People-building: How to make good employees great
IN MY LAST COLUMN, I talked about how trust is the key to ensuring that each person in an organisation pulls in the same direction despite having different backgrounds or of a different generation. Another challenge that many leading organisations are fac
Every company wants its employees to be good, but having good people alone may not be enough to drive the business towards its goals, so companies need both conscientious and talented people. Which brings us to our next question: What strategies should leaders use to maximise their staff’s potential?
There are many ways you can boost your people’s abilities; you just need to choose the ones that are suited to the attributes, goals and direction of your own organisation. At AP, we have always believed in building high-calibre professionals, because people are the key to the industry’s and country’s progress. And we can say that AP is the first in the industry to pioneer and continuously invest in people-building.
Early on, we enlisted the help of human resources and organisational management consultants APMGroup to provide advice and input for our human resources development programmes. To ensure that the right people are put on the right job, we first used assessment tools to analyse employees’ abilities and learn where ach stood out and what gaps were there to be filled. Another area that we emphasise is learning by doing, which we believe is the best way for our people to develop their abilities and expertise. Today, you can easily find all the knowledge and how-to you need on the Internet, but without practical experience, you may not be able to put what you find to work. Besides, practical experience can only be obtained through trial and error. In construction and property development, especially, classroom learning alone offers little help. The surest way to make an expert out of someone is to give them hands-on experience.
At AP, we have a lab which replicates all the systems found in a typical AP-built home. There, under expert supervision, AP engineers work on scenarios such as a short circuit, practise electrical wiring for an entire house, perform sanitation system checks – things that are difficult to master by reading manuals alone.
AP invested over Bt300 million to create AP Academy, Thailand’s first comprehensive property development learning centre, with the goal of building high-calibre, truly knowledgeable people for the industry and delivering quality products to our customers. AP Academy is also open to students and members of the public.
AP Academy’s curricula – in management, design, construction, purchasing and sales – all emphasise practical experience based on the motto “in-depth knowledge, creativity, hands-on experience and quality”. This is because we believe that competency and capability are two different things.
Competency is having the knowledge while capability means being able to put that knowledge to work to get quality results. Some people know the theory, yet they put sub-par performance at the job because they have never still put their knowledge to work or don’t know how to apply it to real-life situations.
Providing employees with specialised training that matches their competence is another way to enhance employee abilities. The “one size fits all” approach to designing training courses no longer works and should be avoided at all costs. Specialised training courses are a way to bridge the skill gaps uncovered during the assessment process mentioned above.
Having merely a dozen talented people in an organisation with hundreds of conscientious employees isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Having people who have their heart in the right place is already a good start. Talent and abilities can be developed and built upon, especially if the leadership intends for it to happen and employees are committed to improving their own abilities with the mutual goal of driving the organisation forward.