As the Chief Officer of Human Resources and Professional Development, I have the privilege to do what I love. Every. Day. At the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), we place a priority on professional development. In 2016, one of the goals for the agency was for every employee to participate in a minimum of one professional development opportunity.
Although we tend to focus on development solely as training, it is important to acknowledge that there are many forms of development that help us identify an individual’s development needs. And when this is done well, we are developing one of the church’s blessings…the people who serve the Church through their work with general agencies.
Performance management tools are fundamental to staff development. They can provide managers and Human Resources Professionals with knowledge of the areas individuals need to develop and grow.
In my experiences, it is helpful to use a mixture of methods to ensure successful professional development:
- On-the-job learning
Having a structured training and development program provides needed consistency for employees. At GCFA, are in the process of fine-tuning the New Hire Orientation and Onboarding experience to ensure employees have a consistent experience. When employees enter an organization knowing the expectations, it sets them up for success. Providing them with the policy and procedural information up front is essential. However, it cannot stop there. Ensuring continuous learning throughout an employee’s tenure allows for continued engagement and growth of the individual.
Professional development offers many positives for the agency, the Church, and the individual. Investing the time to train your staff shows that you value them. You also allow for development opportunities that employees may not have sought out for themselves. This encourages them to continuously learn and grow. It also ensures that employees are confident in the job they have been assigned to do. When we focus on training and development, we provide the employees with the tools to be successful on the job to grow as individuals, showing them that they are appreciated, and positively impact their work for the Church.
In 2016, GCFA reached its goal of ensuring each staff member received professional development training. The majority of our staff received 2 or more training events. Management was trained in the process of Performance Reviews and were encouraged to set additional professional development goals for 2017.
We Are Still Learning
Although we are still in progress to fine tuning our training and development program, I am confident that our staff and managers are dedicate to continuous learning. In the summer of 2016, Cheryl Akey, Travel and Meeting Planning Manager at GCFA, received her Certified Meeting Planner certification. Knowing the value it added to her job, she encouraged an employee in the department to receive her certification. In January of 2017, she did it! Cheryl said, “The qualifications for certification includes education, experience and a rigorous exam. There are approximately 11,000 meeting planners around the globe that have a CMP designation. It is considered the badge of excellence in the meeting and event industry.” There are now three CMP’s on staff at GCFA serving the Church as dedicated professionals! It is the dedication of managers like Cheryl that help organizations achieve their Professional Development goals.
“My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers, because we know that we teachers will be judged more strictly.”
James 3:1 (CEB)