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Employee development: Let’s do it together


January 13, 2020
By Isabelle Sauve and Bruno Seguin

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Photo: Cacaroot/Adobe stock

Long-term employee commitment and skilled personnel retention are at the heart of every organization that invests substantially in recruitment and training — a.k.a. law enforcement.

In order to attract the best candidates — and more importantly to retain them — law enforcement agencies should recognize they are not immune to competition and social changes. Figures are showing law enforcement officers are increasingly transferring to other agencies or simply changing their career paths altogether when they feel their personal development and career goals are poorly supported.

A perceived lack of support can range from having an unfitting focus and ambiguous career pathway, to inefficient, inappropriate and unfair lateral and promotional selection processes. As such, it is legitimate and critical to thoroughly look at initiatives and investments devoted to employee development and selection.

It is recognized employee development is a key contributor to an organization’s efficiency by aiding employees in understand their strengths, weaknesses and interests. Another aspect of employee development is the importance of openly and transparently advertising new job opportunities. Employees must know what is available to them and how to meet personal growth needs based on their existing competencies and skills. Understanding how to obtain specific competencies, skills and knowledge through various means like formal education, assessment, job experiences and interpersonal relationships must be ensured. Every aspect of the process must be clear, fair and apparent.

By nature, humans are eager to learn, change and progress. For this reason, emphasis must be placed on both training and development. Employee retention and performance is directly linked to how employees are treated and given consideration.

Planning for employee development is crucial. Prior to offering training opportunities or compelling employees in a specific career direction, it is important for the organization and the individuals involved to understand the need and purpose of the intended developmental initiative. In other words, “identifying the needs and the purpose of development endeavours is a critical part of its planning,” according to Noe Hollenbeck Gerhart Wright, the author of Human Resource Management, which targets the idea of “gaining a competition advantage.”

A noteworthy change over the years has been the need for employees to see meaning in their jobs. In fact, today’s workers are known to seek “protean careers,” which is to see a project or job through to completion, rather than performing only one piece or portion of a job. It brings a psychological dimension where employees’ career goals are motivated by psychological successes.

These successes are no longer strictly determined by the employer through the allocation of salary increases and promotion; they are also self-determined by each employee achieving their own life goals (growing a family, being healthy, etc.). In short, employees take pride in and responsibility of managing their careers. Proper support from the employer helps personnel make the right decisions and can provide guidance for potential change.

It is often that — and rightly so — organizations provide training for specific tasks or compliance for the current jobs. On the other hand, it is very rare that organizations take the time to prepare a thorough and meaningful development plan — as well as an action plan — taking into consideration the goals and needs of both the individual and the work environment. It is this lack of planning which creates a gap and a misunderstanding between law enforcement personnel and organizations, resulting in loss of motivation, loss of focus and, by consequence, more and more individuals handing in a resignation. This happens not necessarily because they dislike what they do or forget why they joined in first place, but simply because individual development and career goals are not properly planned and achieved.

Law enforcement organizations need to invest in “development planning” or “career management systems” to retain, guide and motivate employees who have the potential for strategic, lateral progression as well as for promotion into managerial positions to better suit each individual and by consequence the organization. These systems allow the identification and subsequent gratification of employees’ development needs.

 

Bruno Seguin is a senior executive manager and international business consultant with experience in global operations, international business development, strategic planning, leadership and corporate governance. He is also an ultra-runner, 9th place finisher at the Racing the Planet/4 Deserts 2018 Series and fellow Guinness World record holder.

Isabelle Sauve is a 13-year veteran with the OPP, currently with the Lanark County Detachment. She has a MA in psychology and is a
PhD candidate. She is also an ultramarathon/ endurance athlete and the Racing the Planet/4 Deserts 2018 Series winner as well as a Guinness World record holder. She can be contacted at: isabelle.sauve@hotmail.com.