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Individual learning is of real significance and of strategic importance for the individual and for organizational development. Organizational development, however, depends on the individual development if individual working in the organization are professionally trained and personally developed organization would certainly prosper. This unit 3 employability and professional development assignment focuses on the individual learning and development methods that contribute to organisational development. It is not just elaborate training programs that meliorates the skill of individuals but also development of completely new components of the work process that is in line with the needs of everyone in an organization and more importantly in sync with the overall organisational objectives. At all times, employees in an organization need to develop their thinking abilities and ought to be always ready to come up with out of the box ideas.
In any profession, achieving and then keeping up with the competence standards is a desired attribute of the employee. Most job positions have their own set of standard competence indexes. Based on the performance on the competence standards, one can design a professional development plan to overcome the weaknesses in his or her professional skills and get better at the job. A working professional should always seek ways to improve the performance by learning new skills and improving in the existing skills with experience and training.
Competencies lie at the heart of every of every successful activity (Sanghi 2003). As a trained nurse in the hospital, I’m trained in different arts and skills of professional nursing. There is a standard competence level for the profession of a nurse. I got into this field with minimum required skill set and knowledge of the nursing business. With time I learned many new things and skills in this profession with my experience and some additional training. However, job of a nurse is a kind of a job in which one own level of competence is very important to maintain the high quality of work. Maintaining high standards in the profession of a nurse is very essential as someone’s life might be on stake sometimes. The work demand for a nurse’s profession varies from place to place depending on the hospital work they are involved in. In every case, there is a great opportunity to learn new skills and get trained to get better at the job to minimize the margin of error.
The current organizational cultures, structures, along with their process peculiarities demand from individuals that they use their prior experiences and cognitive skills. Supervisory staff in the organisation like managers and supervisors is required to train their subordinates utilizing appropriate resources. They should also make the new employee aware of the organizational objectives and goals. A new concept has emerged within the individual learning and development sphere termed self managed learning or SML. This is a new approach that tells how the individual learning is managed by an individual on their own. SML is a learning concept that acts as a mirror image to the management process (Garrow V, 1998). Many objective and subjective evidences have proved that the managers equipped with the requisite skills are required to effectively handle situations that come up on a daily basis in the corporate environment. Business environment is filled with ambiguity, change and uncertainty. The SML approach endeavours to provide substantial evidence based solutions for these characteristics of a business environment. Examples of negative and positive outcomes associated with the implementation of SML program are given below.
Self Managed Learning or SML is a term that was first coined by Ian Cunningham in the late seventies. SML is characterized with the derivation of several elements from different methods that deals with self-development of individuals. Self Managed Learning is a holistic approach that relates with the individual and is underpinned with strong values (Garrow V, 1998). SML is also derived from the organizational needs and this would help an individual to gather learning firmly in an organizational context. Also, there is a sense of collective responsibility that supports with each and every aspect and also makes the concerned learner an active participant in the learning of others.
Employee’s self-recognition on their levels of competence is a must in carrying on with high standards of care (Riitta &Maija, 2004). A self-analysis of the profession is always a hard task and it is seldom a good choice in this profession. Instead, taking help of a fellow senior employee in asking for feedback on my present work skills is a far better option. In addition to that, an experienced colleague can also suggest the employee the new skills they might learn to get better at their job. A suitable recommendation could be very helpful in removing the weaknesses and making better decisions with added knowledge of new skills. There have been very few studies to suggest the comparison of various skills required in the profession of an employee. However, a standard competence might do the trick.
Having a defined set of competencies is a true identification of a profession (Bernthal, 2004). To obtain the feedback for work procedure and the skills to be learned, I’m contacting the manager of the organization for his professional opinion about the new skills I should be my efforts into. As the experienced professional in the hospital, he is certainly capable of making a smart suggestion and as he is familiar with the routine tasks of the hospital, he can suggest the best option in the present circumstances. In addition to this search for a new skill, I’m also looking for the areas of this profession I need improvement in. For this purpose one can contact the head of employee union to give him an honest feedback of his work here in the organization to suggest the skills he need to work on to make his work better.
The vital benefits identified slotted into the following categories:
It is however evident that the Self Managed Learning method is not easy for many of the participants. Difficulties have also been reported in structuring the requisite relations to cultivate the necessary bonding required for SML. Various responses that indicate such difficulties are of the likes of ‘not a very helpful or vibrant set’, ‘lacks walking the talk from one particular adviser’, ‘internal mentor has a different perspective’, gender differences and the disparity among people in ‘handling ambiguity’. Due to these relationships being a key component in the success of the program, time and effort has to be put in to getting all concerned working well together and this makes emotional demands on all concerned. Self Managed Learning participants must build rapport with people having very different needs, agendas and values’ and devote time in assessing the work of others.
SML is more closely related to the process rather than to the learning course content that an individual is supposed to go through. The learning that is gained with the various facets of the learning approaches seem to be the best benefit of the SML. The methods that are suitable for the life long process of professional learning are slotted into the categories of meta learning, strategic Learning, collaborative Learning, motivational learning and autonomous learning
Meta learning- Meta learning is the process that produces the strategic level of facilitating radical change in the learning environment. Cunningham states that acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies would all be irrelevant if the managers are not able to bring about changes in their mind-sets and their mental frameworks. Upon mastering this Meta learning, the new learning is developed with respect to the applicable areas in the learner’s life and also in particular in dealing with the future organizational challenges.
Strategic Learning-In the current business environment that is complex and fast moving with the rapid changes, managers are also required to be constantly geared towards the demands imposed by the fast paced organization. Managing change, anticipation, and delivering the right impact for the future direction are the proposed and likely benefits of the Self Managed Learning approach. SML moves in synchronizing management and learning in every scenario. The concerned individuals must be provided with solutions that are more strategic matching to the organizational issues.
Collaborative Learning- Collaboration is a must in any organizational task since it would provide for sharing of resource capabilities and a common sense of understanding. Similarly, in the learning process with an SML collaborative approach, the vital element is to share the understanding of commons as applicable in their professional development and also in their individual life also.
Motivational Learning- Motivation is the driving force behind learning among individuals. If an individual is not motivated in learning something he or she would never be able to grasp the very essence of what is made to learn. Identifying the individual learner’s organizational objectives, resources and potential would be an apt manner to motivate them to achieve both individual and organizational goals and also developing their professional development. motivational learning adopted as part of SML directly contribute to meeting the orderly needs that has in turn potential capability for achieving ‘self-actualization’, that Maslow has so well described in his need hierarchy theory (Garrow V, 1998).
Autonomous Learning- Autonomous learning approach of SML conflicts with collaborative learning but delves on the need to recognize individual differences. There may be situations where participants from different curriculum would work on different projects or are called upon to meet with different demands. In addition, every member has his or her own style of learning that could only be appreciated with autonomous learning.
Developing a self portfolio that lays down the skills that are needed for professional and personal development is a crucial activity for making SWOT analysis. The first step in making a self-portfolio is zeroing in on skills that a person is required to have and evaluation of the current skills. Managers to be professional must have certain skills such as being effective, interpersonal skills and being communicative. Such skills are based on the features which are described below as:
Conceptual Skills: Conceptual skills are those that are associated with the ability of logical reasoning that come in handy in resolving any type of corporate issues. The ability to recognize opportunities in the areas that are difficult to comprehend or seemingly out of reach and evaluating key information for those areas are the key conceptual skills. Showing of understanding of the business models to be implemented during critical stages of growth of the particular company is yet another conceptual skill.
Communication Skills: Communication skills are the ability to convert ideas into meaningful words thus translating into effective performance. An ability to communicate with fluency of language is one that is acquired through training. This ability enables a person to become highly expressive so that understanding a problem becomes much easier and effective. Effective verbal and presentation skills call for excellence over oral and written languages that help in understanding better topics that are difficult in nature.
Effectiveness Skills: Those skills that contribute to the activities that are duty based such as client focus, effective project management and more could be considered as effectiveness skills. Review of procedures, setting up priorities for consideration while pursuing strategic actions are more examples of such skills.
Interpersonal Skills:Interpersonal skills comprise of those skills that are used when working in a team environment in organizations to enable better working relationships with the various team members. Such skills are even more called into play when dealing with people belonging to different cultures. Different culture signifies people from different nationalities, social and educational backgrounds in an organization. Establishing better networking with those from outside the particular group to which a person belongs to, within the groups and by various effective ways with mutual aid and dedication is the key to success.
Time management has assumed a real significant role in self-development, of late. In coming out with a personal development plan, time management assumes prime importance as it enables developing good work habits. Effective time management can be attained by focusing on three important strategies.
Prioritization-Using this strategy, we can concentrate on listing the entire tasks as per their urgency on a daily basis and work accordingly. In order to prioritize tasks in an effective manner, the ABC Rank Order method can be used. A refers to the highest priority activities or those that must be done immediately. B refers to the second-priority activities or those that are not to be done immediately, but you should do soon. C refers to the low-priority tasks or things that you would like to do or they can wait to do.
Using this matrix, various activities or tasks can be assigned to different level based on their urgency and importance.
Scheduling-Scheduling is another important strategy utilized in effective time management. This strategy enables a person to segregate list of tasks on time basis. This is akin to time allocation to a particular task on when it needs to be completed or done. It enforces a time condition to the work and helps to achieve results in an effective manner. Time mapping is another model under the scheduling strategy that can be used to schedule all the activities or tasks at thework place or ine one’s personal life.
Execution-Execution is the carrying out of your prioritized schedule or what one has accomplished with the first two skills of scheduling and prioritization. Once the activities or tasks are scheduled and prioritized, it is vital to carry them out at a designated time. Successful execution or implementation results in high productivity or in meeting objectives.
Devising a professional development plan for those working in a company is done for making them professional from every aspect that is required in meeting the current global business requirements. Employee’s professional development in an organization is necessary for discharging their daily functions at an optimum and also for efficient execution of strategic actions taken by them. Devising a professional development plan for a person based on the identified development needs includes the following features.
Reflecting-A reflection of thoughts and ideas of the people working in a firm is required to be made with their consent in the form of synthesized and organized writings.
Gaining Self-Awareness-A professional development plan is utilized for gaining self-awareness by the staff in an organization. For gaining self-awareness, the first thing to be done by the individual is to introspect and evaluate on themselves whether they are suitable for the firm or not.
Seeking Outside Input- A PDP or professional development plan outlines not only the inner characteristics of the persons but also seeks input from outside sources related to an individual. Colleagues, staff belonging to other divisions in the organisation and information from peers serve as outside input to the devising of the PDP.
Developing Action Steps-Professional Development Plan formation needs several logical developmental steps. Those in charge should be involved with all steps one by one that relate to an individual PDP.
Setting Longer Term Goals-Individual longer term goals are set with the PDP formation of an individual that would be achieved in consonance with the long term goals in an organization. Through an effective PDP, an individual longer term goal is set to be achieved in a manner that is in tandem with the achievement of goals of the mentor organization.
There is no prescribed method in the drafting of the professional development plan. Students or interns and people working in organization can adopt their own methods in drafting it. However, few guidelines are provided to devise a professional development plan in an orderly manner, as given below:
First begin with the identification of abilities and skills that an individual possesses, the knowledge the individual has currently and to what extent it could be improved.
Step 1 Conduct the environmental scan and participant needs assessment
Step 2 Nurture PD program goals
Step 3 Zero in on possible PD strategies
Step 4 Finalize the action plan and relevant measures
Step 5 Implement the action plan
Step 6 Revise the action plan as needed
Step 7 Undertake a summative evaluation
During the process of development of the PDP, several documents are also necessary that configure an individual’s professional development in one go. In implementing the PDP, the documentation necessary must include a detailed resume or CV of a person who is aspiring to become a professional. A CV or Curriculum Vitae consists of all aspects that may define an individual both formally and informally. In a professionally developed CV, a brief description on the qualifications, experience, achievements and more are provided. An organization requires the well-structured CV of a person when he or she is seeking a job in that organization. A CV depicts in every possible manner that the particular person is suitable for the job or not.
The objective of improving the productivity through communicating the above discussed strategies can be achieved by the specific use of trainings and improving work practices. Use case analysis and open discussions and can be specific ways to achieve such goals.
Measurable:At this phase, it becomes vital to find out whether the strategies are measurable or can be documented. This tactical approach will allow us to quantify the role of the practical implementation of case studies and problem solving scenarios. Improvements achieved in the implemented strategy can be measured to ascertain if it is working or not. It is important for an organization to measure the change implemented.
Attainable:Another vital element of this framework is to find out if the required change can be attained in the proposed time frame or whether there are enough resources in supporting change. For our approach of communicating and improving analytical skills, it is important to evaluate attainability of the learning styles at the work place.
Relevant: This component of the SMART model is related to proposing a relationship between the overall organizational goals and the purpose of the program initiated towards arriving at work based problem solutions or individual development. It is costly to manage change and consumes time to derive success out of any activity. Therefore it becomes important to evaluate the relevance to the work place and this should be carried out before implementing it at the operational level.
Time Bound:Any solution or activity proposed for a work based problem must be time bound. Learning styles adopted to improve communication and the use of an analytical approach in work scenarios should be time bound. It stipulates a time frame in which to find out the effectiveness of the approach adopted. If the required change is successfully adapted to, within the time bound framework, then it can be considered that it has been successfully implemented in achieving organizational goals and improving productivity.
There are several types of development needs required for in an organization. If I were to consider my own learning needs that gel with an organization in which I have decided to work according to my requirements, they would be:
Legislative Requirements-This is a development need that could be associated with his or her basic requirements in different ways. The legislative requirements of the company which I would wish to join sometimes might not be in tandem with me and this may lead to me having legal issues with the company.
Organizational needs-The next development need is to concentrate on the organizational needs of the firm in which one is working. The individual needs must be in sync with the organizational needs. A job aspirant like me, after joining an organization can fulfil my own needs only with the fulfilment of the organizational needs.
Job needs-Different types of job needs could be there that are listed in the job description. The different types of job criterion dictate my development needs and also on what the job profile requires from me. For those specific needs listed in the job profile, I would have to work for.
Individual and team needs-Individual and team needs are the ones that enable the capability of functioning well in a team as well as the nurturing of the individual development needs required for me as a well-functioning individual in an organization. Both Individuals and teams are having different task priorities and therefore my development needs would also be based on those differing individual and team needs.
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Learners at different levels of education and employment levels require professional skills to enter the professional industries. The aim of this report is to analyse the need for professional skills development and competence. This report gives learners an opportunity to assess and develop an understanding of their own responsibilities and performance in or when entering the workplace. The unit employability and professional development considers the skills required for general employment such as interpersonal and transferable skills, and the dynamics of working with others in teams or groups including leadership and communication skills.
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