An employee growth statement is important for getting on the right track, right from the start of a development program, and for making sure employees stay there. Keep in mind that there are many types of growth, so every statement needs to be defined according to the relevant goal. In the long-term, complex environment of a growth program, it’s critical for employees to know where they stand and what’s next.
Why the need for an employee growth statement?
It’s been said many times: every learning and development program should start off with a goal. Often, that means a goal set by the organization as part of a career management initiative. Popular examples include retention, engagement, and productivity.
But when was the last time you heard an employee say, “I want to be retained?” The fact is that there are two sides to the L&D coin. HR sees the big picture, but employees are usually more connected only to their role. Having a simple statement that reminds them of upcoming activities and expectations enables them to keep track of their progress.
Remember that learning programs look at comprehensive goals and take a relatively long time – up to a year. It’s easy for employees to lose track, and motivation, in the middle of all those activities. The last thing you want is for the employee to ask “please remind me – why am I doing this?”
The structure of the statement
Growth statements are the employee’s side of the development deal. Essentially speaking, an HR rep and the employee cooperate in writing them, maybe as part of career pathing. In a concise sentence or two, the statement defines the following:
- The end goal
- The process
- The actions the worker will take
- The timeline
When to Use Employee Growth Statements
Do the above points look familiar? They might because they are also the headings of some development plan templates. Now, if you are already into growth strategies, you’ll know that development and growth are not the same. But they still rely on the basic structure that you may be using for other employee-facing aspects of general career development plans (meaning you leave out budgeting, lists of experts, etc.).
And, like other L&D plans, you should create a statement for each part of the course. In template terms, this means that every separate course, workshop, and experience gets its own statement.
The main topics of an employee advancement program are skills, experience, advancement, morale, and productivity. It’s not always the case that each of these elements needs an initiative all on its own. For example, with sufficient skills, and backed by the prospect of advancement, some employees will be very productive.
On the other hand, some of these elements will need to be repeated. The most obvious element in this category is skills because not many employees show up on day one with a complete set of all the skills they need for the position. Plus, the skills required for success in any particular role are always changing.
In any case, here is a potential formulation of an employee growth statement for a certain communications course:
“XXX will move above the 50th percentile in written communications skills through a coaching initiative that will start on YYY and end on ZZZ.”
What’s with the “50th percentile”? Don’t forget that the statement always starts with a goal. That’s easy to set when you are talking about hard skills like computer programming, for example, because you can measure proficiency through a quantitative test. Not so easy when it comes to soft skills like communication.
Growth Statement Best Practices
This brings us to some things to look out for when helping employees write up their statements:
Measurement. Have a method in mind when setting the goal, and use that method to create a starting point before the course begins.
Management. Especially for soft skills, managers will be the ones applying the metrics because they will see the daily performance of the employee. Keep them in the loop!
Opportunities. If your organization doesn’t offer it, don’t include it. For example, if nobody in the company is offering chances for a job rotation, then it’s off the menu. Of course, HR might use this gap as a reason to approach executives and get a green light, but until that happens, look for existing programs.
Reality. As mentioned above, “advancement” is part of growth. But with all of the issues surrounding internal talent mobility, beware that you don’t make any promises that you can’t keep (this is different from the opportunities we just discussed because you’ll find that many elements of self-improvement can be developed through various alternatives).
Guess What Else Starts With a Goal? GrowthSpace, of Course!
The GrowthSpace talent development platform was created in light of the fact that so many L&D programs fail. GrowthSpace realized that the key to success was the ability to set organizational growth goals, and then fulfill them with a technology that could match personalized L&D needs to a worldwide network of experts. So GrowthSpace set out to build an automated tool that uses what is essentially a growth statement to design an entire talent development experience.
Fast forward a few years as GrowthSpace has achieved its own development goal of being the world’s top L&D platform. If your organization wants to discover the leading solution for bringing out the best in every employee, it’s time to talk to GrowthSpace.