(note: Whenever I speak to groups I provide cards to them in case they have a question I cannot answer during our conversation(fyi: I call all my presentations ‘conversations’). My commitment is that I will blog answers in 2 weeks. This question was submitted to me after my Talent Scorecard presentation at the 2011 Wisconsin SHRM Conference in Madison. I do not edit questions – because my commitment is to answer what is asked.)
Question: Do you recommend revisiting development plans with performance or not?
Remember that the goal of this is to build a rhythm(see truPerfor around tasks that do not need to be thought about every day, but are important to revisit. You will know you have created a rhythm when you begin to get feedback from people that they were refreshing plans at eval time, not recreating them. Remember that the individual owns the plan, so it should be revisited quarterly to see how things are progressing and make changes as needed. The benefit about using evaluation time to make major changes is many evaluations are timed to happen around the time leadership teams are putting plans in place for the coming year. If it is truly working, some of those goals are making their way back into the plans. For example, if a division can see an expansion coming that will require leaders to lead teams in different locations, it might be good to start doing it on a smaller scale? Maybe covering leadership of another group that will be without one for 6 months?
There is a voice in this discussion that would say split development plans into a separate discussion from reviews. With TIME being the #1 complaint I hear from leaders around being able to do these at all, I think doing both in one discussion is more realistic.
I know there are other HR leaders reading this. Any comments to add?
Have you ever lost a good person because they did not see a future at your company or they did not feel valued? Then did you wonder “How could they think that?” Maybe you even went so far as to tell them after they announced they were leaving, but it was too late.
Keeping people is a big and often complicated topic. To simplify it I often share a rule given me by a manufacturing supervisor from Tennessee almost ten years ago. His wisdom? “Intentions without actions equals SQUAT.” My rule for making sure people know they are valued – invest in them through your actions. Let me share an analogy.
I like to grow vegetables. My new experiment is garlic. It takes time to grow a full head of garlic from a single clove when you live in Michigan. The process starts in the fall, when you plant a single clove so it can put down some roots before winter. If everything works, next June I will have 20-30 full heads of garlic. My investment in the process is pretty simple: a little money, time, and patience.
So how does growing garlic relate to developing people? As a leader you are likely busy with the urgent issues of today. If you want people to feel valued and show commitment to what needs to be done, they need your time, patience, and support.
Here are five steps to cultivate your people garden:
- Evaluate where the person is today (current performance, talents, experience)
- Define where they want to be / the organization needs them to be in the future
- Make a plan to get them ready(new skills, experiences, mentoring, etc) for what they want/what the organization needs
- Revisit the plan every quarter to see how they are doing
- Get to work
I believe most leaders care about their people. I also see lots of situations where these same leaders do not show in their actions what they feel. Taking time to help your people think about and plan for their future shows a real commitment to their success. What is the cost of such an activity? A good development discussion takes about 5-7 total hours (2-3 for the leader / 3-4 for the individual). If you add in three one hour(quarterly) follow-up meetings, the yearly time investment for a single person is approximately 13 hours. The ROI? What would it cost your business to replace a good employee? What would the lost productivity or stalled projects cost your team if you were short a person for 3-4 months?
Spend 5 minutes making a list of the actions you do daily, monthly, and quarterly to show your people you value them? If this is not on it – add it!