What happens when we invest in developing our people?

by | Sep 14, 2021

The present-day focus on productivity, efficiency and profitability have notably also impacted the time and money that organisations are willing to spend on the development of their people. Management typically use one or more of the following excuses when confronted with the subject of developing their people:

  • we are too busy;
  • our time can be spent more wisely and productively;
  • it will cost us too much / we cannot afford it;
  • what happens if we develop our people, and they leave?

I firmly believe that to build a long-term sustainable business, the development of your people is the one area where you cannot afford any compromises. Why do I say this?… Leaders understand that when we invest in developing our people, not only do we improve their skills and abilities, but we simultaneously cultivate new leaders and strengthen our company culture. When you develop your people, they become more innovative and productive, allowing your business cash flows, and profitability to improve. It is when your people grow in this fashion, that your businesses will achieve extraordinary growth.

An added advantage that we unlock when we develop our people is that our staff retention rate improves significantly. A proper development plan not only ensures that we grow our people, but that they understand and buy into the vision and values of the business.

How to think differently when it comes to the development of our people

When creating a people development plan for your business it is critical to start by gaining insights into their strengths. Why?… Have you noticed how much energy you need to exert when you are doing something that is not one of your strengths? On the other hand, when you apply your strengths it not only creates energy, but also builds confidence.

“Gallup has found that building employees’ strengths is a far more effective approach to improving performance than trying to improve weaknesses. When employees know and use their strengths, they are more engaged, perform better, and are less likely to leave their company.” 1

The next step is to tailor a strengths development plan for each staff member that will hone and improve the strengths of each individual staff member. This will require inputs from and regular sessions with a strengths coach to gain a deeper understanding of each staff member’s strengths and the ways in which each strength can be improved over time.

It is important that future leaders in your organisation know who they are and how they fit into the long-term plans of the business. Developing their strengths together with the skills and abilities they will require in their future leadership roles should be their key developmental goals.

Encourage staff to make use of goal orientated mentorship and coaching sessions, while also encouraging peer-to-peer engagement. This approach fosters more holistic and team orientated thinking that in turn leads to enhanced innovative thinking, improved outcomes, faster adoption of changes and openness to new ideas within the organisation.

At wauko I personally spend 40% of my own time (yes, you heard right – two days a week) on the one-to-one development of my people. This excludes the fact that Wauko employs a full-time performance and strengths coach, as part of a people development plan. We believe that by nurturing our people we create leaders who think differently. Leaders who will drive change and develop innovative new ways of adding value to our clients.

Our wauperform division can assist your business in:

  • identifying the strengths of your people;
  • coaching them to understand and improve their strengths;
  • structuring your people development plan;
  • designing and implementing a performance management and incentive plan.
We would love to hear your thoughts on developing people in business and encourage you to share your stories of success in adopting a proactive approach to people development.

1 Comment


    Thanks Pieter, for sharing this very important article. The development of people and to do this in the correct manner is of outmost importance.

    Excellent article and we can all learn from this.


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