There’s nothing quite like seeing your business or department thrive because of the hard work & skill of employees that you have nurtured and developed.
There’s nothing quite like a leader who recognises if you want dedicated, engaged, on brand specialist or senior employees you need to start that process in house.
About a decade ago I worked on a new mine start-up for an up and coming miner. It was at the tail end of the GFC, mines had closed, contractors were hit hard and Kalgoorlie was definitely in a downturn of sorts.
Wider, iron ore was still paying good money and some of the more savvy operations were picking up Grads whether they needed them or not because they knew in less than 12 months, when nit all turned around, they would.
Evidently as a HR department we found ourselves in an interesting position, senior level engineers and geologists we easy to source, junior level not so much. Locally based operators and maintenance positions were easy to fill initially but as the operations grew it was a hard task.
Plans were quickly put into place early in the piece to train and develop our own operators, apprentices were signed up, as were WASM vacation students and new supervisors were put through leadership training.
In the recent 10 year celebration photos the company posted to Instagram I counted a handful of senior management that were those vacation students, graduates and green supervisors.
If you’re complaining about the skills shortage or lack of quality employees my question to you is;
“How many apprentices have you taken on in the past decade?”
“Can’t find skilled operators? What internal training pipelines do you have in place?”
“How are you engaging with WASM, CRTafe and the local high schools to create some brand awareness around you and the career paths you can offer”
In short, you don’t get to complain about the problem if you aren’t actively involved in the solution.
In 2019 I wrote this post about why apprentices and trainees should be a part of your workforce planning.
Let’s just hit the pause button on the skills shortage element of this conversation and focus on why it’s just good business practice to develop your own talent.
Businesses and leaders who see development of their employees as a priority routinely see more engaged, innovative employees with a solid connection to the company.
If your first thought when I talk about investing in employee development is “What so I can invest all that time time and energy for them to just take all that knowledge elsewhere” then you need to reconsider your assumptions.
If an employee is fulfilled by their work they are less likely to leave. According to the 2018 Linkedin Workforce Learning Report a (not so surprising) 93% of employees stated they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career.
That being said the “job for life” concept belongs in another time, so it’s inevitable that at some point in their career they will bid you farewell. So I guess what I’m saying is if you put effort into developing your employees at least you will get value, loyalty and connectedness from them during their tenure over those employees who are afforded very little training and concentrated career development.
So how can this look in the average business? Varied and diverse based on the business and industry but here are some common elements.
A structured onboarding program into the business that steps out the general “this is us, this is who were are and how we operate” introduction through to on the job training. From where documents are saved, to the document management and naming conventions for files, to branding and language to the business right through to the nitty gritty of learning what’s required to absolutely succeed at a role.
Allowing autonomy and ownership over their role and projects. Don’t micromanage, pull them up if you can see a disaster looming but quite often there more than one way to achieve the end goal and their perception of problem / solution might just create some innovation and efficiency for the company.
Create a safe space for learning and development. Start giving your team exposure to the inner machinations of the business by bringing them along to operational meetings or have them involved in creating the strategy for your department. I have had some amazing Managers and CEO’s that really taught me the “back end” of the business that ultimately allowed me the confidence to move into management positions and then to specialise in people and culture strategies. There was no withholding of knowledge and information to protect their role. They took me along for the ride and I’m the first to acknowledge I would not be here today without them. If past and present employees were asked to comment on your input in their careers what do you think they will say?
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This post is part in a series of how quality HR solutions can add value to your business. HR is so much more than a set of policies and procedures. Strategic HR Management is about developing value adding strategies surrounding compensation & benefits, workforce planning, recruitment, performance management and career development. The policies and procedures aspect of HR is about compliance and risk management; they work within the wider business environment but their core purpose is to provide a risk management framework to manage the industrial relations and employee relations aspect of the business.
Read the previous post here.
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It’s time for HR to move beyond policies, practices and processes, HR’s value proposition to business is to ensure HR professionals and their practices’ produce positive outcomes for key stakeholders, employees, line managers, customers and investors.
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