In today's rapidly evolving job market, staying relevant and competitive isn't just a goal; it's a necessity. As the employees grow to realise this fact, the employers need to be able to provide the platform for growth to remain a legitimate employer.
AI will transform industries, reshape job roles, and increase the speed that upskilling and reskilling need to take. In this blog post, we'll explore how providing constant opportunities for learning new skills is crucial for companies to stay relevant and how feedback and leadership play vital roles in this journey.
Brief history of training
Gone are the days when HR created an annual training plan that employees happily (or not so happily) followed. These plans were not particularly flexible or responsive to the changing needs of the workforce. It restricted training opportunities to a few pre-selected courses and homogenised employees' needs.
The "annual training plan" trend was followed by an idea that allowed anyone to participate in any training and label, for example, 10% of working time as “personal development time” just to realise that most people did not utilise that time at all. But why was that? Because there were often no processes or structures to support the employees in their development.
At Lyyti, our cultural code affects everything we do, and the base of that culture is our values. The first of our values is “Curious Mind”, and as part of our employee value proposition, we promise all Lyytians that they can develop their skills throughout their Lyyti journeys.
That promise is far from simple to deliver these days, especially in a rather small company. At Lyyti, we have taken a very procedural approach to this challenge.
Support growth through a process
A couple of years ago, we formed a new process to support the personal growth of every Lyytian. We call it Growth Discussions. As we use the OKR (Objectives & Key Results) model with a 4-month cycle, we decided to align the growth discussions with the same existing process.
Also, we use the Siqni employee survey to measure our employee experience every four months, so we have fresh Siqni results always available for these discussions. Each individual is encouraged to share their personal Siqni report with their team lead to have a candid discussion on their personal development needs.
That is quite a different approach compared to analysing company-level results and trying to find one-size-fits-all solutions for the development of the employee experience. We truly focus on individuals.
There are a few key ingredients in the Growth Discussion process:
- Content can vary based on an individual’s need (e.g. employee experience, well-being, personal growth, career planning).
- People need to come in prepared.
- A Growth Journey Map is used to map out possible growth opportunities. They can be, for example, “learn to learn”, “the basics of the OKR model”, or “the advanced agile methodologies”.
- The discussion is always documented in the same way to make it easy to follow up.
The role of leadership in personal development
Leadership plays a pivotal role in fostering a culture of upskilling and reskilling. Personal development has finally become personal, and that is great, as individuals are so different. However, each individual also needs a different type of leadership to support their growth journeys.
Some need a very clear development path designed for them, some are happy with just time and money, and many wish something in between. The leaders' job is to understand these differences and support their team members in a correct way. Even learning methods vary tremendously, some learn by doing, some by coaching, some by reading books. All needs should be served.
So, in the end, the role of a leader is to know their team members, discuss their development systematically, and find suitable development paths together.
But the team lead cannot take care of everything. The role of a peer is also crucial in an individual’s development.
The role of peers and constant feedback in personal development
Often feedback is more useful when it comes from a colleague instead of a team lead. It is much simpler to build a feedback model and culture where the team leads are responsible for providing systematic feedback instead of everyone providing feedback to everyone.
At Lyyti, we decided to take the hard way. We have created a feedback model with the main idea that “everyone gives feedback every day”. That is a damn hard goal, right? But we have noticed that people crave constructive feedback! It is just hard to give.
Currently, we are implementing a new model by exercising it together systematically as part of our OKR targets. We believe that it can have a positive business effect and also support each Lyytian to develop their skills systematically further. We wish to drown all Lyytians in peer feedback.
We have built rather clear supportive structures for personal development. Still, the fact is that each individual is responsible for their own development in the end. The employer just provides the framework for that.
All people are different and hence need different support to develop their skills systematically. The era of management has not ended; instead, skilled team lead work is needed to support everyone in their personal development.
The final key ingredient is to involve everyone in helping each other develop by providing systematic peer feedback.
Photo by Cookie the Pom