Taking some time to consider personal development to develop skills, experience and capability is hugely valuable for employees and employers alike. During a busy working day, taking the time to do this can sometimes be difficult.
We spoke to Kim Hill, HR Business Partner at Paragon, for her thoughts on ways that managers can help make conversations about personal development a regular part of everyone’s working lives, and what has been done at Paragon Bristol to help everyone progress.
Establish regular two-way conversations
“Most importantly, personal development conversations can’t be a tick-box exercise. Just having an annual appraisal, review or Personal Development Plan session doesn’t offer value to businesses or those working within them. What’s most important is to establish regular two-way engagement between employees and their managers. That might be a meeting that’s specifically scheduled as a review, or it could be simply putting in regular time for a catch up or a conversation, with more of an informal agenda. What’s important is that regular time to be undisturbed and focusing on how things are going for that team member, and what that could mean for the next steps they want to take.”
Understand people’s motivations
“It’s important to understand the career background and history of that person, and get to the bottom of what motivates them. It’s this knowledge that’s going to ensure you can learn about them to make sure that they get the most out of the role they’re in, which, in turn, will be of great benefit to the organisation.”
Highlight opportunities for development within your organisation
“An obvious way of supporting career development is to ensure that everyone in the organisation is aware of opportunities to progress internally. We were really pleased that on one of our sites, more than 90% of promotions were internal. This showed that we’d successfully encouraged people to think about how their career could progress within the company. It also meant that we could recruit externally to fulfil their previous roles, continuing to bring fresh thinking and experiences into the business.”
Show how opportunities can open up for everyone
“At Paragon Bristol, we’ve got what we call a ‘talent tree’, which we are currently creating with different workstreams that our team members can participate in to enhance their learning and help them grow in their roles.
“We’ve established groups to help people who want to grow and develop take on additional responsibilities, developing their experience in new areas, for example by joining cross-business committees such as Colleague Voice Forum or by supporting our Wellbeing team.
“We also offer reverse mentoring, where we pair junior and senior members of the team together for their mutual benefit. Each session has a topic for idea sharing and discussion, which helps to keep focus. It allows challenges and new ideas to be heard directly at a senior level, as well as continuing to provide learning opportunities for the junior people in the pairing, and brings benefit to both the mentor and mentee.”
There are lots of excellent courses available to support career development. The Printing Charity’s Rising Star Awards can provide funding for young people for courses like these, helping them accelerate their ascent in the industry. Find out more and apply here