Employee Development

How To Create An Employee Development System That Works

Employee Development: Spoiler alert: an entire department is not needed.

Half of the companies lack skilled IT professionals, says an October KPMG survey. The way out is to cook them yourself, and this is real, even if you are not Yandex.

In this article, I will tell you how to develop the staff who work in the company. All recommendations are based on the experience of the IT company Dunice. The material will be useful not only for “IT specialists”: we consider the issues of organization and do not throw in terms.

Like we have?

At Dunice, every employee regularly confirms their knowledge. Hard and soft skills that are needed for work are listed in the competency matrix.

The employee chooses the area in which he wants to confirm knowledge. Signs up for the day available for delivery and goes to a meeting with the examiner. We conduct theoretical and practical interviews, depending on the direction. You can retake several times, if the first one did not work out.

Employees are motivated to raise their level: the complexity of projects and salaries depend on it. Moreover, development is the corporate culture of the company: if you are in Dunice, you constantly improve your qualifications.

Everything seems simple, but how to organize such a growth system?

Here are 5 principles we’ll talk about:

  • You don’t need an entire department to develop staff
  • Schedule saves time
  • Education – for everyone
  • Teach not only development
  • Introduce clear motivation
  • Convincing, not forcing

You don’t need an entire department to develop staff

It is fundamental for us not to single out employees who are engaged only in training. Dunice’s growth system is not a corporate university, but a process that is integrated into the work of the company.

In total, 6 people are engaged in training at Dunice. The growth system is led by a technical director. Interviews are taken by technical leaders – specialists with extensive experience who lead project teams. They spend most of their working time on projects, on allocated days they meet with employees.

This approach solves two problems. The company does not budget for additional structure. Employees understand that development is inseparable from development. The goal is not to get a certificate, but to master emerging technologies and perform better work tasks.

Schedule saves time

When we first introduced the growth system, employees could agree with the interviewer at any convenient time. Almost immediately it became clear that this was an ineffective scheme. In the first week, the developers, who were ready to confirm their qualifications, booked all the meeting rooms from morning to evening.

When we saw such a full house, the free schedule was abandoned. Now the dates on which you can confirm your qualifications are set in advance. The employee signs up and plans: by 12:00 on Friday to free time from work and phone calls with clients, refresh knowledge and come for an interview.

A fixed schedule increases staff self-discipline and improves the quality of training. When an employee is limited in terms of time, he does not postpone the interview “for later” and intelligently allocates time to repeat the material.

Education – for everyone

At Dunice, the growth system applies to all developers, from brand new to senior. IT is developing rapidly: if a developer with many years of experience does not study fresh technologies, in six months his knowledge will become irrelevant.

When all employees are on an equal footing, regardless of seniority, it becomes easier to engage in training. Newcomers see that their leaders themselves are constantly learning new things – and resistance is decreasing.

Teach not only development

We came to the conclusion that training should not be one-sided and end in one core subject. The Dunice competency matrix, according to which we compose the course, includes highly specialized subjects, both general technical and soft skills – for example, English, team communication, accuracy of assessments, customer focus.

Many IT companies focus on the developer’s ability to work with programming languages. But projects also require other skills: for example, to understand databases. English is useful to communicate with foreign clients, read the documentation, and study foreign industry news. Teamwork skills and customer focus should also be maintained at the level: the success of the project depends on competent communication with colleagues and the customer.

To understand which skills of employees to assess, create a competency matrix. On the Internet, there is ready-made for any area. Analyze several different ones, supplement or reduce the tasks with which your specialists work.

Introduce clear motivation

In order for an employee to want to improve his qualifications, the company must adopt a transparent motivation system. At Dunice, when an employee passes an exam, they receive a salary increase.

Our experience has shown that financial motivation is the most effective. For an employee, it is simple and straightforward: to earn more, confirm your qualifications. We have had examples when a developer increased his salary by 20-30% percent per month because he managed to prepare and go through an interview in several areas at once.

For a manager, a financial incentive system is good because it is measurable. We set a coefficient for each exam that shows how much the salary will rise after passing. The employee passed, the information went to the accounting department.

You can motivate in another way – add vacation days, donate headphones, and Netflix subscriptions. As the statistics of the same KPMG show, salary motivation remains the main one for IT specialists – perhaps the situation is different in your industry.

Convincing, not forcing

It is important that employees understand that it is in their best interest to develop. This is not a whim of management, but a real necessity to stay in the industry. Therefore, there is no stick discipline in Dunice.

To give developers more freedom, we allow items to be donated in any order on any given day. I passed English this month, databases next month, or vice versa.

Growth system leaders make sure that employees develop. If the developer does not appear on the tests for a long time, the technical leader will talk to him, understand the situation, and convince him not to postpone the training until later. There were rare cases when a person did not want to improve their qualifications in principle. As a result, we parted with such employees.

Briefly about the important

Over the 2 years that the Dunice growth system has existed, we have come to the following conclusions:

  1. The training system can be really integrated into the work of the company.

  2. It is worth limiting the time when you can pass the test. To drive employees into an iron program is not.

  3. If the company has a growth system, it should be mandatory for employees, regardless of seniority and position.

  4. Finance is a motivation that is understandable for the employee and measurable for the manager.

  5. It is important that development becomes the cultural code of the company and is voluntary on the part of the employees.