Developing Your People One Layer At A Time

An organisation that is dedicated to enabling their employees should pay attention to three layers of development:

1. Cultural development
2. Talent development, and
3. Operational development

Cultural Development
Cultural development refers to the emotional Introduction, Inculcation and Immersion of the employee into the culture of the organisation to synchronise core values, build loyalty and create a sense of belonging.

Most clients I've met skip the introduction and inculcation and go straight to immersion, in the hopes that new joiners get socialised by the current employees.

Often, these clients say things like "We value feedback", but in practice, their managers don't want to hear the truth, deeming it as insubordination

What ends up happening is that little napoleons build loyalty within their own departments, creating sub-cultures that don't reflect any of the company core values they hope to inculcate. Whatever passes for cultural development is usually restricted to the employee orientation program.

Instead of celebrating their being part of the organisation, reinforcing their importance of being selected, it's usually a boring spiel of how do you punch-card, where to get your company-issued laptop and what will happen if you steal company supplies. Oh joy.

Talent Development
The second level, Talent development, covers almost everything that falls within the purview of workplace performance skills. A simple breakdown of competencies are four skills levels of Thinking, Performing, Connecting and Leading.

Under Thinking are the basic applications of analytical, critical, creative and lateral thinking in problem solving, strategising, stress management and decision making.

Under Performing falls everything from productivity and performance, to business and creative writing, process management and more.

Under Connecting falls every interpersonal skill needed for speaking, empathising, listening and facilitating. This includes emotional intelligence and influencing.

Under Leading falls every application of all prior skill layers to deal with large groups of people or complex interactions such as public speaking, managing, leadership, negotiation, sales and learning facilitation.

Operational Development
Finally, Operational development, which deals with the functional requirements of our employees. This includes the policies, processes and procedures that they need to master in order to carry out their functions properly.

In many cases, organisations do this very well, because they view it as the most important training to be provided. This is where problems can start.

By focusing their budget solely on this effort and deeming Cultural and Talent development as secondary in importance or worse, unimportant, organisations will see higher turnover due to lack of loyalty and growth opportunities.

In the end, the same or more is spent in further recruitment or fire fighting anyway.

So, if you find your organisation is imbalanced in how they view this, I'd recommend you bring it up to management quickly.

Unless, of course, feedback isn't part of your company culture.