You can find ideas and resources on supporting your people’s learning needs at Developing others.
These tips will particularly help you to support your new staff as they settle in and familiarise themselves with their role, and then to continue supporting their self-development and improvement in the role.
1. Provide a safe learning environment
As a manager, your role in supporting new staff goes far beyond the procedural requirements of induction and probation. You set the tone for all your staff, and above all for new members of your team.
Many schools of thought, including the teaching and caring professions, have suggested a three-part role for those who have responsibility for others. Managers need to carry out:
- a supervisory or ‘managerial’ role – e.g. setting and review standards, expectations, targets
- a supportive role – e.g. providing a reassuring framework and environment, one-to-ones
- a developmental role – e.g. considering and discussing development needs and possibilities, providing opportunities
In the induction process and probationary period, managers need to pay special attention to all three roles. For example:
- If, as a manager, you are only ever in ‘managerial’ mode, the standards you set may not be achieved if the new staff member doesn’t feel that you can be approached with problems. Paying attention to the supportive role gives all staff a safe learning environment in which to get better at their roles.
- If, as a manager, you neglect the developmental role, staff may feel that they aren’t expected to make progress or improvements, and may become demotivated.
2. Encourage self-development
When the time is right, which might be soon after the successful completion of probation, you could start to introduce opportunities for new staff to develop. We provide resources to help people develop themselves in their role; working together, you and your staff member can make the most of every learning opportunity using the performance management cycle: PLAN – DO – REVIEW
- PLAN the development or area for improvement: the manager’s role is to set standards and expectations, agree objectives
- DO the activity, undertake the learning or make the change: the manager’s role is to keep track and discuss progress
- REVIEW the learning or progress: the manager’s role is to give constructive feedback and help the staff member to embed the learning in everyday working life.
- …and then PLAN further development.
3. Think creatively about development
- 70% of impactful learning happens on the job (i.e. is experiential)
- 20% happens in social interaction
- 10% happens in structured learning
(Eichinger, R and Lombardo, M, The Career Architect Development Planner, 1996)
There are many alternatives to sending your staff on courses. Consider:
- A stretching objective: something new or outside their present experience
- Work shadowing
- Formal secondment
- Assignment to a project, to see or carry out a particular role (needs to be short and fixed term and specified as a training opportunity)
- Reading, desk research, YouTube, TedX talks
- Visit to another workplace
- A mentor (internal or external to department)
- Observation of a particular activity (e.g. committee meeting)
- Trial and error (giving people permission to try something out)