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How can you sustain employee development during Covid?

19 Apr 2021 - Blog

How can you sustain employee development during Covid?

Written by Costa Antoniou, Consultant at People Insight


Despite the challenges of the past year, employees are still focused on learning and development with many still considering changing jobs or actively searching for a new role. This highlights that the need for organisations to craft roles with ongoing meaning, interest and challenge for employees remains as critical as ever. 

It’s something I’ve been reflecting on for a while, but even more so following a recent experience at a fire station. 


A swollen finger, a fire station, and a jeweler…

This might sound like the set-up for a joke, but rest assured this isn’t an attempt to humour you but a reflection on how to generate more job interest and challenge amongst your employees. 

A few weekago, my wife’s wedding ring became stuck on her finger and after many DIY attempts to remove it (there are some neat tricks that got us close) we decided to call on our local fire station to see if they could help.  

It turned out that the tool required to cut the ring was not functioning properly, so the fire station called on the local jeweler – who also volunteers for the local fire station – to help us out. The satisfaction and sense of achievement he received in the task performed was one most people might not think of for a jewelerYou can read the full story in our local paper here. 


Jeweller to rescue as woman’s rings get stuck on swollen finger

A jeweller/fire crew volunteer came to the rescue – revealing an unexpected aspect to their job role!


Our encounter reminded me how simple it can be to add variety into a role once you look beyond the 2D box that is the job description.  


Why does job variety matter for employee engagement? 

Pay aside, elements of intrinsic reward (i.e. growth, learning, job challenge) often appear as some of the lowest scoring questions in any employee survey. We all know that promotions are not always an option; consider how else you might add challenge and growth into a role.  

A recent regression analysis at People Insight identified job interest & challenge amongst the biggest influence on employees intention to stay.

This doesn’t have to mean climbing a career ladder in the traditional senseinstead, this is about crafting a role to generate more interest, challenge, and ultimately meaning.  


How to put job crafting into practice 

  • Work with your employees. Help managers have more fruitful discussions with their teams when it comes to careerlearning, and employee development plans 
  • Update your appraisals Questions in appraisals such as ‘what training do you want this year?’ or ‘where do you want to take your career in 6 months’ time?’ are starting to feel like tick box appraisal questions on yearly repeat. Think beyond a person’s job to bring in the something new, the something challenging, the something diverse, and even the something scary (that is where we mostly grow and develop after all) 
  • Look beyond your organisation. An entirely newand perhaps unusual, strand to one’s role not only provides more role fulfilment, but also adds further cognitive diversity into the team and wider organisationAllowing employees to spend a small portion of their time volunteering in their community can lead to more diverse ideas and solutions within your workplace.  workplace.  

Amy Wrzesniewskis classic Ted talk includes a great example of how job crafting led a cleaning team to generate more interest and meaning in their work.  


Back to my story.  

The ring now safely removed, the fire fighters at the station spoke to my wife and I of the open opportunity to sign up as on-call firefighters. Before that evening, whadn’t imagined we would be discussing the possibility of adding such a diverse element to our working lives 

Their suggestion reminded me that we can all become multipotentialites  with the chance to excel in more than just one role and bring the positive aspects of each along with us.  



How can job crafting help engage, develop and retain your people?

People Insight can help with job crafting at your organisation by: 

  • Introducing survey questions specific to employee development 
  • Running interactive workshops with employee subgroups to identify how roles can be re-shaped to fit an organisational and individual purpose. 
  • Leading role re-design programmes 

Book a call today to see how we can help. 



Thanks to Costa Antoniou for writing this article. 

Connect with Costa on LinkedIn.

Great insights.
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