Leadership

The C-Suite and Employee Development: 3 Tips

What can C-Suite learn about people development? Today we’ll find out from Andy Lothian, the Chief Executive Officer of Insights Learning and Development.

As leaders know all too well, you won’t find a résumé outlining a job candidate’s biggest achievements as “successfully working with people with wildly different personalities than their own” or “navigating difficult professional situations with strength and grace.”

The working world just isn’t set up like that, which is understandable and unfortunate because it is these exact skills that enhance or diminish an organization’s collective value. While a candidate’s work experience and technical skills should be rightly featured in their résumé, it is not these competencies to which organizational growth is intrinsically tied.

I have founded my 30-year career on the notion that helping people develop individually is an enabler of companies being able to develop organizationally. Interpersonal skills drive real bottom-line results and a growing body of research supports this claim. A Korn Ferry study found that over a 30-month period, publicly-traded companies employing professionals who exhibit higher levels of self-awareness enjoyed a higher rate of return than those who didn’t.

Although the connection is clear, sometimes even the most well-intentioned executives could be reminded that personal breakthroughs lead to business breakthroughs. Here are some tips HR leaders can use to help top management prioritize employee development:

  1. People Development Isn’t an Add-On

While there are many crucial facets to growing a business, nothing would be possible without the right people. After all, it’s people, who come up with the ideas that create business value. Creativity, initiative, and commitment are difficult to show on a balance sheet, but they’re among your company’s most critical components and they all reside with your workforce. Because of this, developing your people can’t be an add-on if you want to propel your business forward; rather, it’s the fuel that keeps your business’ engine running.

Sometimes executives resist investing in learning and development because they’re worried that they’ll spend vast amounts of money training and bettering people, and then those people might leave. But honestly, what’s worse: if they leave or if you don’t invest in them and they stay? Investments in people development initiatives can be strategic investments like all other strategic business projects. Just as you have quarterly fiscal goals and sales goals, your company should have enterprise-wide employee development and engagement goals too.

Tomorrow we’ll hear more from Lothain on this topic.

Andy Lothian is the Chief Executive Officer of Insights Learning and Development. Named the 2016 EY Entrepreneur for the Year for Scotland, Lothian is dedicated to the connection between personal development and business development.