Why personal development is important for business is a question that historically has been ignored or downplayed. Nevertheless, the current competitive market demands talented employees from organizations that can provide their organizations a competitive edge over similar organizations. Thus, organizations need to recognize that the personal development of staff is as important as the development of the business itself.
Personal development includes activities that improve awareness, and identity, develop talents and potential, build clarity for vision, build and set aims in life to maximize human potential. Without any personal development, while working, employees can lose motivation and become unengaged, which can directly impact productivity, morale, and ultimately the organization’s goals.
Personal development, well-being, happiness and productivity
Personal development is a vital part of internal happiness for humans as personal development is closely related to our needs. Hence it helps to intrinsically motivate employees to work on their goals and build a positive attitude towards work. Even the positive perceptions of opportunities for personal development proved to be intrinsically rewarding as well as improving the well-being of the individual (Diener and Suh, 1999, Kasser and Ryan, 1996).
These perceptions furthermore may also result in increased meaningfulness of work, encouraging them to invest more cognitive and emotional resources as well as better understand their work roles in the organization (Brown and Leigh, 1996). This meaningfulness of work can also be boosted by employees to work not just for rewards or promotions, but also for the internal satisfaction of doing a good job and this further promotes their performance (Wright and Cropanzano, 2004).
A recent study also shows a strong relationship between subjective well-being(life’s satisfaction) and how much readiness a person is showing personal growth or development. Furthermore, since the readiness for personal growth serves as a predictor for overall well-being it also becomes a path to reach happiness (Anna Maria Zawadzka & Anna Szabowska-Walaszczyk, 2014).
People also develop stronger senses of job competence and autonomy when they perceive learning opportunities, inducing them to feel more enthusiastic and comfortable in the presence of the job requirements (Daniels, 2000).
Workplaces also play a key role in people’s happiness, as Gavin and Mason(2004) that: “Work by itself doesn’t necessarily make a person happy, but a person cannot be genuinely happy if he or she is unhappy at work”. Furthermore, Researchers found that promoting employees’ happiness can also help to promote individual and organizational performance.
Therefore, organizations need to invest in the tools and resources that enable them to facilitate the professional as well as the personal development of their employees. Moreover, if personal and organizational developments are integrated, organizations tend to achieve better results and employees feel more satisfied.
One of the major issues for employees is that even though current organizational practices are full of potential for learning processes, many employees are not aware of their own personal learning and development goals. They might even feel a barrier to find appropriate learning processes that will help them to lead to those personal goals.
To counter this issue, employees and organizations can use a strength intervention approach to develop personal development.
Most personal developments in organizations use a deficit approach to identify weaknesses and work on them. A strength approach, proposed by Seligman and Peterson (2004), often works better as it works on getting positive outcomes. Those outcomes include feelings of competency, efficacy, rapid learning curves, and mastery, etc.
Similarly, positive organizational studies suggest that by putting more effort into developing people’s strengths, we can help people achieve happiness as well as making life meaningful.
On the basis of work by Quinlan et al (2012), the strength intervention approach works in a three-step process:
- Identification of strengths:
At first, employees need to be self-aware of their current strengths.
For this purpose, employees can either use SWOT analysis with their teammates, where they write strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that they identify for themselves, as well as for others.
The common strengths identified by both, them as well as their teammates, can be highlighted as their strongest traits. Another method to be aware of the strengths is by answering the following two questions:
- Which experience at work made you feel most energized?
- What could be a few individual strengths that were responsible for this experience?
- Developments of strengths:
The next step includes the development of strengths by employees themselves.
For this purpose, their personal plans could be either about the general application of strengths in daily activities or about the specific use of strengths to deal with difficult tasks at work or home.
Employees can also seek help from their managers as:
- Managers can also fill the role of mentors to guide employee’s personal growth
- Managers can provide them enough resources to work on their personal goals, remember the more resources they get, the better their personal goals resonate within them.
- Usage of strengths:
How employees use their personal development goals or skills is entirely up to them.
What organizations can do is build a new job-skill fit that matches their current skills. In other words, an organization can help employees to use their personal skills for them.
A task analysis can help in this, where employees are asked to decide what element of their job they want to craft in line with their strengths. This again can serve as the input for another personal plan for strengths use.
- To strengthen the commitment of employees in their development process, ask employees to share their personal development plans with their teammates.
Personal development is a crucial aspect of life with many far‑reaching benefits. Time and resources spent on developing your and your employee’s personal development do have a good return in terms of professional growth. One of the best approaches to build this personal development is through an ‘identify and use approach’ where employees identify their strengths and build upon them. Joyup genie is the platform that helps employees to work on their personal development with an action-oriented approach.