Friday, September 13, 2013

The Lost Art of Employee Development

Technology is a wonderful thing . . . or it can be, especially as it relates to medical advancement, gadgetry, and the like. With all technology, it can also displace or supplant something else, creating a lost skill or product. Perhaps somewhere in the middle of the ocean is an island for misfit technology. 8-track and vinyl records, anyone?

One of the many things that has become a specialty niche is film development. With the onset of digital photography and the quality and abundance of cell phone cameras, etc. the one-hour photo shops and  photography studios no longer need to actually create a temperature appropriate chemical bath in a darkroom to develop pictures. . . . and yet, there’s something to be said about a non-digitized, no-touch up, honest to goodness darkroom developed photograph on quality paper, that captures a memory you can hold in your hand.

In a recent Facebook MMTC TIP OF THE WEEK entry, we tackle the idea of Employee development. Like the darkroom, the idea of engaging employees and professional development is a lost art . . . or an outmoded, underappreciated art. It’s appears to be an often ignored aspect of business. Many companies seem to view training and development as optional rather than essential. Engaged employees are more productive. The development of an employee is an important factor for the prosperity and growth of any business as employees are the main determining factor for the success of the business. A few simple questions can help you recognize if your employees are engaged.
  • Are your employees making suggestions and helping to improve your business?
  • Are your employees growing and becoming better at what they do and creating more opportunities for your business?
  • Do your employees see themselves as partners in the planning and improvement process?
  • Do you have a company full of initiators or reactors?
It’s not just us. . . . This topic has been in the news for at least the last 6 months. Here’s a collection of some articles that present an overview of this issue. It appears that poor employee engagement can be quite costly.

This June interview with the Gallop Workplace Jedi, published by Fast Company reveals the latest numbers of disengaged employees . . . and explains how what we’re doing just isn’t working.

Communication appears to be a key ingredient, but if you think you’ve got this covered, you might want to think again. This article from S.T.A.R. Resources identifies a 10 step implementation plan to better communication. 

And Focal Point from Cornerstone Advisory Services offered this advice earlier this month, the 5 ingredients necessary to create an excellent team in your business.
As the workforce ages, there is concern that there will be a dearth of leadership as well as skilled labor. This cool infographic, courtesy of the University of Denver and posted by Industry Week, speaks to the building blocks needed to develop the next generation of leadership.

This change in approach applies to employee training as well. This Industry Week article looks at the changing face of training to help make it more engaging.

This short interview from Manufacturing Business Technology, with top global recruitment specialist, Brian Binke, reveals some good advice to help manufacturers find qualified workers.

For an opportunity to meet the future workforce, consider attending next week’s Proud to Manufacture in Michigan Conference in Traverse City. There will be 50 students looking forward to interacting with you and learning more about the technologies and opportunities in manufacturing.

For an opportunity to review your leadership style, poll your workforce, and identify potential improvement areas in your company’s employee collaborations, check out MMTC’s next Leadership-in-Action Innovative Strategic Planning scheduled in November.  

 You may be surprised at what could develop.
 Since 1991, MMTC has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at

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