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November 2012
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TD Magazine

Peer-to-Peer Development Programs Motivate Employees

Intelligence7
Customized programs incorporating close interaction with peers and senior executives are more effective for fostering employee engagement than traditional development methods. A recent Vaya Group study of Fortune 1,000 executives identifies high-potential employee development as a recurring trend, pain point, and future need.

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Generic, broad-based management development programs just don't work anymore, notes Paul Eccher, author, co-founder, and principal of The Vaya Group.

According to respondents, four of the most effective development methods include:

  • Peer-to-peer mentoring—Learning that comes from having a "network of mentors" trumps a singular mentor-protégé relationship.
  • 360-degree evaluations—Customized, multirater instruments provide valuable feedback about leadership behaviors and allow high potentials to establish goals for self-improvement.
  • Company networking events—External networking opportunities allow high potentials to connect with peers and senior leaders beyond the "day job."
  • Prestigious learning and development programs—Well-designed development programs encourage high potentials to learn skills, work on business projects, and interact with new colleagues.

"The mentality has changed from 'more people build the pyramid faster' to finding and retaining 'giants' to accomplish more with less manpower," says Dave Ross, co-founder and principal of The Vaya Group. "As the economy recovers, high potentials are the most likely to jump to another position or be lured away by a competitor. Companies will have to understand what motivates employees, besides money."

About the Author
The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.
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