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Post assessment: The Development plan

March 27, 2008

The purpose of creating a plan following an assessment is to ensure that the former student’s rate of growth doesn’t subside just because they have met the desired standard. Competence is not expertise and there can be a long journey from one to the other.

The development plan outlines the students goals and direction for the next few months.

Creating a plan

The first thing that you will need are objectives for the former student to aim at achieving. These can be established by reviewing the;

  • Workplace: Are their any promotional or advancement opportunities built into the work scheme. This could be part of workplace goals (accident free months, reward for productivity rates etc), rank type structure (eg senior floor person, supervisor, team leader) or training positions.
  • Trade practices: Some schemes like apprenticeships have outcomes that must be achieved within specified time frames. Are their additional competencies or higher levels that need to be achieved?
  • Supervisor’s goals: Has the former student’s supervisor outlined any performance objectives as part of their annual review? Does the supervisor have their own team performance objectives?
  • Training Documentation: Did the assessor outline any weak areas or remedial activities to improve overall performance? Are their follow-up progress checks that to assess student development post-training?
  • Student Goals: What does the student want achieve? Are they aiming for the assessors job, do they enjoy training or are they happy just to fulfil their position within the team? Are their other duties or responsibilities that they would like to take on (safety inspector, fire warden, union rep etc)

Now that we have some goals, use the planning process to develop and publish a development plan for the student. Look at reasonable time frames, short term goal setting and using your experience to coach the former student. Treat it like a learning contract and even elicit a their signature as a show of faith that they will make the most of this opportunity.

Your goal is not to do it for them but help them to do it themselves. After this initial period, they are expected to develop their own plans from goals that they identify themselves. That’s not to say that you cannot help them still – many very experienced professionals still enlist the aid of a mentor to further their own careers. Manager tools has a couple of great podcast on coaching and mentoring if you want to learn more.

Following progress

Setting the student on a path is only part of the assistance you can provide. Schedule regular meetings (once a fortnight will suffice) to review progress, adjust goals and provide additional motivation or assistance. The focus is on student development, so responding negatively to little progression will achieve far less than providing positive direction. Consider this part of the training process – remember that you may need to assume different roles in the new relationship and use their strengths to target their weaknesses.

What if the student shows little or no success after three or four meetings? Start meeting more often and review your strategies using the assessment failure process. If this lack of development continues, it may be time to look at eliciting help elsewhere because the student may need to be achieving some of these objectives as part of their annual performance measures.

What if the student is not interested? Offer anyway and if they decline, wish them well. You do not have to do this and if they they don’t want assistance, there is no point in your efforts being wasted for no benefit.

Document

Although this is an informal process in terms of the organisation’s role, document it regardless. This is a development opportunity for yourself and I’m sure your supervisor would like to know what additional activities you have taken on for yourself. Additionally, this is still the company’s time that is being spent and at some stage it may want an account of how the resources were being spent, along with what was achieved. Third, this is a great learning opportunity for the training system in how post-training support can improve effectiveness in the ‘bigger picture’. It may not be possible to reduce actual training times but follow on support may be able to reduce the time it takes to become a trainer, supervisor or management-ready.

Conclusion

Training is often neglected once competency has been achieved. The goal may be to produce a competent product to the operational team but most organisation’s recognise that competency doesn’t equate to experience. By following a student after training has been completed and enhancing their development opportunities will produce a well-rounded employee in a shorter time frame than letting them amble their own way there.

Next: Post assessment: Ongoing actions

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