A few years ago, after over twenty years working in the Customer Service Industry, I crazily returned to university and completed my master’s degree in HRM, where my final thesis focused on linking staff engagement to brand loyalty.
Staff engagement has a variety of factors that employees should give attention to, and one of these factors that I am particularly passionate about is employee development. As a manager of people managers, I often think about the responsibility for the development of our staff.
So, in whose hands does the topic of employee development belong?
Consider a standard contact center operations structure of a manager with a team of staff of a variety of abilities. Normally, when a role becomes open at the manager level, it is a common fault for organizations to presume that someone who was a good agent will naturally be a good manager and a good manager will naturally be a good leader. I am sure many of us have seen real-life examples of when this is not always the case.
As a people manager, when I see a frenetic rush of hastily put together CV and cover letters one of my first thoughts is: What did their manager do for them before this position was advertised?
One of the key roles of a people manager is to develop their staff and prepare them for the role that is not yet advertised or the role they don’t know they want. The Customer Service industry can be very variable and therefore still heavily depends on people, despite the massive advancement in technology. Over time staff members grow in their overall capability, focusing on a wider range of skills which in turn increases their value to not only their current employer but also makes that skillset much more transferable.
For someone that has the responsibility for managing people, as well as the day to day elements of ensuring a staff member is performing, they should never overlook the ‘next step’ for their reporting line.
Thus, I want to leave you with this Peter Baeklund quote:
A CFO asks a CEO: What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?
The CEO responds: What happens if we don’t and they stay?