Connecting your people strategy to your wider business strategy
Senior executives can easily fall into the trap of thinking that they can’t afford to spend the time or money on professional development of their staff.
The reality is they can’t afford not to – it’s absolutely vital in ‘the age of disruption’ that staff are constantly learning new skills and perspectives, to keep them personally motivated and make their contributions to the organisation more valuable.
“This is a given for us”, says Rochelle Spillane, Organisational Capability Leader, Ballance Agri-Nutrients. “Our people are our competitive advantage and the continual development of our people is key.”
One of the most strategic and cost effective ways organisations promote learning is by running customised programmes for their employees. By developing professional development opportunities in-house, organisations are able to connect their people strategy to the wider business strategy.
“There are many reasons to develop staff in-house versus sending individuals on external public courses,” says Greg Turrell, Capability Manager at Turners and Growers.
“Apart from the obvious time and money savings that can be achieved with large groups training together, there is also the opportunity to tailor or contextualise the content to your own organisation, and strengthen inter-departmental relationships.”
Executive Education In-house and customised programmes offered by the University of Auckland Business School have delivered successful outcomes to a large number of companies, including T&G (Turners and Growers), Datacom, nib NZ, Bupa NZ, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, NZTA (New Zealand Transport Agency) and OMD, to name a few. Since 2014, over 2000 participants from 144 organisations have participated in team development programmes delivered all over the country from Kaitaia to Queenstown.
“In-house training enables a group to get exposure to new learning together. This generates support and momentum to apply the learning,” says Nick Read, Executive Education Facilitator at the Business School.
Employees work in teams to build greater understanding, closer connections and collaborate on creative solutions to the issues and challenges they face at work. Flexibility is another big factor that draws organisations towards in-house programmes. These learning programmes are developed in partnership with organisations and delivered keeping in mind the organisation’s time, venue and budget parameters.
Partnering with Executive Education at the University of Auckland’s Business School has resulted in extremely high quality learning for T&G staff, says Greg. “The range of courses is impressive, which is another reason why we source our development needs through Executive Education as often as we do.”
Rather than offering generic ‘out-of-the-box’ development programmes, Executive Education facilitators take the time to understand an organisation’s business, culture and aspirations, so they can provide an experience that is absolutely right for its employees.
“Executive Education ensures their facilitators have both sound theoretical knowledge and practical experience. They can crystalise the best learning and translate it to good business practice”, adds Nick.
While technical skills training is closely linked to changing industry needs, the wider demand for soft skills training is a noticeable trend in the in-house professional development space.
“There is resurging interest in the soft skills of communication, leadership and performance. Everybody is busy doing their jobs, yet what makes for high performance and engagement is enjoyment at work. So these soft skills have become even more important in these busy times, especially for leaders”, Nick says.
Popular courses include: Strategic Planning, Business Writing Skills, Effective Communication Skills, Emotional Intelligence, Finance Fundamentals, Leading Change and Project Management.