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The Importance of Personal Development

14.04.2015

The Importance of Personal Development

I’m a big believer in the importance of continuous development and the phrase “anyone who claims they know all the answers doesn’t really know very much at all”…

I’m a big believer in the importance of continuous development and the phrase “anyone who claims they know all the answers doesn’t really know very much at all”.

I think you can always learn from others and it was while recently reading a book called Legacy, by James Kerr, that I began to think in more detail about personal development and the impact it has upon recruitment.

‘Legacy’ shares an insight into the many leadership lessons businesses can take from the world’s most successful sports team, the All Blacks.

It was one of their mantras, “Better people make better All Blacks”, that got me thinking as it is a belief that can be transferred to any team situation.

Indeed, better people make better employees and, in turn, better employees make better businesses; so I want to pose a question to you as a business leader: what are you doing in your organisation to help your staff become better people?

A recent business trends report by accountants and business advisors BDO suggested that the “hiring intentions of UK firms are at ‘sky high’ levels”, meaning UK companies plan to continue boosting job creation in the coming months.

There’s no doubt we’re in the middle of a war for talent and it’s critical to every business’s success that they’re able to attract the best employees, but it’s no longer simply a question of recruitment by offering the best financial package.

The motivations of the modern workforce have changed. Historically it was – and perhaps still is for some – a clear progression path, defined leadership opportunities and financial perks that drove career decision making, but the very best of generation ‘X’ and ‘Y’ demand so much more from their workplace.

Independent and value driven, the top talent in today’s market want to be empowered, feel appreciated and valued by their peers. They seek flexibility and a high level of trust in return for giving their all to an organisation with a clearly defined purpose.

The truth is good people want to be part of a business that takes the time to understand them as an individual.

In return for buying into a company’s vision, they want to be supported in their pursuit of personal development, experiences and happiness; which includes learning and self-improvement.

All too often it seems organisations are happy to back the development of staff when they see direct and immediate benefits to their bottom line, but when it’s part of a wider plan it’s a different matter.

Personal development needs to be a key part of how every business looks to create a really dynamic and enthusiastic workforce.

People change jobs for many reasons and, while the decision is ultimately down to the individual, the majority of deciding factors are firmly under the control of the employer.

The best way to retain employees is to understand what they are thinking. If you value your staff, a personalised plan is one way to make sure they feel in control of their destiny and are being supported to grow and progress within your organisation.

And it doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive. It could simply be allowing people the chance to volunteer for a charity, to join a committee or professional association, shadow a colleague or find a mentor.

It could even be ensuring people are kept up to date with the latest technology, sending them on training programmes or merely sharing pertinent TED talks or setting up a company book share club.

Learning and development takes an investment of time and energy. It will sometimes push you out of your comfort zone, but whatever form it takes, by offering inspiration and broadening people’s minds you will gain new business ideas.

You’ll also improve the quality of your team and their increased enthusiasm will in turn help you to differentiate yourself from your competitors and in the eyes of future employees.

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