Episode from the podcastThe Boss Hat with Barbara Nixon

Episode 4 - The Boss Hat

Released Monday, 11th January 2016
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Welcome to episode #4 of the Boss Hat. The podcast which is all about helping you get the most out of your team and yourself.

Hi everyone – thanks so much for listening today. I really do appreciate it. Today we’re going to be continuing with our series about on-boarding new employees which is a 3 part series, and this is the third part of this series.

If you’ve not listened to the first 2 parts – part 1 I had a great conversation with Sara Wager from VisualBizPartner.com about recruitment. That was episode 2. In the second part – episode 3 I gave you some tips on how to create your induction when your new member of staff has joined the team, and today we’re going to finish this series by talking about something which is very close to my heart and that’s developing your team member, and in particular creating a personal development plan or PDP with them.

Now, before I go into the detail I’ll just give you a bit of back story about why this is something that is close to my heart. Before I started my own business I spent 12 years working for 2 large retailers here in the UK in their in Training Department as a Training Manager, and it was during these 12years that I became very passionate about people achieving their potential and developing themselves – so much so that it has driven me ever since.

I also made up my mind very early on that just because we might go to work doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t continue to learn, to develop and to grow. Yes, there may be people in your team that are very happy in their job, and want to continue doing that in the future, and that’s great.But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore their development. They can still continue to develop in other areas. That said, there may be people in your team that don’t want to learn anything new, and they’re very happy with where they are. However, by having the conversation on a regular basis, even if it’s once a year you’re still telling them that it’s on the table should they change their mind. After all circumstances change, and people do change their minds so keep it open.

I also want to mention that just because we’re talking about creating a Personal Development Plan this doesn’t mean that you have to send all of your team on a course and spend loads of money. It might just be learning something new; reading an article; spending time with someone or developing a certain skill.

So, before we go any further I just want to back track a bit and just tell you what I mean by a personal development plan or a PDP. A PDP comes out of a discussion with your team about where they want or need to develop either to improve and develop in their current role, or to develop to a different role. They are a great way to keep the topic of development on the table and discussed, as they provide a robust structure for what they can do to develop and grow.

There are so many benefits to having a PDP. They show the team that the company and you as their manager is interested in their development and supporting them, and that you care. They also enable you to keep growing the skill set in your team to support the growth and evolution of your department and company, and they also stop the individual from becoming stale and complacent by giving them new things to learn. Of course as I mentioned not everyone will want this – although it’s worth mentioning that this can mean learning new skills; will also help the department in cases of absence etc.

So, how should you go about it?

In a second I’m going to give you 3 top tips for creating someone’s PDP – but before I do I just want to mention that I’ve created a free PDP template as a download – so if you’d like to get your hands on this please visit barbaranixon.co.uk/download004.

Right then let’s get on with the tips.

Tip #1 – As Steven Covey said – ‘start with the end in mind’

Having a blank sheet of paper in front of you is often a difficult thing to face, especially if someone asks you what you want to put on it. Instead, lead into it, by thinking about the future. It doesn’t have to be far in the future – it might only be in the next 6-12 months. For some people they’ll know instantly what their future is like as they’ll have thought about it –for others it might be a bit trickier. So ask them to have a think about where they’d like to be in 12 months time (or even 5 years time for some people) and what would they like to have learnt or what would they like to do differently. For some people it may be a completely different job or a promotion – for others it might be doing the same job and maybe learning something new like a new piece of software on the computer, or a new process or working a new machine. Once you know what the end goal is like you can start to work backwards

Tip #2 – What do you need to learn in order to achieve this?

This could form a discussion about what they’d need to know or learn in order to achieve this. Remember not everything involves a budget or going on a training course. It may be that they can simply spend time with someone on the team or even start taking over certain tasks. By having this discussion you’ll be able to start to form a list.

Tip #3 – Finally have a think about what you need to achieve this; and in what timescales.

Try to keep to SMART Objectives. Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic and Timely here and don’t be tempted to put everything down on the plan as there’s a real risk of overwhelm as they have a job to do as well. Instead work in bite sized chunks and keep adding to the plan on a regular basis.

So – just to recap the tips  - Start with the end in mind; Think about what you need to learn to achieve your goals; and think about the resources you need and the timescale of completion.

I’d love to hear your thoughts of creating a PDP please pop on over to barbaranixon.co.uk and leave a comment – and if you’d like the download it’s Barbaranixon.co.uk/download004

Thanks so much for listening and I’ll catch you next time.