By Matt Monge, Director of Education and Training, Fort Campbell Federal Credit Union
Training and development that has some aspect of career coaching is en vogueright now. It is to the training and development world what Kanye West only thinks he is to the fashion world. Many have even started using several different names for these programs interchangeably: career coaching, mentoring, career counseling, etc. Some of these programs, while certainly well intentioned, fall short in that their focus is perhaps a bit too narrow.
You see, many training and development programs right now are focusing on developing certain skills or qualities that will enable a given individual to take the next step in a specific career path within a unique organization. That’s not bad, in and of itself. However, I think we’re missing a huge opportunity to do even more.
We need to take a more holistic approach to developing people. We need to invest in people developmentrather than simply training the next cog in our respective corporate machines. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t invest in position- or career-specific development. Rather, that specific development needs to be part of a larger developmental context.
Think of It as People-Building, Not “Just Training”
As you consider your training and development efforts, try to frame your thoughts a little differently. Try asking yourself what you’re building. Are you building customer service representatives? Are you building bank tellers? Are you building assembly line workers? What are you building?
The answer, of course, is that you ought to be building people. Don’t simply train people to perform tasks and nothing more. Build people. Help them first work toward understanding themselves, and further, toward accomplishing both personal and professional goals.
You Have to Build Trust Before You Can Build People
Much has been written about building trust in organizational settings, and rightly so. It’s a necessary, but often-overlooked step in the process of building people. To help people improve and achieve their goals, you have to invest time and energy in building trust. No one is going to open up to you until they trust you. That’s just how it works.
Once they see you’re not simply interested in them for what they can do for the organization, they’re far more likely to partner with you in the people-building process. Further still, they’ll feel cared about by the organization. As a result, they’ll develop a sense of loyalty to the organization, and they’ll probably invest in becoming more productive and effective employees.
It Might Get on Your Shirt
People-building is messy; it gets on your shirt. Any time you’re dealing with humans (which I assume most of us are), things potentially could get a little uncomfortable. While I’m certainly not advocating violating any HR policies and/or laws, you might have to get comfortable with not everything fitting into a nice little training and development box. What if someone has goals that lead them outside your organization? Help them get there. Yes, even if their goal leads them away from your company, help them get there. You want to be in the business of building people. The more your organization is known for building people, the more people will want to be a part of it.
We hear and read all the time that people are miserable in their jobs. They don’t feel cared for. They believe they’re just cogs in a machine. They feel anonymous. Well, what if you changed that perception? What if your organization and training programs were radically different? The potential here is amazing, both from a bottom-line, business-building perspective and from a people-building perspective.
Where Do I Start?
Once your program is up and running, taking a long view of people-building is essential. It’s passion, persistence, and diligence that will sustain the program over the long term.
Matt Monge is the director of Education and Training at Fort Campbell Federal Credit Union. He is also a consultant specializing in organizational culture and development, as well as being a writer and presenter. He is earning his MA in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University. He can be contacted at email@example.com.