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November 2020
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TD Magazine

Revisit a Trusty Practice

Many managers have it tough right now: getting a handle of supervising a remote workforce, ensuring their direct reports aren't overcome by too much anxiety or burnout, executing on newly developed organizational goals to ensure business continuity. Amid all that, however, it's important that managers don't overlook their employees' professional development.

I'm sure all employees are grateful to simply have a job in this unstable economy, but that doesn't mean that career conversations and discussions about development goals should be pushed aside. Even under normal circumstances, studies revealed that many employees felt their employers were shirking on staff development. Imagine what that may look like now, eight months into a pandemic that has turned many business practices on their head.

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Perhaps it's time to take a fresh look at individual development plans. David Hosmer, author of this month's cover story, explains that IDPs aren't a performance management tool but rather a plan that details "the expected skills, knowledge, or competencies an employee will need to develop over the next year."

In his article, Hosmer presents reasons supervisors often avoid IDPs and details some modifications companies can make to reduce managers' hesitancy toward them. "Avoiding IDPs is understandable in some cases … but managers' responsibility is to ensure employees are equipped to fulfill their roles and flex with business needs," Hosmer writes. He even provides a sample IDP template and facilitation questions managers can use during their development discussions with direct reports.

With all that's going on related to the pandemic and its effects on the economy, work life, and home life, employers making a process easier for staff would be welcomed. Hosmer's guidance offers a streamlined process talent development teams can implement and managers can execute to the benefit of the entire organization.

About the Author

Vanessa St. Gerard is editor-in-chief of TD magazine.

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