Encouraging professional development

The challenges associated with the changing nature of work and the workplace environment require a skilled, knowledgeable workforce with employees who are adaptive, flexible, and focused on the future.

As a manager, one of your key responsibilities is to develop your staff. You are expected to:

  • Work with your employees to assess and provide feedback on their skills and interests
  • Help select learning and development activities that match their career development objectives and job needs
  • Use Trojan Knowledge Expedition to focus on key professional development topics in TrojanLearn on a monthly basis
  • Create an individual development plan within the performance management process
  • Stay informed of current policies and practices that support employee development
  • Follow up with employees after a learning activity to integrate new skills and knowledge into their responsibilities
  • Ensure that your employees complete all required training, both government-mandated (such as Harassment Prevention and Campus SaVE Act) and position-required – consult with your HR Partner for details

Your support of learning and development creates a “win” for the employee and for your workplace. You will have:

  • Employees with upgraded skills, working to their full potential and equipped to deal with the changing demands of the workplace
  • Employees with higher morale, career satisfaction, creativity, and motivation
  • Increased productivity and responsiveness in meeting departmental objectives

Career development is the ongoing acquisition or refinement of skills and knowledge, including job mastery and professional development, coupled with career planning activities. Job mastery skills are those that are necessary to successfully perform one’s job. Professional development skills are the skills and knowledge that go beyond the scope of the employee’s job description, although they may indirectly improve job performance.

Since career development is an ongoing, dynamic process, employees may need encouragement and support in reviewing and re-assessing their goals and activities. You are in a key position to provide valuable feedback and learning activities or resources. Formal training and classes away from the job are effective in providing new information, but adult learners also need to practice new skills. Therefore, you can contribute significantly to your staff member’s career development by supporting career development activities within your department.

Your support for career development is important because:

  • Current information about the organization and future trends helps employees create more realistic career development goals
  • Focus on skill development contributes to learning opportunities
  • Opportunities for promotion and/or lateral moves contribute to the employee’s career satisfaction
  • A greater sense of responsibility for managing one’s own career contributes to self-confidence
  • Career planning and development clarifies the match between organizational and individual employee goals
  • It’s cost-effective to use your own staff talent to provide career development opportunities within your department
  • Career development increases employee motivation, morale and productivity and nurtures commitment to USC and the unit
  • Attention to (and emphasis on) career development helps you attract top staff and retain valued employees
  • Supporting career development and growth of employees is a USC priority

There are countless ways to support career development, thinking outside the box:

  • Create cross-functional teams for projects or assignments, giving employees a chance to hone new skills
  • Expand accountabilities
  • Involve employee in department, division, staff or other designated meetings
  • On-the-job coaching and feedback counseling
  • Serving as a conference leader or trainer
  • Formal presentation opportunities
  • Understudy training
  • Planned exposure to another function
  • Lateral transfer
  • Vacation or replacement assignments
  • TrojanLearn training
  • Outside functional training (conferences, seminars, etc.)
  • Study manuals, bulletins, reports and other material
  • Planned reading in specialized fields (technical books, trade journals, management literature, etc.)
  • Mentoring
  • Modeling or role playing
  • Active participation in campus community

Management development

The management and leadership development process is flexible and continuous, linking an individual’s development to the goals of the job and the organization. Management development programs give you the opportunity to develop a broad base of skills and knowledge to help you become an excellent leader. All new managers are required to take USC Management Essentials, which is highly recommended for all managers.