Professional Development is Performance Management or Employee Development?

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Professional development is performance management or employee developmentIf you ask an employee on what a performance management is, he or she will mention that it is nothing but the annual appraisal of his or her performance followed by salary revisions. Trainers in particular also tend to view the professional development process with a lot of skepticism, as generally they are not happy with non-relevant training provided, the subjective appraisals and get dis-satisfied with their salary revisions.

An effective professional development strategy based on a performance management system should not stop with just once a year performance appraisals and salary revisions. It should be much more comprehensive, and one of the key goals of such an effective performance management system should be to develop employees.

What is employee development?
Employee development consists of activities that are initiated by an organisation that would help in the overall development of an employee. An effective performance management system is one which gives high priority for employee development. Employee development encompasses the following activities:

  1. Identify and conduct necessary training for trainers. Proper planned training programs would help trainers to acquire the necessary competencies needed for the job.
  2. Give enough opportunities to trainers by recognising their talent and giving them more responsibilities in tasks related to training and assessment design in consultation with the industry. This will help trainers to grow to leadership positions in their organisations.
  3. Identify poor performing trainers and put them under a performance improvement plan so that they can be effectively guided and groomed to become good performers.
  4. Identify any other reasons for non-performance of an employee, like non-availability of tools to perform their job or other external factors and remove those obstacles so that trainers are in a position to perform their job well.

Benefits of trainers development
When a professional development system focusses on trainers development as well, the return of investment from such a system would be good due to the following reasons:

  1. Well trained trainers become more competent and execute their responsibilities productively improving industry engagement and reducing compliance issues. They easily achieve the goals that are set for them under performance planning activity.
  2. Trainers become happy as their development is taken as the prime focus. This will lead to better employee/contractor engagement and reduces attrition.
  3. When leaders are groomed within the organisation, it helps in succession planning and reduces the associate costs and risks in hiring a new employee.
  4. When facilities are created for trainers to do their job effectively and obstacles are removed, it ensures that the RTO goals are met.

How do you convert your Professional Development System to Employee Development System?
Most companies do performance appraisals once a year and use performance management software for streamlining the process (self-evaluation, 360 degree feedback, manager's feedback & rating, recommendation, etc.). Due to the volume of the work and stress associated with this process, the process stops with a compliance checklist or the salary revisions. Ideally, the RTO's HRs and managers should extend this process to identify the training needs, strengths & weaknesses of the people/organisation, people development needs and put a clear roadmap for addressing them.
When the feedback obtained is used to address the ways to improve the performance and capabilities of individuals, the system starts moving towards the development management system. Conduct the feedback process periodically (eg. Every quarter or month), in this way it is lot easier to obtain/provide feedback to the team members. Managers need not hold on to providing appreciations or weaknesses for yearly appraisals.

And, best is to move onto continuous feedback and provide them then and there. When this process is done on regular and close intervals, the performance appraisal system starts to become a Development Management System. Adopt a Competencies Framework and continuously map performance, competencies and aspirations clubbed with actions. Following are the steps:

  1. Adopt a suitable trainer's capabilities framework
  2. Do the feedback cycles minimally, every quarter.
  3. Provide feedback to trainers, review the status of goals accomplished, listen to the team member's feedback and derive specific action items. These action items could be sending the team member for any specific training, equipping the team member with necessary skill sets, etc.
  4. Maintain the scores in each cycle and use these cycle and finding should be used in annual performance appraisal. (Theoretically, annual performance appraisal score should be just an average of the scores obtained during monthly/quarterly feedback cycles).

By doing the above, the amount of compliance stress is reduced respectively during the appraisal process. And, this process will really help managers, HRs and employees as they really see true value of doing the above. That is when "Pay for Performance" comes.

Insources can help your organisations to create and implement a professional development strategy focused on employee development system that will support your RTO's growths in compliance with the VET Quality Framework regulation. We delivery training and offer consulting services on recruit and manage trainers and RTO's staff.

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