At a time where most organizations have employees doing more with less, employees’ days are already filled. Though busy employees may handle today’s responsibilities, unless they are constantly learning and growing, they won’t be ready to handle a constantly changing workplace and changing performance demands.
In our workplace, we live by the 90/10 performance rule: 90% of the employee’s time is committed to their core responsibilities – to doing their defined job well. The remaining 10% is allocated to company projects, other company responsibilities and performance development.
With regard to their performance development component, employees participate in:
Company-led learning programs
These programs are short “lunch and learn” sessions that are hosted by management or by an employee expert (hosted at lunch for one hour, every two weeks). These programs split their time with a focus on general daily performance skills (time management, using financial statements, customer service, etc.) and business applications for our particular industry and company (learning computer systems, understanding our industry, earning industry certifications, etc.) All employees participate.
Independent learning or self-directed learning
Employees have access to a library of personal and professional performance materials (including books/audio programs by authors such as Seth Godin, Daniel Pink, Martha Beck, Dan and Chip Heath, etc., and webinars). Employees review materials on their time or as a component of their personal development time. Materials have both personal and professional impact and include a “what was learned and how I apply it” exercise. This encourages employees to investigate areas that appeal to them that may also benefit the company.
One-on-one coaching time with management
Depending on where the employee is in his or her performance development, the employee can have one-on-one coaching (because our organization is small, our sales employees have weekly personalized coaching). Coaching generally addresses a performance shortfall and works to customize a support plan so that learning is both effective and efficient. This also connects management to employees to assess performance, detect blind spots early, and create strong skill transference.
Employees have to get their jobs done. That is how the company survives; this occupies 90% of their time. But company growth happens by constantly developing all employees – so they are learning how to continue to add value and make a difference in a changing world. This is built into the 10% part of their day. Don’t forget that performance development in a thinking workplace must always be part of the job.
Jay Forte is a nationally ranked thought leader and President of Humanetrics. Jay guides organizations – their leaders and managers – in how to attract, hire and retain today’s best talent. He is the author of “Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition” and “The Greatness Zone – Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform The World.” Jay is a member of SHRM, ASTD, the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association. follow him on Twitter.