Last week, Birmingham’s NEC played host to the World of Learning Conference and Exhibition 2014. Now in its 22nd year, the event was as popular as ever, as delegates gathered at the venue to hear best practice advice from industry experts and explore the latest ideas, technology and services in L&D.
Our CEO, Rob Caul, hosted a sell-out workshop for platinum delegates on day one. Below is a summary of Rob’s key advice on how organisations can effectively develop their workforce to ensure future success.
What is success?
We all have incredibly diverse organisational success criteria. For one business, success could be achieving commercial year-on-year growth or improving share price; for another it could be providing better patient care. Be clear what success looks like for your business and shape your strategy around what you want to achieve. Only then can you map your strategic goals for the future.
Developing talented people is essential to ensure long-term success for any business. In the current climate, in-house training is seen as a luxury, so learning and development must be smart, cost-effective, designed to achieve long-term growth and hardwired into business strategy.
So how can you strategically develop the talented people in your business?
1. Develop a culture of learning and collaboration
Effective development comes in many forms, and learning and collaboration is a vital factor in developing your people. Research has shown that high performing companies offer a range of blended learning experiences, and in turn, achieve powerful results. Create a culture of openness and transparency around learning, rather than approaching development as a negative thing that must be overcome. Employee performance should be reviewed continuously and managers should be encouraged to identify and act on development needs across the business.
2. Create high performance teams
Successful organisations can make things happen quickly – they have dynamic internal processes where there is often less hierarchy, formality, and possessiveness when it comes to team members – it’s about being able to flexibly put the right person in the right role at the right time.
A good talent management system can quickly identify the right person for the right situation and can respond quickly and effectively to market changes. This involves harnessing the right skills, talent and experience of high potential individuals, and redirecting resources flexibly to where they are most needed, often at short notice.
L&D ensures the environment is right to build capability by enabling high performing teams to flourish. Removing barriers to high performance through trust and conflict resolution is critical. Managers must begin by building trust within the team before moving on to managing healthy conflict successfully. They must develop commitment, create accountability, and focus on delivering measurable results at individual and team level (Lencioni, 2002).
3. Identify and support future leaders
Identifying and supporting future leaders is key to achieving success. Why? To win the ‘War for Talent’ in a competitive, global marketplace. Investing time in development is an essential requirement of the leadership role, as a leader’s success is measured not only on results, but on the ability to nurture talent successfully within their own team to facilitate people development and business growth.
Businesses must work on identifying future leaders and supporting them by mentoring from within. Consider the type of leader that you are developing, nurturing Multipliers – the Talent Magnet, Liberator, Challenger, Debate Maker and Investor – rather than Diminishers -the Empire Builder, Tyrant, Know-It-All, Decision Maker and Micro-Manager (Wiseman & McKeon, 2010). For future success, you need to continuously review where your processes are now and what you can do now and in the future to create a truly optimised talent strategy within your organisation.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni (2002)
Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, Wiseman & McKeon (2010)