Employee development

Business leaders often get the credit
when a company is successful, but
they know that much of that credit is due to their employees.

Such a precious resource must be handled with care, says Robin Cheramie,
Ph.D., assistant professor of the Michael J.
Coles College of Business in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at Kennesaw State University. Constant supervision of the implementation of
training and goal-setting within a company’s work force is crucial, she says, in making both the company and its employees
happy and productive.

Smart Business spoke with Cheramie
about what strategies companies can take
to make sure its employees are constantly
growing and helping the company achieve
success.

What feedback-seeking behaviors among
their employees should employers be on the
look out for? How should they handle them?

Many employees want to know how
they’re performing on the job and will seek
this information from supervisors and/or
co-workers. Managers should provide continuous feedback throughout the year;
however, if an employee actively seeks
feedback, then the manager should
respond in a timely, constructive manner. If
not, employees may choose to avoid seeking feedback when they really need assistance. Annual performance reviews should
be a platform for discussing administrative
issues with employees and for outlining
future developmental plans. This information shouldn’t be surprising to employees,
as they should be receiving feedback on a
more frequent basis.

How important is training to the work environment?

Continuous development and learning
for employees is critical. In order for companies to remain competitive in organizational performance and the recruitment of
talented employees, they must be committed to developing the knowledge, skills and
abilities of all employees. Organizations
can train employees with their own HR staff or they can choose to hire outside
consultants to develop particular skills. It
isn’t as important how employees are
trained as it is that they continue to develop their skills.

Once organizations commit to long-term
training strategies, they should evaluate
the effectiveness of these training programs. In particular, managers need to
make sure that employees are using the
newly trained skills when they return to
the daily work routine. Training can be
expensive, and managers need to ensure
that they’re receiving a return on their
investment with higher skill levels.

How important is individual accountability in
a company?

Very important because employee performance drives successful organizations.
Therefore, employees need to have a clear
picture of their task expectations, and
managers need to enforce these expectations. Managers and employees should be
working together to set specific and challenging goals. If an employee has the necessary abilities to perform a particular job
and receives constructive progress reports,
then he or she can be held accountable.

What are the steps a company can take to
ensure the development of leaders?

A succession plan is important for executives as well as middle managers within
any company. Organizations should identify and groom potential leaders by developing individual career plans in annual performance reviews.

Once employees and managers agree
upon potential career paths within the
organization, then leadership training
should begin for these employees. An
effective leader is someone who can influence others toward a particular goal.
Therefore, this person must develop skills
in conflict management, negotiation, motivation and persuasion. Coaching and mentoring programs can be an effective
method for grooming employees for upper
management by allowing junior employees
to learn from an influential leader.

What are the overall factors to achieving
healthy employee morale?

Employee morale can be influenced by
multiple facets such as satisfaction with
the job, organization, supervisor, co-workers, pay, benefits, etc.

Organizations should make every
attempt to attract and match the right
employees for each job and the right
employees for the culture of the organization as well. A smooth transition from candidate to new employee is critical. New
employees can become dissatisfied quickly
during the first few months with an organization if proper care isn’t made to help
with this transition. Managers can do this
by setting realistic, clear job expectations
and providing frequent feedback. An organizational culture that promotes quality
programs for developing employees
through strategic hiring, training, compensating and evaluating employees can create high performance and committed
employees for the organization.

ROBIN CHERAMIE, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of the
Michael J. Coles College of Business in the Department of
Management and Entrepreneurship at Kennesaw State University.
Reach her at (770) 423-6097.