Some organizations have scheduled, yearly employee reviews, and others have a less formal approach. The less formal ones might fall into the ongoing-conversations category. As a manager and employee, when do conversations about professional development occur in your workplace?
As a manager during either reviews or conversations, I could bring up two subjects—what professional development is expected for current organizational progress, and what personal learning goals the individual has set. The best of both worlds shows a convergence between the personal goal and the organizational development. In listening to the employee talk about personal goals, a manager has the opportunity to respond in a way that motivates the employee plus making the connection between the personal goal and the larger organization. Even when an employee’s goal is not supported by professional development policy or dollars, having heard the person’s goals is another way of getting to know what matters for that person, knowledge which may connect to a future opportunity.
In setting my own employee goals, I would pay attention to my workplace’s learning needs or expectations that have been expressed in meetings or memos. Smart money would say I would mention I’m ready to participate in those learning opportunities. I’d also think about explaining my personal learning goals—either for expanding my current skill set or expanding my skill profile.
From searching on this question, there’s evidence a number of organizations do consider these discussions and here are their thoughts on how those discussions can drive personal engagement and organizational results:
Once these goals are defined, there are many learning formats for going for it! They might be informal, like reading a book, shadowing someone, or taking a free online course such as a MOOC. Others might be in a face-to-face format or online. Links to UGotClass and Ed2Go at the left provide connections to the online offerings of two long-time providers.
In considering which choices are a match for the learning, these earlier posts address related topics:
What Instructional Objectives Tell the Learner and Instructor (Helpful for knowing whether a course is worth your time):
Getting Started in Real Time with Online Learning:
Getting the Most from Off-the-Shelf Workplace Learning: