Developing Your Employees

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Unless you can afford to pay top dollar, you likely won’t be hiring employees who are a perfect fit for the job on day one. That’s where training and employee development come in.

As a startup, it’s almost a given that you’re going to be spending a lot of time training and getting hires up to speed, so here are some ways to do that, from the book “Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better” by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi.

Don’t ask employees to take on everything. Instead, have them identify the 20 percent of skills they need to practice on that will deliver most of their value.

Increase difficulty gradually. Skills are perfected when they’re broken down and taken on in parts, in order of increasing complexity.

Don’t assume feedback is understood. Ask recipients to summarize what you said and list action points. And limit the feedback you give. People can only take on so much corrective action at once. Here’s another tip: Don’t offer feedback while employees are engaged in a task. It will only hurt their performance by distracting them.

Teach by example. Use one team member’s skills as a model to speed the transfer of this skill to others.

Accept failure. When employees know they can fail, they’ll work harder to succeed.

Take ownership. Teach employees and teams to identify their own errors and correct and coach themselves.

Make it fun. Use competition to cultivate engagement within a culture of improvement.

Adapted from Ten Ways to Practice Perfection with Your IT Teams by Dennis McCafferty at CIO Insight.