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What are the main elements of a staff development policy? How would you set about constructing and implementing such a policy?

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What are the main elements of a staff development policy? How would you set about constructing and implementing such a policy? A Staff Development Policy is an agreed framework and procedure for maintaining and improving the performance and job satisfaction of each member of staff through organisational, task and individual development. It offers a structure for good and creative management as well as meeting specific needs relating to staff support, appraisal and training in order to ensure more effective service. As a consequence all staff should receive an adequate and appropriate introduction to their job, followed by regular appropriate support and training linked to annual appraisals and on-going reviews. Throughout the construction and implementation of a staff development policy, it is important to keep in mind the individuality of organisations and their workers and services. This individuality will provide different requirements useful for compiling a policy specifically for the organisation. The commitment and skills of an organisation's workforce enables continuing growth and success. Organisations recognise that their ability to meet strategic objectives depend upon highly motivated and high-achieving staff. A thriving organisation values the link between staff development and performance both in theory and in practice. Kolb (1975) demonstrates through his model of experiential learning the continuous links between concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation. The model is a four step circle demonstrating experiential learning through doing, analysing, theoretically and then practically improving. Use of this model can begin at any of the 4 stages and continue indefinitely. The ability to encourage and inspire commitment from diverse and talented staff must be evident at all levels throughout the organisation as long term success depends upon being able to nurture and sustain workers present skills, whilst enabling the development of new ones. Throughout this essay I shall use the Epilepsy Action Staff Development policy as a working example of a policy and its effectiveness when put into practice. ...read more.


The Epilepsy Action staff development policy is theoretically designed to give the same training and development to all branches nationwide. However, it is my opinion that inadequate analysis has been undertaken into the varied needs of local branches. Rurally isolated branches may need training in outreach services due to the lack of public transport whereas an urban branch may need training in order to provide services to the large numbers of people in its catchment area. These needs are not currently being met as detailed analysis has not yet been done. The recent changes to Epilepsy Action Branches in Cornwall (formally Camborne and Truro Branches, now known as the South Cornwall Epilepsy Action Branch) demonstrate the importance of detailed analysis in all areas of an organisation. These changes came as a result of local people speaking up about the lack of suitable local support services for people with epilepsy. It was realised that the branches had become very insular and unreceptive to new members. Adequate services were not available and there was no support at all for young people in Cornwall. However, no data had been collated showing these failings and so in reviews, no training gaps were uncovered until disillusioned members and non-members brought the problem to Epilepsy Action's attention. As a result, volunteers at the South Cornwall Epilepsy Action Branch will soon receive specific training in rural issues and epilepsy awareness for young people. Branches in the South West region have been assured that there will be improved monitoring and evaluation of their needs from now on. The process of training and development is most effective when each individual takes responsibility for his or her own learning. This includes taking an active role in planning one's own personal development, undertaking agreed development activities, and evaluating the effectiveness of these. Self assessments of training needs help build employee commitment to the training programme. ...read more.


Establishing performance indicators against which the development of the organisation, its teams and individuals can be measured is important in order for further evaluation to take place. An organisations staff development policy should transform over the years as changes occur within the organisation, its workforce and its users. Changes in legislation mean that organisations must provide training in areas they may have not considered before. In addition, the organisation's own requirements may alter. Charitable organisations, for example, may have to adapt the services they provide in order to meet funding requirements, thereby demanding different skills from staff. The skills of new and existing members of staff will have changed over the years and their personal career development interests will influence this. As their roles bring new challenges, they will require appropriate training in order to work competently. An organisation which uses detailed analysis of its own organisational and departmental needs and those of all its employees, to compile an up-to-date effective staff development policy, which is then put into practice with regular reviews and evaluation should have a content and constructive workforce. Staff development policies aim to enable individuals to acquire knowledge and skills which will allow them to fulfil current responsibilities more effectively, to work more effectively in teams and to respond to the demands placed on them by organisational change at faculty, department or division, or section level. The opportunity to develop skills and/or gain qualifications which contribute to the achievement of agreed personal and career development goals is a big motivator for both individuals and the organisation. This definition supports not only the more traditional forms of development such as briefing sessions, seminars, conferences and workshops, but also allows more progressive forms of development such as mentoring, work shadowing, individual advice sessions, secondments and self directed learning. As such it reinforces the concept of continuous professional and personal development. Staff development policies should ensure the fair and effective management of individual performance needs. Any alterations to staff development policies should be agreed by all involved and this will be key to their successful implementation. ...read more.

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