On top of that, your employees think you care about them.
But are you taking a really hard look at the program you’re putting in place? Can you see who it’s designed for? Will it really get you the results you want?
1. Forms breed enthusiasm for a relatively small population of your staff. Forms belong to personality types that enjoy process, structure and discipline. Everyone else is energized by other methods. Career planning is an energetic process. Using forms may deflate the energy needed to create valuable development plans for a large group of employees.
2. Creating a real growth plan takes more introspection, thoughtfulness and reflection than your forms necessarily demand. So what happens instead? People take the easy road, fill the forms out superficially, and send them in to get you off their backs. It is a sad reality, but it is true. They do it this way because…
3. Most of your employees never learned to think about themselves and put their own needs first. They put others’ needs first, and therefore don’t know where to begin when asked to be selfish about their careers. So they put down what they think you want them to put on the form, and their plan quickly loses steam.
What if you could do it differently? What if you could inspire real, heartfelt growth and development in your people?
Level The Playing Field
There is a certain level of self-awareness that exists in managers and employees who are clear on their goals. They almost intuitively know the process for tapping their inner dreams and aspirations, and seamlessly take action on it.The rest of us need guidance. The skills for career planning are not taught very well in schools. We are taught to want jobs that are safe: Teacher, Doctor, Lawyer.
Most people are not blessed with the knowledge of how to tap their aspirations and act on them.
If you want employees and managers to have excellent development plans, first teach the fundamentals of introspection, reflection and action. Give everyone a chance to excel at listening to their personal dreams… Not just the few who know how to do it intuitively.
Viral Development Plans
What if you could jazz things up and open the floodgates on career planning? What about trying different methods of documenting a development plan?
In today’s open-forum environment, why are career and development plans such a secret?
Here’s what I’d do if I was a big HR consulting firm selling career development programs.
I’d stash the forms and give flexible formats.
Love making videos? Record your vision in digital and post it on a blog. More of a writer? Why not depict your path in a short story or novel? Are you an artist? Paint or sculpt your future you and the actions it would take for you to get there.
Leaders, why not adorn your walls and tabletops with the dreams and aspirations of your teams so that you are in constant reminder of how to support them?
Fun and Flexible Formats
Look, as a business coach I talk to lots of employees. They all want to advance their careers, and they all complain that the forms are a joke.The forms are losing the battle. The war, though, is still being fought.
If you really want to win the game, start listening carefully. Place greater emphasis on your intention to engage your employees, and find creative and innovative ways to do it. The traditional approaches are serving too few people and too narrow an audience to have enough of an effect.