees are able to keep their skills up to date with the market requirements.
Continuous learning is an aspect that helps individuals to remain relevant, despite the current dynamic work environment. Through continuous learning and self development, individual employees are able to align and adapt their skills to the first changing work environment. This promotes creativity and innovativeness at the work place thus ensuring that, employees remain relevant to the organization in the long run in serving the organizations’ needs as well as in meeting their personal career aspirations.
Everybody has a lifestyle that he desires in life. There are those who take careers in tourism because of their outgoing lifestyle. Likewise, career development in a field that offers an individual the kind of lifestyle that he requires enables him or her to achieve self actualization. In some cases, people make career decisions at an early age, when they posses minimal information on the opportunities existing in such careers. They also do this, with minimal level of awareness on individual capabilities. Based on this premise, individuals are likely to end up more satisfied if they later engage themselves in personal development in their areas of interest (Pennington & Macklin 2007)
Relevance of a career in the prevailing job market is another factor that should be considered in career selection. Individuals should take careers that will remain relevant throughout their work period, with chances of adaptation to any necessary change in the society.This increases chances of selecting the right job. In the recent past, there has been a lot of emphasis in undertaking of professional courses unlike in previous decades when a university degree was enough to guarantee the graduates lucrative jobs. With this emphasis on professional courses, taking of career development professional courses increases the chances to individuals of getting a job while at the same time enabling them to compete actively with their peers in the same profession.
With the increasing growth in globalization and the international trade, it is increasingly becoming necessary for individuals to engage in self development programs, to accommodate the diversity that comes with globalization (McLean 2006). Research indicates that, people who have international experience or knowledge adapt better in work environments where employees come from different countries. Development programs enable one to not only communicate better in such environments, but also to develop high level of social competence that can accommodate the social cultural diversity that comes with globalization. Due to the growing liberalization and globalization of businesses, the need to learn career skills that are applicable across geographical boundaries is of ample importance.
Career selection is highly affected by personal traits. Individuals with introverted personalities may prefer careers that involve mainly back office but which also require high personal judgment and decision making skills. On the other hand, extroverted individuals may opt for jobs that involve high interpersonal interactions. They tend to derive their power to move on from their surroundings and people that they interact with. Undertaking continuous learning, performance improvement and personal growth courses enable individuals to accurately select careers that are in line with their passion and personalities, thus enabling them to perform their duties with a lot of ease and competence (Pennington & Macklin 2007)
The impact of careers on an individual’s family life and commitment is another factor that is usually overlooked by many individuals in career selection (Goldman, 56). This can be attributed to the fact that many people choose their career paths at an early age, before they develop their own family. A good career should give an individual reasonable time to spend quality time with his or her family. This is based on Maslow’s theory of needs in that, other than financial needs, individuals have psychological needs such as need for love that increases their motivation to keep them going on with life.
Job satisfaction is another factor that should be considered in career selection. A person should asses the level of stress associated with a particular career and its work environment. The benefits of personal development cannot be enjoyed if an individual undertakes a self improvement program, which will lead him or her to a career that offers little satisfaction to him or her.
The importance of a good salary or profit from a career cannot be overlooked. Nobody wants to take a highly prestigious job that pays him or her zero returns. This can be based on the premise of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Unless a career is able to reward individual’s efforts thus enabling him to cater for his or her needs, it might be hard for such an employee to derive satisfaction from the career. Career development enables one to acquire skills and other competencies that are relevant in the market. This empowers them to negotiate better salaries as well as enabling them to get good jobs.
Training as a way of promoting personal development
Employee development can be done through a systematic training design process (Nelarine 2001). The first step in this process involves assessment of needs. At this point, the organization needs and objectives are identified, individual needs are then identified and the task that an individual is supposed to carry out is analyzed, to come up with a fit between an individual and corporate goals, while at the same time executing tasks effectively. Assessment is done on whether the training is necessary or whether it should be modified depending on the outcome of training assessment. Managers, trainers and employees are involved in need identification, unlike traditionally where experts were left alone to do the entire training (Nadler 1984). The second step involves analyzing of one’s psychological preparedness for the training. Trainers come up with ways on how they can influence the trainees’ attitude towards the training. Unless one has a positive attitude towards a particular training program, it may not be able to achieve much.
Before taking any self development course, it is always advisable to undertake self support assessment. This involves planning on how to manage the new skills, after a person has undergone through training. For instance, trained employees may now be able to use technology and assessment should be done on whether such equipments are available (McLean 2006). This implies that, facilities, systems or processes should be put in place, which facilitates proper execution of duties with the acquired skills in training. After this, the training is analyzed to find out what skill the training is expected to enhance. Finally, evaluation of the program is carried out once an employee completes the training. Evaluation is usually done to assess whether it has achieved its objective, where a comparison is carried out between the intended outcome with the actual outcome. During and after the training, a question session should be allocated enough time. This allows an employee to remain interactive, thus creating an opportunity for him to learn more. This can be accomplished through filling of questionnaires by the participants who offer their opinion on various aspects of the training and rating. This is a critical point in training as it facilitates collection of feedback (Pennington & Macklin 2007)
It is worth noting that training should take place within a definite time frame. The duration may differ depending on the kind of training that is being carried out. The training period should be enough for trainees to understand the concepts of training. During training, the trainer should have a very clear schedule that indicates what to be done, when or where and indicate the resources that he or she may require in that training.
The current job environment seems to be shifting emphasis from technical competencies to application of soft skills (Guides for specific careers 2010). They include interpersonal skills such as good leadership, teamwork and communication skills. Many companies now offer priority on some institutions over others in terms of course relevance. Individuals should therefore take their courses from reputable institutions, to increase their chances of marketing their skills outside the organization successfully.
Employee development plan
|Systematic self improvement design||Identify career goals |
Select a course that is contributing towards attainment of such goals.
Have psychological preparedness before engaging in any form of training
Carry out your SWOT analyses as far as your career is concerned.
|Every training must |
contribute to a specific career goal
Training must increase career opportunities
|Professional training||The starting point in personal development is to undertake basic professional training in that field.||The professional course need to cover all the important aspects of that level in that specific profession|
|Team work||Team building||Training need to be interactive to promote improvement of team play.|
|Training approach |
|Hands on training||Involve employees in practical application of training concepts||The employ need to actively engage in practical application of concepts|
|Case studies||Expose employees to similar scenarios related to the topic being trained to enhance understanding.||The employee need to cover relevant case studies|
|Behavior modeling||Mentor employees so that they have a behavior mode that they can aspire to attain.||Optimal behavior in that profession need to be observed|
|Training analyses||To develop, employee need to assess whether the training is enhancing her skills.||Compare study program with your career goals|
|Self and peer management support||Asses the availability of resources or job opportunities that you can now handle by applying the learnt skills.||Provide necessary resources|
|Asses achievement of training objectives and outcomes||Assess whether after training, you can handle issues as you intended||Carry out a test|
|Time frame||Every form of training should be carried out within a specific time frame.||Set specific time frame for personal development programs|
|Satisfaction||Pursue growth in your areas of interest where you derive high satisfaction||Carry out SWOT analyses on your abilities|
|Continuous learning||Due to the dynamic nature of the work place environment one needs to engage himself or herself in continuous training||Keep in touch with dynamisms in your profession and beyond|
In conclusion, it is clear that the above training techniques may not be able to serve the needs of all the trainees. In some cases it calls for investment in a much longer term formal training, such as taking a professional courses in a college or a second degree. Due to the element of change in life, despite having undertaken any of the above forms of training, it is important for an individual to undertake continuous learning in his or her career (Decenzo & Robbins 2002). The current dynamic business world, characterized by increased application of technology in business processes calls for employees to keep on improving their skills, if they are to remain relevant in the job market. In life, there is always something to learn, no matter how trained a person is (Decenzo & Robbins 2002)
Decenzo, D.A., & Robbins, S.P. (2002) Human resource management: John Wiley and Sons Inc. Hoboken, NJ.
Guides for specific careers (2010) Jobstar Central.
McLean, G. N. (2006) National Human Resource Development: A Focused Study in Transitioning Societies in the Developing World: In Advances in Developing Human Resources, 8: 3.
Nadler, L. Ed. (1984) The Handbook of Human resources Development: John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Nelarine, C. (2001) Human resource management: A managerial perspective. Cengage learning: Florence, KY.
Pinnington, A. & Macklin, T.C. (2007) Human resource management: Ethics and employment, Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon.
Storey, J. (2007) Human resource management: A critical text, Thomson learning, London.