Why investing in your people is more than financials

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”

Benjamin Franklin

Whether you want to identify your high potential staff or prepare the future leaders within your organisation, your commitment and investment in them and the programs you put them on is key.

Hiring a training provider to deliver programs can be the simplest part of the process. When leaders are involved on such programs, the real value and the growth of the people can be further enhanced, made richer and more lasting.

When staff feel they are being invested in, they believe their employers trust them enough to build their skills, experience and future within the company.

To develop such an initiative requires an investment of time, effort and finances from everyone involved. Whether a senior manager decides to partake in a group discussion, sit on a judging panel or even lead a mock scenario, a well-designed, planned and organised program is key. Here are some ways in which staff development programs can be conceptualised, designed and implemented:

1. Knowing “why” you are doing this

“Great leaders and great organizations are good at seeing what most of us can’t see. They are good at giving us things we would never think of asking for.”

Simon Sinek

A company will benefit from asking itself why is wishes to implement such a program. This allows the decision makers to review their decision-making process and gather enough data-points and evidence to support their approach and strategy. Examples of why companies invest in their talent can include: succession planning, reward and recognise talent, prepare the workforce for the future, skill-set gaps, change in company strategy and anything thing else topical for the organisation.

2. Selecting the right people

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.”

Simon Sinek

Not everyone is prepared for the commitment, extra time and the challenges of talent development programs and initiatives. It is important to know and understand what motivates your staff and how they will cope when undergoing a program on top of their day job.

A great way to identify the right group of people is to undertake a selection process based on assessments, interviews and presentations. During this process, the motivation and commitments of the staff members can be ascertained. This step in the process will require time and input from senior management.

3. Communicating the program with passion and positivity

The way initiatives and programs are communicated, branded and packaged is as important as the initiative itself. The delivery of messages and the way staff are informed matters as this demonstrates the commitment being made by the bosses within the company. The communication can happen on a one to one basis or to the selected group in scope. Regardless of what approach is taken, the messaging should be motivating, uplifting and emphasise the importance of the investment being made by the company.

4. Choose a vendor you trust and have a rapport with

Working with a supplier to design and deliver a program to your expectations will contribute to the success. Initiatives of this nature are unique, and the cultural setting must be understood and appreciated by the supplier. Every organisation is unique, this means long terms programs cannot be off-the-shelf, there needs to be tailoring.

Identify a vendor based on the following:

  • Recommendations
  • Meet the people who will deliver the program
  • Assess how bespoke the program will be for your company
  • Meet the suppliers on multiple occasions
  • Ask them to provide you with their ideas and examples
  • Be prepared to pick and choose what works for your company and staff

Ask for different cost options and choose one which is most suitable. It is important to remember that the low-cost options are not always the best.

5. Design a program which can be delivered and will create the impact you desire

Upon selecting the vendor, discuss the ideas, themes and main objectives you wish to achieve. A project plan will be a valuable tool to help structure and inform all parties of when things will happen and responsibilities. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which the program will be subject to as it is a valuable way to track progress of suppliers and the staff.

As you can see, developing your people is an involved process which requires company sponsorship and endorsement. When these are in place, the actual program will be geared up for growth, development, fun and successes for the individual and the wider organisation.

Monica Mahi Mathijs is the CEO and Found of Our Stillness and Firefly Today – a corporate development organisation based in the UAE.