CONDITIONS FOR EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT

For helping an employee to grow and develop in any Organisation, it is necessary to understand the conditions associated with development. The following are some such conditions.

1) The individual should be interested in developing himself

Development cannot take place if the person himself is not interested in it. The first condition for Human Resources Development is to ensure the interest of the individual in developing himself. Quite often, higher level officers in the organisations write off some of their employees as not growing or not willing to grow. Such perceptions only show bias. No individual wants to stagnate. Only others, because of their expectations and their limited perspectives, brand people as stagnating. This may be because of the difference between the observer’s interest in the employee’s development in one direction, being different from the employee’s own desire to learn something else. It is useful to know in which areas the employee is interested in developing. Through such an understanding and mutual discussion, it may be possible to create interest in individuals for new areas of development that are congruent with organisational goals and plans.

2) The individual should know the areas of his potential development

Although the recent researches in behaviour suggest that individuals can learn any skills, there is also ample evidence to show that some individuals can grow faster on some dimensions that on others. These are called aptitudes. While in the developed countries there are enough opportunities for an individual to know about his potential through psychological tests, school coaching services, family guidance services, etc., we do not have such services easily available in India. An individual himself may discover, quite often too late, that he is good at certain things and he is not as good at certain other things. A person’s insight into his strengths and weaknesses may depend on his introspective capability and the opportunities he gets to test himself. In organisations where fresh graduates are exposed to a variety of jobs through job rotation procedures, the young men get opportunities to test themselves and their aptitudes in relation to various functions. In organisations which do not have such a job rotation policy at the early stages of employee’s career, the chances of round pegs being put in square holes increase. While every individual should attempt to discover his own potential, the organisation also has an obligation to create conditions for such a discovery.

3) The individual should make a clear choice about the direction in which he would like to grow and develop

Besides discovering his aptitude, the individual should be in a position to make a clear choice about his career. He might discover that he has more than one strength. A combination of his strengths may indicate that he is good at a number of things. Some careers may be more paying than others. Sometimes the individual may have the strengths required for a particular career, which according to him is rewarding only in a limited way. In such a case, he should be able to take the risk and create opportunities for himself to develop strengths required for new careers. Through a good career planning and training system, the organisation should attempt to help him to develop himself. The organisation should also help in setting such career goals realistically.

4) He should be able to identify opportunities for development within and outside the organisation

Identification of potential, strengths, weaknesses, etc., may have a demoralising effect on the employees if no system exists for developing or overcoming them. Opportunities for the development of individual employees within and outside the organisation should be created.

5) He should identify mechanisms of using these opportunities and get the support he needs from his superiors and the organisation

While the organisation should plan for the growth of the employees according to their career plan, it is unrealistic to expect it to support the career goal of each individual employee. However, it should help the individual to understand the limitations and work out alternative strategies.

6) He should make efforts to develop

Mere interest in development does not serve any purpose if the individual is not prepared to invest himself and his energies in his development. Such an investment would depend upon how much he is prepared to act. Development can take place only through concentrated efforts to acquire knowledge and the ability to experiment with that knowledge. High-activity level and risk-taking orientation ‘accelerate learning.

7) He should take outside help to periodically review his progress

Persons cannot develop in isolation. Most of the development at higher levels is facilitated through human interaction. A person should have either a reference group or a few selected helpers in the environment for periodical reviews. The reference group or selected helpers act as mirrors so that the individual can continuously look at himself in the direction in which he is growing.

8) A positive emotional and professional climate should be created in the work place for the employee to progress and review himself

The responsibility for creating such a climate lies at every level with higher level officers and the top management of the organisation. Such a climate facilitates free expression of feelings, emotions, free exchange of views, opinions and, at the same time fostering of mutual trust.

The identification of potential and development of the employee is a joint responsibility of the employee himself and the organisation. While the latter should provide opportunities for the individual to grow, the former should get interested in identifying opportunities, strengths and weaknesses, set himself realistic career goals, and continuously review his growth. The individual has the responsibility to make use of such opportunities and act with drive and determination. One of the most effective instruments in the hands of an employee for development is performance review (feedback and coaching).

Performance review can be done at several stages. While it is the responsibility of the supervisors to guide and counsel their employees in relation to their past, present and future, a formal system of performance review can be employed by organisations. Performance review can be done both for the individual and the group. 

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