An interview with Henk Jan van Commenee (Raet)
The 2016 Raet HR Benchmark shows that 75% of employees want to be in control of their own development. Many employers have therefore placed the responsibility for the review cycle with employees and managers. But how can you ensure that employees feel responsible for their own development? And how can you support managers in this respect? I asked these questions to Henk Jan van Commenee, Talent Management Product Manager with Raet.
Make the link with the organization's goals
According to Van Commenee, it is particularly important that, during the review cycle, the objectives of the organization are continually linked to those of the employee. “It's no use giving employees unstructured control of their review cycle. This will only raise barriers, particularly since many employees have no idea which subjects are part of a target setting interview or a personal development plan. Development is part of a greater whole. It is important that the line manager explains how the organization is developing and asks the employee how they see themselves in this context and thus what development is required to achieve this.”
"Enable employees to dream, but make sure there is a link with the organization's goals."
Van Commenee indicates that, in practice, talks with employees about their goals and development often do not match the organization's objectives or are buried by more topical issues. “Managers must be trained for this. For example, have them organize team days about the changing organization every now and then. Spar with each other about what the organization's direction means for the team. And then arm your employees with these frameworks so that they can set to work on their own development and objectives. In this way you will give them a development perspective to match the course of the organization.”
Van Commenee believes that the manager can help employees prepare for their review by offering structure: “Ask questions like: Where will you be in three years' time? What future role do you envisage for yourself? Enable employees to dream. The manager is there to make the link with the organization and the environment as this changes quickly, leading to different requirements being set for employees. The balance between these two aspects - dreaming versus the requirements that are set - that's what it's all about. And the line manager plays an important role in this.”
A digital coachNowadays, employees can use different digital tools to monitor what they are good at or what enthuses them. “Ever more software is becoming available in the market that makes these types of test methods accessible to everyone. The employee fills in a short questionnaire and the program indicates what you are good at and what gives you energy. Just see it as some kind of digital coach that helps the employee set development goals. This kind of application is also valuable to managers since it offers an insight into where a certain project fits an employee or doesn't. In this way, managers can use the data to identify the potential that is available in their teams. This is not something that software will do all on its own; you will also have to think carefully about the competencies that are needed both now and in the near future. And that's where HR can really play a part.”
Willingness to develop
According to more than 30% of the HR managers that have taken part in the 2016 Raet HR Benchmark, in practice, an employee’s willingness to develop is often a bit of a letdown. Van Commenee: “An employee's motivation is crucial for their development. If people actively develop themselves and are involved in new roles and projects, this will radiate positively to the rest of the organization. Don't always bring outsiders in for new projects, but stimulate your own employees to develop themselves. This lets you create a learning organization culture. A willingness to develop tells you more about the organization than about the individual employee.”
"Create a learning organization culture."
Van Commenee compares this to a football school. Employers run the risk of highly educated people leaving their team. “People leave, that's a fact. Young people in particular tend to change jobs after some time. This means that the short-term effect of an education effort may be limited, but there is also a good chance that the employee in question will come back to you. And at least, such employees are good ambassadors for your company. They show and tell others how you, as an employer, invest in development.”
People love making a useful contribution to the organization's objectives and they don't mind working on their development for this. Henk Jan van Commenee is convinced that these processes need to be supported by tools and policy. “Make sure that it is clear to everyone how it works and what the opportunities and results are. It is important that agreements are made about this and are recorded in a system or a development contract. This will also show the organization in what direction people are moving, what their ambitions are, and what skills are present or are needed. If you integrate this into one process, supported by data, you will know which competencies are available in the organization and when they are available. As an HR professional, you can use this information to make an analysis. Where are we now as an organization and where will we be when our employees have achieved their training agreements?”
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