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If successful recruiting is about more than just hiring people then People Development is the first stage in any programme focusing on Business Development. And consequently, People Development must mean more than staff training. Staff training – two words which should enthuse employers and employees alike. As with many training courses or one-day workshops, attendees are filled with motivation, inspired to implement those changes in order to improve both their professional and personal lives. Training does not solve all resource, cultural and ability problems. Many meet great difficulty in the implementation of new ideas and fresh approaches to business development. All too often, the very people who have decided that their employees attend these courses meet these ideas with disinterest.
Commitment to developing staff can be demonstrated through training schemes, internal and external development, empowering staff where they are involved in decision-making, visiting clients to find out first-hand what their real needs are. This allows people to develop for their own good and for the good of the firm/organisation.
Marketing strategies, which aim to motivate staff internally, result in higher levels of productivity, loyalty and commitment to the employer. This could be introduced through quality initiatives, client care programmes, essentially examining ways of pulling together business development and people development. The latter should play an integral role, not an additional role to business operations. This commitment to development has to come from the top, and is generally the role of partners and HR professionals, who also need to be supported.
3 key areas which emphasise why People Development plays a pivotal role in Business Development
Investment in training does represent a cost to the company in the short term, which, if implemented correctly will be recouped in the medium to long term. However, while firms/organisations are increasingly investing in formal training courses, there is little investment in development overall. The result is firms/organisations paying lip service to training, without real investment in people development.
As the speed of employee turnover increases and recruitment costs rise, firms/organisations should think strategically how to keep people instead of throwing money at them. Employers have to assess the following: Firstly, identify the staff likely to move on – these will be younger, better-qualified people with shorter service, marketable skills, few responsibilities and low morale. Secondly, employers have to assess the consequences of a member of staff departing – will this jeapordise important projects? Others leaving may not have such far-reaching implications. Linked to this is the issue of where to find the additional resources, which are necessary to retain staff.
People management needs to analyse employees’ attitudes towards authority, discipline, and their general attitude towards management. This allows an examination of ‘management personality’ and its ‘compatibility with the employees’. The employees’ approach to management should be generally positive. Employees will stay within a supportive working environment, where people are managed in a way that is open, participative and allows them to grow as individuals. The dangling of a carrot will be an immediate temptation, however research shows that it is the cerebral rather than the financial rewards that keep most professionals at work.
While careful screening is important at the recruitment stage, a dedicated focus on improving effectiveness and communications, on an ongoing basis will ensure that business needs are met in a positive working environment. Risk analysis should be incorporated at the recruitment stages as well as the employee exit stages, and necessarily becomes part of the more holistic approach to business development.
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