In the past, when managers have wanted to upskill an employee, it has commonly been in the form of classroom training, short courses or even formal education. While these elements of development will always have a place, more and more organisations are starting to look at professional development in a more holistic way. Training is a critical method of acquiring new knowledge and skills, but have you ever considered that it should only be one aspect of your approach to professional development?
In these challenging times of labour shortages, we have found that employers are becoming more focused on lifting the capability of existing individuals and teams rather than hiring in the skills they need. To do this successfully, a 2- or 5-day training course often isn’t going to meet the brief. Instead, we have worked with a number of organisations to design a basket of development measures to both develop individuals and make sure that the team as a whole can meet upcoming organisational challenges.
Basket of Professional Development Measures
We worked with a large government agency recently that asked us to assess the capability of their project delivery team. The team as a whole worked well, but a number of concerns had been raised around the accuracy of project plans and financial forecasts, and this was starting to show in some struggling projects.
Working with the team we came up with a number of development pathways based on the specific wants and needs of the individual. (Professional development isn’t something you can do to somebody; it has to be motivated by an individual’s desire to learn and improve).
• Online learning – We developed a bespoke MS Project training program to take PMs from the early stages of setting up a project schedule, through to more advanced techniques like dependency management and resource leveling
• Informal online learning – there is a lot of great stuff on platforms like Udemy and LinkedIn Learning, and even on YouTube (beware of the garbage though!)
• Reading – often overlooked, the value of recommending a great book to someone should not be understated. Where it’s a technical ‘how to’ or a motivating self-help book
• Short Courses & Certifications – the power of the short course is that you can go in not feeling like you know very much and come out feeling confident to absorb what you’ve learned into your work life. If it comes with a certificate and some PDUs, bonus! Our short courses are designed to provide participants with practical project management experience through an applied approach to learning. Our certified courses run between 1 day (Essentials of PM) and 5 day’s – (Applied Project Management Masterclass).
• Coaching and Mentoring – the ability to kick around problems and to get support and advice from someone who has actually been there can be extremely helpful, particularly in an industry like project management which requires a very practical mindset. Our mentors are experienced professionals that are looking to give something back to those rising up through the ranks. Our structured mentoring program (The Elevate Program) is a structured mentoring program that runs over 5 months and pairs the mentee with an industry veteran mentor. Elevate allows the participant to set goals, self-assess, get an assessment from their peers (via 360 review) and to develop a plan to take their career to the next level. That will often involve drawing on some of the other development options in the basket of measures above. The program also aims to build relationships though the Elevate community, a lifelong network of people with similar professional aims.