I had a refreshing conversation recently with the HR Director of a very successful global technology business. Their business has been going through a lot of change to prepare for growth and realign itself to its target markets. This change has required the recruitment of a lot of new employees to fuel the new culture that they are developing. We were discussing employee development and I was pleasantly surprised at their approach to it.

As a business owner, at times, I have been really frustrated by the approach some previous employees have taken to their personal development. Despite us building a culture of personal learning, some individuals have kept with the approach that external training is the only way that they can develop. I want to be promoted and I need you to send me on course x. Of course investing in external courses should be a part of the development plan, there are so many more opportunities today and it is all accessible when we have created time for it and are in the right mood to learn. From books and podcasts to webinars and a plethora of online tools and courses. The world of learning is far richer in its accessible content than when I started Collingwood in 2005!

My view, rightly or wrongly, is that if an employee is serious about their development then they should be the ones driving it. Waiting for your line manager to identify gaps and the solutions to close them is the wrong approach. Unless an employee takes responsibility, learning will become transactional and their CV a tick box of the courses they have been on. It is unlikely to provide effective development which will add limited value to either the business or the employee.

How does your organisation approach personal learning and development?