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7 Employee Development Areas the C-Suite Needs to Prioritize



Today’s business challenges compel organizations to identify new, more creative ways to enhance shareholder value and the customer experience. As a member of the C-suite, you bear considerable responsibility for building a productive workforce and high-performance culture. Moreover, you want that accountability to go beyond the C-suite and filter through the rest of the organization. In the PWC 2017 CEO Survey on Global Talent, 77 percent of CEOs expressed concern about the availability of core competencies such as creativity and innovation among their workforces. You don’t have to be among them. A focus on the development of seven core competencies can ensure you are building a workforce that possesses the skills you need for short- and long-term success.

1. Teamwork and Collaboration

You probably already recognize that collaboration among employees yields high idea generation and more efficient problem-solving. Tools such as Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud technology provide more seamless ways for employees to collaborate and leverage each other’s strengths. Other solutions that will drive productive teamwork throughout your organization and go beyond technology include training initiatives that help you identify and duplicate the qualities of your existing high-performance teams. Furthermore, you can support employee teamwork and collaboration by building a culture that not only places value on effective teamwork, but also trains employees to be better problem-solvers and communicators within a team environment.

2. Ethics and Integrity

A recent study of ethical trends among CEOs noted increased public scrutiny of C-suite executives and their ethical (or not) behavior. You want your employees and your customers to know that you are committed to doing the right thing, whether it’s in how you approach new business opportunities or how you treat employees. Therefore, ethics and integrity should be woven into your culture and reinforced with coaching and training that helps every individual understand your commitment to ethical behavior.


3.  Adaptability

In today’s ever-changing business landscape, individuals who can shift their behaviors and mindset to align with changes in work culture and environment are more valuable than ever. As your organization grows, your systems and processes will advance in complexity as well. You need your workforce to not only adapt to those changes but in some cases lead the change. As new technologies such as big data, AI, and robotics continue to change the way people work and interact, your workforce will benefit from tailored employee development experiences that will strengthen their change management capabilities and provide the tools needed to adapt to shifts in their work environment.

4. Innovation and Continuous Learning

Organizational growth is the outcome of innovation and a commitment to doing things faster, more efficiently, and with greater value to the customer. When a business challenge requires an innovative solution, you expect employees to consider new processes or technology and be willing to step into the unfamiliar. But can innovation and creative thinking be taught? The answer is yes—with the right tools and environment, you can transform your workforce into a powerful hub for innovation.

5. Communication

The perennial employee development challenge is how to help managers and employees communicate better, with greater clarity, honesty, and effectiveness. Individuals can become better performers if they know how to actively listen to understand colleagues and customers better. Also, people managers need to develop strong communication skills in order to convey performance expectations and solicit and deliver feedback effectively. As a leadership team, you can make communication skills training a key component of your employee development efforts.


6. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 co-author Travis Bradberry found that 90 percent of high performers exhibit high emotional intelligence. You may have seen within your own workforce how individuals with a high EQ (emotional quotient) are able to overcome difficult personalities, and seem to effortlessly guide the behavior of others without ruffling feathers or aggravating egos. These are the types of behaviors that employees can learn to emulate as they engage in activities that challenge them to practice empathy and patience with coworkers.

7. Leadership

You are likely already aware that perhaps the single most important employee development area that supports organizational capability is effective leadership. Strong leaders empower others to be effective collaborators, communicators, and decision-makers, which will, in turn, provide you with a competitive advantage in times of growth and change. When you partner with HR and a trusted leadership development partner, you can provide leadership development experiences and training that will help to build strong leaders at every level of the organization.


Use Experiential Learning to Address Key Areas of Employee Development

These seven employee development areas can be targeted through a practical competency framework, and aligned with an experiential training program that will help individuals learn by doing. Strong leaders aren’t created by accident but through relevant experiences delivered in a context that encourages learning and further development. With experiential training, your employees engage in employee development that drives lasting behavior change and sets the organization on a course for success and further growth.


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