Professional development is crucial for the success of individual employees as well as organizations as a whole, especially in the tech industry which moves fast—we all need to keep up with the latest trends, skills, and technologies to stay relevant and competitive. At TribalScale we prioritize and invest in the development of our employees to foster a motivated, challenged, and engaged workforce.
It all starts with our 360 performance review process, known as our Best Self Review, which incorporates feedback from all levels, including upward, downward, manager, and peer reviews. Read more about our 360 performance review process here.
After going through the review process we get each of our employees to fill out a professional development plan that includes the following factors:
- a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis of their skillsets
- a list of short term and long term goals
- an action plan made up of opportunities for training, events to attend, and skill application—we offer each employee $1000 per year to invest into their professional development action plan
From there employees share it with their manager for approval on budgeting and to ensure their plan will facilitate the development of skills that are aligned with our business goals and strategies.
Organizing and tracking employee professional development in this way is essential and more organizations should be doing it. Let's dive deeper into the factors we've baked into our employee professional development plan. ⤵️
Analysis of Skillsets and Goals
Analysis is the best place to start with a professional development plan. By completing a detailed SWOT analysis, employees can begin to understand what gaps are present. Consider the following:
- Strengths—skills and expertise that you are good at, make you stand out and/or make a difference in the organization
- Weaknesses—skills that you are lacking and need to be improved to achieve success in your current and future roles
- Opportunities—new changes, advancements, and trends in your industry and/or field of work that you can take advantage of
- Threats—external blockers and other obstacles that may prevent you from doing your job
With all this information layed out, employees can easily create a list of short, medium, and long term goals that they would like to achieve in order to address gaps in their skillsets.
Training and Learning
To achieve the defined goals, employees need an action plan and a necessary part of that is training and learning. This includes both paid and free programs such as workshops, bootcamps, certifications/licenses, webinars, online and in-person courses, subscriptions and more to enhance technical and soft skills. This can get pricey which is why we offer a budget for each TribalScale employee, not only as an incentive for learning but it's also a great way for organizations to attract top talent and remain competitive in the tech industry—investing in your employees' growth.
Internally organizations can also offer continued learning in the form of job rotations, mentoring programs, and job shadowing opportunities to their employees in order to provide exposure to different parts of the organization and develop new skillsets.
Another type of action that we encourage employees to include in their plan is events they would like to attend, such as conferences, expos, events specific for their field, and networking events. The goal is for employees to put themselves out there and learn from industry experts and leading companies about trends, new technologies, and best practices. Not only is this great exposure for the individual, it allows them to act as a TribalScale ambassador in order to form new connections that could result in corporate partnerships and collaborations.
Opportunities For Skill Application
Applying newly learned skills and knowledge is just as necessary as acquiring them. This part of the action plan is where employees can get creative, whether that is through creating an internal hackathon, innovation challenge, or proposing a new LabOS project to spearhead. Giving your employees room to explore ideas and take ownership fosters a culture of innovation.
With this plan in place employees and their managers know what their next steps are and what the priorities are for their development. But there is more than just the creation of this plan that needs to be considered, organizations should also take a look at the following:
- How can we follow-up on an employee's professional development plan?—this includes tracking their progress and rewarding them for achieving their goals
- How can we build a culture of continuous learning?—this is a larger effort that extends to all areas of the organization
Stay tuned, we'll discuss these two aspects in future blog pieces as part of our Professional Development series!
Daniela Cruz is a People & Culture Coordinator at TribalScale. She works in a range of HR tasks such as recruitment, employee events & engagement, and with announcements and internal newsletters. Outside of work, she enjoys watching Netflix or hanging out with friends.