Create ‘development pathways’ that enable people to choose their own adventure

Development pathways provide structured career development

Development pathways provide structured career development through bundled training experiences designed around common specialisms such as:

  • People
  • Projects
  • Innovation and
  • Connection / Exploration

In the first 6 months to a year, organisations still need to orientate and motivate new team members. I like the gamification models of reaching two levels of achievement: Team Generalist and Team Specialist.

To achieve Team Generalist status, new hires typically:

  • complete a varied selection of common tasks
  • review a team process
  • have coffee interviews with everyone in the team – and ideally the team’s Director
  • complete their digital profile on the company’s network e.g. SharePoint / Yammer profiles
  • complete standard actions for network contributions – making connections, uploading, downloading, posting, commenting, collaborating etc.

Having completed this orientation phase, they are ready to move on to the next phase.

To achieve Team Specialist status, individuals are given the opportunity to spend time getting a deeper understanding and experience of a core process or activity.

I like to think of the orientation period as the journey part of a holiday – once you arrive, you are now ready to make a new set of choices about where to go and what to do – which ‘development pathway’ to take.

Whilst People and Projects are more established domains of expertise, Innovation and Connection / Exploration might benefit from some explanation.

The Innovation pathway is for people who want to explore improving the way the organisation works – developing best practice around a tool or process.

The Connection / Exploration pathway is for people who want to get a wider view of the business and see how people connect and interact with each other across the business and how those connections enable strategic objectives.

What each specialism has in common is they all have a bundle (or ‘menu’) of training experiences which might include

– on-the-job achievements earned from completing tasks
– self-study projects
– interviews
– classroom training

HR and Learning functions may be able to supply suggestions, (think ‘set menus’ or ‘guided tours’) but with increased familiarity of this process, individuals can start to manage their own development in consultation with their manager, using these pathways to achieve their learning, development and career goals.

And although I’ve talked about ‘the individual’ in describing this process, there’s no reason why people with common aspirations can’t work together on a programme – and when those people are from different parts of the business the development has benefits beyond the individual’s learning.

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