Why is it important for employees to understand process? How can employers best counsel, teach and coach people they manage? Moreover, what special professional development do younger employees need?
Managers interested in sharpening their employee development skills will find the answers to these, and many more questions in the IEEE-USA E-BOOK, Developing Your People: Commonsense Leadership in the Workplace – Volume 2: Employee Development Strategies. Veteran engineering professional and educator Harry T. Roman strongly believes managers charged with developing their employees have the greatest workplace responsibilities. To help these managers effectively chart their course in producing the best employees possible, he provides dozens of approaches they can use to evoke their employees’ best talents, while also developing their business knowledge.
Roman explains that how you do something is often as important as what you gain by doing it. In the Information Age, process has become as important as product, he writes, and “the first emphasis must be on quality in the process.” Roman notes that getting to market quickly, with inferior products and services is, at best, a waste of time and resources.
Further, he maintains teaching process to employees is vital – underlying other basic skills to hone workplace success. Roman emphasizes that developing employee process is an invaluable discipline that will yield real dividends repeatedly – for employers and employees – because it affects the way people approach and solve both basic and complicated problems.
In a chapter on how managers can support employee development, Roman discusses four areas: coaching and counseling; reward and recognition; encouraging computer skills; and emphasizing effective teamwork. The author emphasizes reward and recognition, and the topic rates special discussion. Accordingly, Roman offers many interesting tactics.
Roman does not refute the importance of annual merit increases and special achievement awards, but he alternately provides a list of non-monetary ways to recognize employees. He writes that most employees rank individual recognition for accomplishments much higher than monetary rewards. Among Roman’s suggestions:
- Invite good performers to fill in for the boss at upper-level manager staff meetings and/or other corporate functions;
- Let them substitute for the vacationing boss and experience running the office;
- Give them staff to develop, and resources to use, on their projects and works in progress;
- Increase their budget allocation and authority; and
- Allow them to present a paper, give a talk, or attend a conference of their choice.
In another chapter about strategies to build employees’ character, Roman recommends public speaking, giving presentations, joining professional societies, and serving on industry committees.
“One of the best ways to become comfortable with public speaking is to simply practice it whenever possible,” he writes, “If your company doesn’t have a speaker’s bureau, consider starting one. It is well worth the effort for the skills it teaches within a short period of time.”
Roman contends once employees are comfortable speaking in front of an audience, it is time to cultivate their presentation skills. He notes people design presentations to sell ideas, concepts and projects, and often follow a formalized convention – quite different from a public speech, or talk.
Discussing professional organizations, Roman says societies “offer an unparalleled opportunity” to build relationships with others in the same industry.” He cites exposure to the latest technological advances, and opportunities to meet industry counterparts to exchange information and experiences, as a few major benefits for professional society memberships.
Roman also addresses industry committees as another networking opportunity. He says employees can put the contacts they make, and the information they gather, to immediate use for their companies. He also notes employees can view these assignments as prestigious, and also as rewards for past performance.
Finally, Roman discusses young employees’ special development needs. He emphasizes this special group has a “particularly acute need for mentoring and development” during their first two years of training. He highlights oral and written communication skills; project management; supervision; estimates and budgets; and understanding the marketplace, as five special areas where young employees need help to grow.
In July, IEEE-USA E-BOOKS is offering this award winning, $7.99 e-book, free to IEEE members only.
Now through 15 August, IEEE-USA IEEE members can get a free download of this e-book by going to: http://ieeeusamulti.wpengine.com/shop/careers/ebook-developing-people-commonsense-leadership-workplace-vol-2/. Log in with your IEEE Web account, add the book to your cart, and use promo code JULFREE17 at checkout.
Volumes 1 and 3 of this three-part series are also available for purchase at http://shop.ieeeusa.org/.
Georgia C. Stelluto is IEEE-USA’s Publishing Manager; Editor of IEEE-USA ConferenceBrief; Department Editor of @IEEEUSA in InSight; and Manager and Editor of IEEE-USA E-BOOKS.