When companies think of employee development, they often
search for training programs, educational seminars, coaching or the
latest book that might offer ideas on what employees can do to
sharpen skills or strengthen expertise. However, none of these
programs will be effective if the organization lacks one critical
success factor: individual motivation. An individual has to want to
develop himself before any employee training and development
program can be successful.
Some say they're "too busy." Some say they're "already
developed." Some blame the boss. Some like burying their heads in
the sand, afraid of what they might learn about themselves.
What can you do to help your employees achieve best
Here are some tips to help motivate the seemingly unmotivated
and increase your organization's overall performance.
1. Target the
highly motivated and strong performers.
All organizations have individuals who are highly motivated.
They stand out more easily. They typically like challenges and
welcome growth opportunities for themselves. Engage them in
activities to help them get even better. The improved performance
of the highly motivated will help raise the bar for your entire
organization. Those who are less motivated will have to step up the
2. Focus on the
Rather than concentrate on performance areas that aren't
working for an individual, talk about possibilities for the future.
It's easier to become energized about new possibilities than
dwelling on weaknesses. Determine the positive outcome that will
occur if a change/improvement is made. For example, you might say,
"We can reach more buyers if you can speak more frequently to
groups. What can you do to hone your presentation skills to help
secure more business?" Help employees keep their eye on the goal,
not their ego.
3. Open dialogue
Discussions about development should be positive and ongoing
-- not limited to annual performance reviews. Let the individual
lead. Rather than saying, "Here are areas you need to develop," ask
"What would help you build on your strengths or increase your
effectiveness?" When a particular approach has been identified, ask
for commitment to follow-through. Create a culture where ongoing
development is expected, encouraged and rewarded at all
4. Start at the
Executives should model the commitment to growth and
development that they want to see throughout the organization.
After all, many problems disguised as employee development issues
actually reflect leadership deficiencies of the firm or
Consider using assessments of some kind to help employees gain
a more objective perspective about them. Assessments can be helpful
or destructive depending on how they are used.
In the end, it's all about achieving what both the employees
and what the organization wants. Be clear about what's most
important to both.
Employee development and training is not something to be
checked off on a checklist. The strongest organizations make
employee development an integral part of their culture and
strategies for success. They constantly seek new and innovate ways
to engage their people in development opportunities to achieve best