Developing your employees professionally is imperative for businesses today. According to research done by the World Economic Forum, the half-life of skills today is only 5 years. That means that our skills are only half as valuable in 5 years as they are today.
So if you don’t invest in the professional development of your employees, their skills will become obsolete in just a couple of years. That will cause your business to suffer since employees won’t have the skills to compete in the market.
To prevent that from happening, businesses will have to invest in the professional development of their employees. And one of the best ways to do so is by co-creating professional development plans with employees.
What are the benefits of co-creating professional development goals and plans with staff members, and how can you implement it in your workplace? Let’s take a closer look.
5 Reasons to co-create professional development plans
Companies have spent decades sending their development plans to employees. They treated it as a 1-way street with the employees having no input in the process. It’s no wonder that most of these initiatives failed.
Organizations realized that it’s way better to co-create professional development plans with their employees.
Since the employees will be the end users of the plans, it’s better to create the plans with them. The following 5 elements are the top reasons you should co-create professional development plans with your employees.
1. Creates ownership and accountability
A top-down approach, where companies simply send a list of skills their employees have to learn, simply doesn’t work. It’s like forcing an introverted person to be extroverted or vice versa. They might try to do it for a while, but it will simply fail because there’s no consideration for the person.
Co-creation creates a bottom-up approach where the employees figure out what kinds of skills they might learn. It takes into consideration their inclinations and talents and uses that as the basis for new skills.
An accountant would likely want to learn new skills that are connected to math and analytics. They’re not likely to want to learn skills such as sales or public speaking.
What the co-creation of goals does is that it enables employees to create valuable input in the process. Employees help determine what they want to learn.
This leads to employees having ownership in what skills they want to learn.
On top of that, accountability switches from what the company wants (a top-down approach) to what the employee wants (a bottom-up approach).
2. Ensures buy-in from employees
A top-down approach failed most of the time because there was no buy-in from the employee’s side. For the employees, that was something the organization wanted them to learn and that was it.
There was no motivation or consideration of what the employee wanted or needed so the initiatives failed.
But with a bottom-up approach, the employee stated what kind of skills they want to learn. Suddenly, it’s not what the company wants, but what the employee needs.
The half-life of skills doesn’t just impact the company, but the employee as well. Employees need to learn new skills because if they don’t, they won’t be able to find an employer to work for.
This creates massive buy-in from the side of the employees since they want to learn new skills. Suddenly, it’s their responsibility to learn new skills because if they don’t, their skills will become obsolete.
3. Leads employees through the process
The co-creation process is not only about the employee stating what skills they want to learn and the process being done. The manager also has input in the entire scenario.
Their team leader needs to evaluate their current skills and their potential for growth and ensure that their professional development plan pushes them. It’s up to the manager to push the employee into their learning zone and ensure that they’re growing as much as possible.
Even though the employee is responsible for learning new skills, the manager is responsible for upping the intensity to as much as the employee can handle.
This way, the manager will lead the employee through the process in order for them to maximize their potential and achieve higher levels of growth.
4. Enables a win-win situation
The manager’s role is to create a win-win situation when creating professional development plans. The employee will want to learn new skills that will be valuable to them. So they will push for those skills in their professional development plans.
The manager needs to take into consideration the goals and objectives of the organization.
The manager needs to take into consideration the goals and objectives of the organization. Using that as the basis, they need to steer the employee’s desires into learning new skills that will be beneficial for the organization as well.
In the co-creation process, the manager ensures that the new skills the employees learn positively contribute to the organization. There needs to be a convergence of organizational needs with employees’ needs in order to create a win-win situation.
5. Maintains a great working relationship
And last but not least is that co-creation maintains a great working relationship. Most employees don’t leave their companies; they leave their managers. By co-creating professional development plans, managers get to know their employees.
They sit down with their employees in 1-on-1 meetings and go over their career aspirations. Managers learn about the employee’s potential, their future goals, and develop a positive working relationship with them.
Co-creation of plans is not a forced activity; it’s a joint activity that the employee does along with their manager.
This helps create a great relationship between the manager and the employee. And, in turn, this leads to the employee becoming satisfied at work.
They have a manager that listens to them and understands their needs. And a happy employee is highly unlikely to leave the company, resulting in an improved retention rate of employees.
Every 1-on-1 session allows the manager to go over the professional development plan with their employees. They can use the meetings to either co-create the plans or to follow up on them.
Even though the plans are the employee’s responsibility, the manager should follow up on the activities inside the plan to see how the employee is progressing.
Sometimes, employees will need some help but won’t ask for it. So a manager should offer to help them in any way possible and do so often. It’s in both sides’ interest for the employee to achieve their professional development goals.
Co-create professional development goals with staff
Co-creating professional development plans with your employees will bring a lot of benefits to your entire organization. It will help by giving ownership of the plans to your employees and ensuring buy-in from the employee’s side.
Managers will make sure that the plans are a win-win situation for both the company and the employee. And the entire process will help build and maintain a great working relationship between managers and employees.
If you’d like more information about planning and co-creating plans with your employees, check out this post: Want to Become a Better Manager? Create Self-Development Objectives.
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