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How Do We Encourage Accountability for Development?

How do I convince my supervisors why they need to be accountable for employee development? Some of them get it, but others seem to view this as an increased responsibility that belongs to the HR function. What training resources could I use to make the case? 

— Not Persuasive, staff coordinator, health care, Colorado Springs, Colorado

February 11, 2014
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Related Topics: Employee Career Development, Management Skills and Development, Organizational Development, The Latest, Dear Workforce, Training
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Dear Not Persuasive,

In my more than 30 years in the field of career development and employee engagement, I’ve had countless conversations with managers regarding their critical role in employee development and retention. Some managers don’t want to accept this role and push back, contending that they don’t have time for employee development. My response: If you don’t have time to help develop your employees, how will you find time to recruit, interview, select, orient and train their replacements when they leave for better opportunities?

The managers who get it treat their employees with respect, take time to understand their career aspirations and provide coaching and other support. In return, these managers usually enjoy the reward of a highly motivated, loyal and productive team. Employees long to know they are wanted — that they possess abilities their companies find difficult to replace. A cavalier attitude by managers makes employees think they are dispensable, leading top performers to start looking elsewhere.

Our research consistently finds that people stay at organizations because of exciting work, a chance to learn and grow, great people, fair pay and a good boss. In fact, disliking the boss is one of the top causes of talent loss.

Your supervisors will fully embrace the responsibility of employee development only if senior management strongly supports it as a company ethic. Your top leaders need to clearly articulate a set of defined retention goals, including accountability (and consequences) for reaching or missing them. In his book “The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning,” Cal Wick and his co-authors suggest that the actions of a company’s senior leaders have everything to do with whether an initiative generates a return on investment.

The book “Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay” provides 26 engagement strategies for busy managers. They are easy to implement, inexpensive, research-based strategies you can use to keep your talented people engaged and on your team.

SOURCE: Beverly Kaye, Career Systems International, Los Angeles, Feb. 5, 2014

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