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Date posted: 09th November 2023

09th November 2023

Guest Blog: Development just got personal (and that’s a great thing!)

Guest Blog: Development just got personal (and that’s a great thing!)

This is a guest post written by Openblend.

For those who aren’t familiar, we’re in the business of enabling great 1:1 conversations at work. We’re on a mission to reengage the masses because we know that frequent and effective manager-employee conversations provide the single, fastest route to helping people thrive.

Development conversations play a critical role in this and that’s why we’re launching ‘Develop’, our brand-new module that guides both the employee and their manager through logical and bespoke development conversations that not only support the employee’s growth and career progression, but also their engagement, performance, and retention.

The modern demand for learning 

Let’s start with why…

Employees around the world are increasingly consumed by a need for ongoing development and career progression. LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report describes this as a ‘crave for learning’ that is tailored to the employee’s specific interests and field, and which moves them towards their career goals. The same study also revealed that it’s the younger generations – those aged 18 to 34 – who have the biggest appetite for learning at work. These employees actually said they value L&D more than anything else, including work-life balance.

Such is the vigour of this desire for learning and career progression, that employees have also come to expect it as standard. The question is therefore not whether organisations need to get on board, but whether they can beat their competitors to it.

But here’s the problem: many organisations are still struggling to provide the development opportunities that employees want. A survey by The University of Phoenix revealed that while 88% of employers rated their L&D programmes as good or excellent, only 59% of employees agreed with them.

Development needs to get personal

So what’s the solution?

In a nutshell, it’s about enabling effective 1:1 conversations that focus on the employee’s unique development needs – and Develop has been designed and built to support exactly this. Our latest module guides managers and employees through effective conversations that not only support personalised development, but also engagement, performance, and retention.

And this is the bit we love most of all: the benefits of good development extend well beyond learning – a point that emphasises the importance of development in wider business performance terms.

Benefits that go beyond learning and development

  1. Improved retention

We all know that development is inextricably linked to talent retention: one survey from the Society for Human Resources Management (2022) reveals that as many as three-quarters of employees (76%) are more likely to stay with an organisation that offers continuous training and development. Going even further, research from LinkedIn indicates that almost all employees (94%) would stay longer if their employers were investing in their career development.

Combine these findings with the fact it costs five times more to hire a new employee than to retain an existing one, and the choice is obvious: invest in personalised development to create an upskilled workforce and reduce costs, or risk losing +90% of your talent?

  1. Increased engagement

Much like development and retention, the relationship between learning and engagement is also a well-known concept. In one 2016 study, 80% of employees agreed that developing new skills would improve their engagement at work.

The theory is crystal clear. What is sometimes less obvious is how HR teams can put that theory into practice for the benefit of their people and organisation.

Research from Brandon Hall Group, which identifies personal and career growth as top drivers of engagement, points to the solution we’ve long believed in at OpenBlend: personalised development that shapes career paths in line with individual needs, wants, and expectations.

The long and short is that if employees are to stay engaged at work, they must be developed in a way that works for them.

  1. Higher performance

But there’s more! Personalised development isn’t only good for engagement and retention, it’s also a key driver of performance.

By unlocking bespoke development, organisations can expect to create a workforce of highly skilled employees who also have stronger connections with company subject matter experts. The upshot? They can work at a higher level and resolve problems more quickly.

Of course, at scale, these high performers will also have a direct impact on the achievement of business goals and the bottom line – and once again, there is no shortage of statistics to prove this:

According to Deloitte, organisations with a strong learning culture are 92% more likely to develop innovative products and processes, 52% more productive, 56% more likely to be the first to market with new products and services, and 17% more profitable than their peers. Needless to say, it’s high time that organisations start getting serious about personalised development.

With that in mind, let’s tell you a bit more about Develop

How does Develop work?

Our newest module leverages effective 1:1 conversations to identify people’s unique development needs; create personalised career plans; and provide employees with the support they need to achieve their goals. It’s built around three key stages: Discover, Create, and Pathway.

Stage 1: Discovery Phase

These initial discovery conversations, supported by the employee’s motivational drivers, are designed to explore the employee’s strengths and priorities, as well as the things they most enjoy about their current job role. A development mission and desired timeframes will also be discussed as part of this phase, with examples including developing in current role; becoming succession ready; or making a lateral move. These initial conversations are designed to support an awareness and understanding of where the employee is now, where they want to be, and what they need to do in order to get there. It’s about setting expectations – both for the employee and their manager – and it provides the foundation from which to create a personalised development pathway.

Stage 2: Create Phase

Moving into the goal creation phase, manager and employee begin having collaborative conversations designed to create a tailored employee development journey. This involves identifying three to five areas for development, which can include competencies, skills, or behaviours, and which need to be worked on as a priority. The employee’s current skill level is then assessed relative to the target skill level, after which manager and employee begin to discuss relevant objectives as well as any obstacles that need to be considered. Finally, the two will agree on a clear set of goals.

Stage 3: Pathway Phase
This is where the journey really takes off. By this stage, the employee and their manager will have an aligned and clear development pathway – the priority now is to discuss and agree on the best route to take. As part of this, each development area is discussed using the GROW framework to ensure any issues are identified and discussed in a timely and effective way that elicits the right actions and supports the employee’s progress.

A different take on development 

In case it’s not already obvious, the OpenBlend team is big on all things bespoke. To that effect, here’s a quick overview of the stand-out features that make Develop so unique:

✓ Helps managers and employees to have effective 1:1 conversations about
development

✓ Supports a collaborative approach to career shaping

✓ Satisfies the employee crave for continual learning and progression at work

✓ Follows the OpenBlend conversation funnel (Organise > Prepare >
Guide > Action)

✓ Applies the GROW framework to ensure step-by-step support and goal
completion

✓ Supports self-awareness and keeps development goals front of mind

✓ Integrates with OpenBlend’s Lightbulb module to provide managers and
employees with the guidance they need to have great conversations, right when
they need it

To learn more about Develop, download our introductory guide or get in touch with the OpenBlend team.

This article was originally published by OpenBlend https://www.openblend.com/blog/development-just-got-personal