How Do You Develop Your Staff?

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As a business it can seem like a mammoth task getting new employees up and running.

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Hopefully the tips and advice over the last few weekly articles have given you some practical support.

It will always take different employees varying amount of time to really feel confident and comfortable in their role. To really make the most of every employee you need to make sure that there is a robust and achievable staff development process in place. This can take many shapes and forms and I will talk you through some of these.

Finding time to put together an effective staff development programme may feel impossible but being proactive in this area will ultimately save time down the line.

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Staff will all come to your business with different skills, strengths and ambitions.

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Embracing these opportunities and using them to your business’s advantage is a win-win for you and your employees.

Staff are more than their job description and as your business moves and changes so will your employees’ needs. Knowing what motivates each employee and understanding where they are within your business’s journey is key to your success.

A rich staff development process increases confidence and maximises the potential of all your staff.


Staff should be very clear as to their position within the business and the opportunities that are available to them.

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They should understand how and when they can contribute valuable feedback and feel supported in their personal and professional development.

Regular meetings don’t have to be lengthy but should encourage everyone to have a voice, if you feel an employee is too shy to speak openly then seek out other methods. Speak to employees face to face to establish the best method for gathering their thoughts and feedback. A casual 2-way stream of information will help everyone keep their finger on the pulse. Technology can help in this are but be mindful of invading employee’s personal time and space.

The other side to effective staff development comes in the way of staff appraisal. Effective staff appraisal requires to be delivered by an individual with an empathetic and supportive manner. They should be well prepared and give the employee plenty notice before their staff appraisal. Powerful staff appraisals are 2-way and there should never be any surprises to either party. Documenting these can be done in several ways and is important to build a rich staff development history for each employee.


So, what does an effective staff appraisal look like, today I want to talk you through my top tips.

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Let staff know why

If there is no current process, then all staff will need to be told the purpose and process so that they are not caused undue stress. Instead they should be reassured that this is a beneficial process to support their development and growth within your business.

Agree where and when

Provide time and a structure to help the employee consider key elements before attending the agreed meeting time. Often these meetings are once a year and can last an hour. I would argue this is not effective. Try a very focussed approach lasting 30 minutes with a follow up 6 months later to review progress, 20 minutes should be enough for this.

Discuss who

Normally a line manager or owner would deliver these appraisals, although in a larger organisation HR may be involved.

Consider carefully who would be best suited, remember it is a 2-way positive experience where information should be shared. There will be times when the employee indicates a preference for who is involved in their appraisal, this should always be taken into consideration and accommodated, where possible, to ensure the process is successful.

What next?

The success of the appraisal process is not only in the meeting but in the follow up time. As a n employer keep an overview document of training requirements and identified areas for development so that you can build this in to you annual planning.

Keep your part of the bargain or your employees won’t value the process.

Seek help and support to deliver areas which are not your key strength.

Set reminders and mile stones for yourself and employees to keep their development programme moving.

Follow Claire D'All:

I graduated from the University of Dundee in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Applied Computing. During my studies the field that I had a great interest in was web development however since graduating I have also become very interested in accessibility. I was born with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy and since the age of 3 I have used a wheelchair 24/7. Due to my disability I have always come across problems regarding accessibility, which is why it’s such a passion for me.

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