The Importance of Personal Development During Hyper-Growth

Jess Dampa - Head of HR

Hyper-growth brings with it a host of challenges and while most fast-scaling orgs are focused on finding suitable talent, there is a danger that they may overlook the development needs of existing employees.

In the midst of all these changes, employees can often struggle to find where they fit into the business. Where onboarding has been completed successfully, your team will already have a good idea of the organisation’s core values – but how does that apply to them on a personal level?

 

Employees need to know what’s in it for them

To keep the best employees, it’s important to keep them engaged. Your team will always want to know what your business has to offer them in return. How will they grow? How will their career develop while working for you? Will they be invested in? Are they valued as an integral part of the growth of the business?

Ultimately, people are no longer looking for just “a job” – they want to be a part of something that has a greater purpose and can create an impact or meaningful change. Sites like Glassdoor allow employees to write about their experiences, anonymously. Potential candidates can access reviews to get a feel for whether the reality matches up with the public image of the organisation.

 

The benefits of personal development go both ways

Personal development should be used for more than just a means of employee engagement. As well as helping your team understand their career path, immersive training will ensure they are truly capable of rising to the inevitable future challenges when needed.

Early investment in people acts as proof that your organisation is serious about keeping them engaged. It will also help to reduce any friction or drops in productivity as they assume their new role, encouraging them to feel like an integral part of the company and mission.

 

Build your personal development frameworks before hyper-growth

Once your organisation enters the hyper-growth phase, it becomes incredibly hard to introduce new frameworks – including those ensuring personal development. Many fast-scaling orgs are tempted to assume that their core values will be enough to unite their growing workforce and carry the organisation forwards.  The reality is that generic targets and values alone, won’t be effective enough.

Part of the planning for volume hiring must include frameworks that clearly define personal development for each and every role in your organisation. Once the person is in place, the details of the plan can be tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

You may find this process a lot easier to build with the assistance of an external HR consultant who can help define and implement the frameworks. Alternatively, consider making an HR manager or Head of People, one of your first hires as your hyper-growth period takes off, setting you up for future success.

 

Make personal development planning a regular activity

In established businesses, personal development planning and reviews may happen only a few times a year. In a fast-moving scaling org, operating under agile principles, such a long period between reviews is ineffective.

As well as weekly progress reviews with line managers, your organisation may want to consider implementing monthly development assessments for each employee. With the assistance of HR, development reviews can be targeted at other factors beyond basic productivity and KPIs/OKRs.

These meetings need to be practical, outlining how employees are able to improve. At the same time, HR should ensure that employees are equipped to reach their personal goals. By empowering people to develop themselves and showing them how these improvements fit into the wider strategy, you also establish their place and positive impact in the business.

 

Start building frameworks now

The importance of personal development planning cannot be understated if you want to keep employees engaged – and working for you, not a competitor.  As your business begins planning for hyper-growth, bear in mind the challenges you may face - increasing headcount shouldn’t overshadow provisions for existing workers, or their need for personal development.

Jess Dampa

Head of HR

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