Training development 6

Even the smartest students need writing assistance at some point during their academic career. Should you lock yourself in a room and spend the entire weekend trying to write a paper? We promise you that the paper that you pay for won’t be resold or submitted elsewhere. It will also be written according to the instructions that you and your professor provide. Our excellent essays stand out among the rest for a reason. Don’t just take our word, check them out by yourself.

Order a Similar Paper Order a Different Paper

Three questions 200 words each


Chapter Nine

Employee Development and Career Management


After reading this chapter, you should be able to

Discuss the steps in the development planning process.

Explain employee and company responsibilities in planning development.

Discuss current trends in using formal education for development.

Relate how assessment of personality type, work behavior, and job performance can be used for employee development.

Explain how job experiences can be used for development and suggest a job experience to match an employee’s development goal or need.

Identify the characteristics of an effective mentoring program.

Describe the succession planning process and how the nine-box grid is used.

Design an effective onboarding process.

AT&T: Staying Relevant and Competitive by Helping Employees Develop Their Careers

AT&T is well-known for its work in building the telephone infrastructure in the United States. But as the telecommunications industry moves from cables and landlines to smartphones, the Internet, and the cloud, AT&T is having to reinvent itself to survive. This not only means investing in wireless technology but also in developing its employees’ technical skills in areas such as cloud-based computing and coding. This is especially important because employees with these skills are in short supply and high demand from many other employers such as Amazon and Google.

To get the skills the company needs, AT&T has invested more than $250 million in employee training and development. AT&T wants to encourage all of its employees to develop their skills for future job opportunities. To do so AT&T provides employees with many different options they can use to learn and develop their careers. For example, an online self-service platform provides career profile, career intelligence, and job simulation tools. The career profile tool evaluates employees’

page 397

skills and competencies, experience, and educational credentials. It provides a development profile that employees can use to find open positions across AT&T’s business units that match their interests, preferences, and skills and links them to resources for developing competencies they may need. The career intelligence tool helps employees make informed career decisions by providing data on hiring trends within the company and profiles of different jobs that include salary range and number of current employees holding the job. The simulation tool provides employees with situations they may actually encounter in a job and asks them to assess their preference for working in such jobs. This helps employees identify whether they fit a job on the basis of the type of work they like to do.

Using the information they gain from these tools, other employees, and discussions with their managers, employees have several options for developing their skills. These include online and face-to-face courses; 6- to 12-month nanodegree programs in high-demand specialties such as software engineering, coding, web development, and data analytics offered by MOOC provider Udacity; and online master’s degree programs in computer science, with tuition costs subsidized by AT&T.

AT&T is also taking steps to encourage employees to develop a more contemporary mindset about their career and to encourage them to engage in continuous learning. To do so, AT&T is replacing traditional career paths—which emphasize a ladder of career progression through advancing in one’s role and job title, with increasing importance and scope of responsibilities—with career lattices, which encourage career paths involving lateral, cross-functional, and even downward moves that require employees to stretch their skill sets and develop cross-functional knowledge. This helps change employees’ mindsets from assuming the company is responsible for their development to one in which they take charge of their own career through actively seeking new roles and experiences.

So far, AT&T’s investment is paying off. In the first six months of 2016, employees who had been retrained filled half of the technology management positions and received slightly less than 50 percent of all promotions. AT&T has seen a 40 percent reduction in product-development cycle time and increased time to revenue by over 30 percent.

Source: Based on M. Mancini, “AT&T: Continuously Dialing Up the Learning Evolution,” Chief Learning Officer (June 2017), pp. 40–41; J. Donovan and C. Benko, “AT&T’s Talent Overall,” Harvard Business Review (October 2016), pp. 69–73; and C. Anthony, “Three Keys to Our Culture,” Fortune (January 1, 2018), p. 32.

The most appropriate view of today’s careers is that they are “boundaryless and often change.”8 Careers today include movement across several employers (also known as job hopping) or even different occupations. Job hopping is discussed in Chapter Ten, “Social Responsibility: Legal Issues, Managing Diversity, and Career Challenges.” Studies have found that 25 percent of employees have held five jobs or more by age 35 and for employees 55 and older, 20 percent have held 10 jobs or more.9 One-third of employers expect job hopping to occur, especially among new college graduates, but 40 percent of employers believe it becomes less acceptable when employees are in their mid-30s. The reality is that employees will be unlikely to stay at one company for their entire or even a significant part of their career. This means that companies and employees should add value to each other.10 That is, regardless of how long employees stay, developing them can help the company adapt to changing business conditions and strategies by providing new skill sets and managerial talent. Development helps enhance employees’ employability with their current and potential future employers. Also, development provides opportunities for all employees to grow their skills and use them in different ways, which has been shown to contribute to high levels of engagement and satisfaction.11 Development can potentially reduce employees’ job hopping because they do not feel they need to change employers to build their skill sets or gain valuable job experiences. For example, Citigroup has introduced several development programs to recruit and keep its millennial employees.12 One program provides the opportunity to work on global projects. For example, a project in Kenya helps small businesses develop growth strategies. Another program allows employees to spend a year working with nonprofits. These types of programs help meet millennials’ need for helping others, give them a break from the long hours and stress of their banking jobs, and help them develop new skills and gain new perspectives.

“Boundaryless” means that careers may involve identifying more with a job or profession than with the present employer. A career can also be considered boundaryless in the sense that career plans or goals are influenced by personal or family demands and values, passion, and purpose. One way that employees cope with changes in their personal lives, as well as in employment relationships, is to rearrange and shift their roles and responsibilities. Employees can change their careers throughout their life based on awareness of strengths and weaknesses, the perceived need to balance work and life, and the need to find purposeful and exciting work.13 Career success may not be tied to promotions but to achieving goals that are personally meaningful to the employee rather than those set by parents, peers, or the company. As we discuss later in the chapter, careers are best managed through employee-company partnerships that create a positive relationship through which employees are committed to the organization but can take personal control for managing their own careers to benefit themselves and the company.

For example, after graduating from college, Katlin Fox, 29, wanted to join a marketing team.14 Instead, she took a job as an executive assistant—the only job she was offered. She was overwhelmed by the technical details of her job, which involved managing e-mail and scheduling for an executive at Suffolk Construction Company, but she wanted to do something that was more important. With her boss’s help she decided to ask for new projects. The projects, which involved making the office more environmentally friendly, revising the company’s operations manuals, and running an employee wellness program, made her interested in a career in human resources. Her boss began inviting her to share her insights in meetings and to run the meetings of a committee on work–life benefits

page 401

when he was unable to attend. She even helped present the committee’s recommendations to the company’s leadership team, which included the chief executive officer. Her presentation was well-received, which positioned her for advancement. When her boss was promoted to a job in another location, he offered her a promotion to office manager at the new location. She turned him down but shared with him her goal to work in human resources. Now, she has a human resources management job. It hasn’t been easy. Ms. Fox was initially uncomfortable wearing a hard hat and steel-toed shoes to work at field offices and she had to take courses to obtain human resource knowledge and skills that she was lacking. But she is happy with her new job and glad she took the initiative to find a new opportunity for herself.

One study suggests that companies are choosing to use one of four different career management approaches that reflect contemporary career patterns and different types of employment relationships (e.g., full-time employees, contract employees, and gig employment). 15 The structured approach prepares workers for moving through clearly defined career paths. Companies using this approach want to have a depth of talented employees and a stable plan for leadership succession. A flexible approach helps build breadth in employees’ skills through encouraging lateral moves, job rotation, and job experiences yet still offers well-defined career paths. This helps ensure that employees get the skills they need but gives them the opportunity to explore multiple career options. In an open approach employees can choose to work on projects or assignments based on their career interests and skills they want to develop. This is the most flexible of the four approaches because employees can create personalized career paths. In the transitory approach companies focus on finding the best talent from outside of the organization, such as contract employees. Career management is entirely employee-driven. The company provides only compliance and company-specific training. Employees take responsibility for both determining the skills that will make them attractive hires and developing those skills.

Development and career opportunities can help provide companies with a competitive advantage through attracting and retaining the best employees. But development and career opportunities may not be available in many companies, and if they are, they are seen as ineffective. For example, consider that less than 50 percent of employees feel that their employer provides useful career planning tools or opportunities to advance.16 Over 40 percent of high-performing employees would leave their company to advance their careers. This emphasizes that to retain and motivate employees, companies need to provide a system that helps them meet their talent development needs and supports their approach to career management. This is especially important to try to retain good performers and employees who have potential for managerial positions. A development planning or career management system refers to a system designed to retain and motivate employees by identifying and helping to meet their development needs. We discuss these systems next.


Companies’ development planning systems (also known as development planning processes) vary in the level of sophistication and the emphasis they place on different components of the process. Steps and responsibilities in the development planning system are shown in Figure 9.1.

FIGURE 9.1 Steps and Responsibilities in the Development Planning Process

page 402



Self-assessment refers to the use of information by employees to determine their career interests, values, aptitudes, and behavioral tendencies. It often involves psychological tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (a type of personality assessment described later in the chapter), the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory, and the Self-Directed Search. The Strong-Campbell helps employees identify their occupational and job interests; the Self-Directed Search identifies employees’ preferences for working in different types of environments (like sales, counseling, and landscaping). Tests may also help employees identify the relative values they place on work and leisure activities.

Through the assessment, a development need can be identified. This need can result from gaps between current skills and/or interests and the type of work or position the employee wants. CarMax, the automobile retailer, makes available to its associates a Career Conversation Guide that helps them take ownership of their own development by assessing the competencies and behaviors they need to be successful in an entry-level management position.17 After completing the guide, associates are encouraged to initiate a career conversation with their manger. Eighty-three percent of associates who have completed the assessment have had a career conversation with their manager. The guide provides the basis for an informed discussion about the associate’s development needs and possible career paths.

Reality Check

Reality check refers to the information employees receive about how the company evaluates their skills and knowledge and where they fit into the company’s plans (e.g., potential promotion opportunities, lateral moves). Usually, this information is provided by the employee’s manager as part of the performance appraisal. Some companies also use the 360-degree feedback assessment, which involves employees completing a self-evaluation of

page 403

their behaviors or competencies while their managers, peers, direct reports, and even customers also provide evaluations of them. The concept of 360-degree feedback is discussed later in the chapter.

It is not uncommon for managers to hold separate performance appraisals and development discussions. Discussing performance and development in the same meeting is difficult because they have different objectives. Performance appraisal discussions are focused on an employee’s job performance during a defined period of time (such as six months or a year) and usually involve a discussion of what financial incentives or pay increases the employee can expect to receive as a result of performance. Development discussions do not involve pay or rewards. They focus on discussing an employee’s values and career interests, the strengths and weaknesses of their skills or competencies, and how to capitalize on their strengths and develop their weaknesses. The employee and the manager then identify and agree on realistic short- and long-term development goals (responsibilities or positions that the employee can achieve).18

For example, at Michelin North America, the employee, the employee’s boss, and the employee’s career manager make up what is known as the “career triangle.”19 In a meeting with their career manager, employees discuss their current position and the skills they would like to develop and identify possible new roles. These discussions help employees understand the expectations for their current and possible new positions, their current performance, and how they can improve. Michelin has an internal job posting system that members of the career triangle can use to search for next jobs and career interests that match an employee’s interests and goals. IBM and GE are using available technology to provide a reality check for their employees.20 IBM provides employees with access to Blue Matching, an algorithm that makes personalized recommendations about job openings based on data from their résumés, assessments of what kind of work excites them, and their abilities. In its first two years Blue Matching has helped more than 1,000 employees find jobs and its users are three times more likely to apply for internal job openings than those who haven’t used the system. GE is developing an app to help increase the effectiveness of development conversations between employees and their managers. The app uses data on the historical movement of GE employees and the relationship between job descriptions to help employees identify potential positions across the company.

Goal Setting

Goal setting refers to the process of employees developing short- and long-term development objectives. These goals usually relate to desired positions (such as becoming sales manager within three years), level of skill application (use one’s budgeting skills to improve the unit’s cash flow problems), work setting (move to corporate marketing within two years), or skill acquisition (learn how to use the company’s human resource information system). These goals are usually discussed with the manager and written into a development plan. A development plan for a product manager is shown in Figure 9.2. Development plans usually include descriptions of strengths and weaknesses, career goals, and development activities for reaching the career goal. An effective development plan focuses on development needs that are most relevant to the organization’s strategic objectives.

FIGURE 9.2 Development Plan

page 404


Title: Project Manager

Immediate Manager:


Please identify your three greatest strengths and areas for improvement.


· Strategic thinking and execution (confidence, command skills, action orientation)

· Results orientation (competence, motivating others, perseverance)

· Spirit for winning (building team spirit, customer focus, respect colleagues)

Areas for Improvement

· Patience (tolerance of people or processes and sensitivity to pacing)

· Written communications (ability to write clearly and succinctly)

· Overly ambitious (too much focus on successful completion of projects rather than developing relationships with individuals involved in the projects)

Development Goals

Please describe your overall career goals.

· Long-term: Accept positions of increased responsibility to a level of general manager (or beyond). The areas of specific interest include but are not limited to product and brand management, technology and development, strategic planning, and marketing.

· Short-term: Continue to improve my skills in marketing and brand management while utilizing my skills in product management, strategic planning, and global relations.

Next Assignments

Identify potential next assignments (including timing) that would help you develop toward your goals.

· Manager or director level in planning, development, product, or brand management. Timing estimated to be spring 2020.

Training and Development Needs

List both training and development activities that will either help you develop in your current assignmentor provide overall development.

· Master’s degree classes will allow me to practice and improve my written communications skills. The dynamics of my current position, teamwork, and reliance on other individuals allow me to practice patience and to focus on individual team members’ needs along with the success of the projects.


Date __________

Immediate Manager

Date __________


Date __________

Consider Just Born’s Career Development Process (CDP), which is used by employees to identify their career path within the company and ready themselves for their next position.21 The development plan involves identifying both short- and long-term career goals. Employees commit to two goals to help them progress in their career. Just Born provides a competency dictionary on the company’s intranet that can be used for identifying development needs. The CDP gives both employees and their managers the opportunity to discuss future career plans and becomes a reality check by raising expectations and increasing performance standards. Employees initiate the CDP by first defining future job interests,

page 405

identifying work experiences that help prepare for the future job, and establishing the long-term career goal. The CDP is then discussed with the employee’s manager. The manager can support the CDP or suggest changes. If employees’ future job interests are outside their current department, the interests are communicated to the manager of that department.

Action Planning

During this phase, employees complete an action plan. An action plan is a written strategy that employees use to determine how they will achieve their short- and long-term career goals. Action plans may involve any one or combination of development approaches discussed later in the chapter (such as enrolling in courses and seminars, getting additional assessment, obtaining new job experiences, or finding a mentor or coach).22 The development approach used depends on the needs and developmental goal. Wells Fargo’s online site, known as iDevelop, helps employees prioritize their development needs and create development plans.23 Employees use the site to identify their competencies. They use the competencies they consider as strengths to choose development activities, including training programs and online resources.

Examples of Career Development Systems

Effective career development systems include several important features (see Table 9.2). One feature is a development plan like the one shown in Figure 9.2. An effective development plan is simple, clear, and realistic and focuses on developmental needs that are most relevant to both the individual’s career and the organization’s strategic objectives.24

TABLE 9.2 Design Factors of Effective Development Systems

1. The system is positioned as a response to a business need or to support the business strategy.

2. Employees and managers participate in developing the system.

3. Employees are encouraged to take an active role in career management and development.

4. Evaluation is ongoing and used to improve the system.

5. Business units can customize the system for their own purposes (with some constraints).

6. Employees have access to development and career information sources (including advisers and positions available).

7. Senior management and the company culture support the development system.

8. The development system uses competencies, skills, and behavior that are common to the company’s other human resource practices, including performance management, training, and recruiting.

9. The development system is linked to other human resource practices, such as performance management, training, and recruiting systems.

10. A large, diverse talent pool is created.

11. Development plans are completed by all employees.

12. Talent evaluation information and development plans are available and accessible to all managers.

Sources: Based on S. Prokesch, “Reinventing Talent Management,” Harvard Business Review (September–October 2017), pp. 54–55; P. Asinof, “IDPs: Talent Development’s Superglue,” TD (January 2016), pp. 42–47; B. Conaty and R. Charan, The Talent Masters (New York: Crown Business, 2010); and D. Hall, Careers In and Out of Organizations (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002).

For example, Procter & Gamble’s promotion-from-within policy is supported by the development plans completed by every employee.25 These plans identify what type of experience the employee needs and the next job—as well as future jobs—they might hold.Employees post their résumés online to show managers the skills they are building as well as to communicate whether they are willing to take a different job. At monthly meetings for each business unit, employee career paths and résumés are reviewed.

Consider the career management and development systems at Penn Station, 3M, and Genentech.26 Penn Station, a restaurant chain that specializes in sub sandwiches, provides employees with the My Penn Path development tool. Employees use My Penn Path to see the skills needed for each level of employment at the company and to identify how they can learn those skills. Print media, video and online learning, and experiences on the job are used in programs that develop the skills employees need.

3M has been around for nearly 100 years using science and innovation to provide consumer products, such as tape, Post-It notes, bandages, and sandpaper, as well as business products, such as various types of films, filters, and wound care dressings. 3M considers all employees as leaders and so it provides development opportunities at each stage of their careers. 3M strives to engage all employees by focusing on their career and development desires. In fact, one of 3M’s sustainability objectives is that all of its global workforce (90,000 employees in 70 countries) will be actively involved in development opportunities by 2025!

Each year all 3M employees create or update their development plans, which includes developing short- and long-term career goals. All employees are encouraged to continuously learn and improve their skills. 3M’s tuition reimbursement program encourages employees to seek education in order to meet current job responsibilities and to help prepare for career changes or advance in their chosen career paths. For many functional areas, competency models are available and provide links to relevant training opportunities and development recommendations; employees and their supervisors discuss and agree on recommendations for growing a selected competency through on-the-job activities or social learning through a coach or mentor.

Because 3M believes leadership development provides a competitive advantage, it has invested in multiple leadership development programs offered for different stages in an employee’s career. Business and leadership courses are available to employees at any level, including online programs available to all of 3M’s global employees. 3M emphasizes diversity, collaboration, and inclusion in all of its leadership programs. Leadership programs are based on key leadership behaviors, which are linked to leaders’ performance evaluations. For example, one leadership development program, 3M Leadership Way, has four levels: Spark, Ignite, Amplify, and Catalyst. Spark is targeted to junior 3M leaders who have been identified as having high potential. Ignite participants are new managers who are learning their role. Training on how to build effective teams is provided using gamification and virtual technology. Managers complete a project to show the impact of learning and applications in their daily work. In Amplify, leaders of multiple teams work on projects, visit customers, and work on their skills for nine months. Catalyst is a year-long program in which leaders attend leadership meetings; gain exposure to perspectives outside of 3M, including customers; and work on a project that focuses on either a challenge issued by top management or an issue or opportunity, a customer-based project to help solve their needs, or a community-based project. All of the levels include self-assessment of competencies as well as 360-degree feedback and coaching (both of which are discussed later in the chapter).

Genentech Inc., a biotechnology company, developed CareerLab to help its employees perform well in their current jobs and to provide opportunities for job enrichment and

page 407

lateral career moves. CareerLab is a physical and virtual place where employees can consider their skill strengths and weaknesses and their interests and take ownership of their development. CareerLab includes the opportunity to get career advice from consultants; participate in LearningLabs (webinars and class sessions that cover different topics such as networking for career growth and managing your personal brand); receive mentoring; and attend career workshops. CareerLab also provides access to online career resources, including assessments that cover personal style, values, skills, strengths, and interests. Genentech has found that employees who use CareerLab have a high level of engagement with their work, better career conversations with their managers, a greater likelihood of staying with the company, and improved productivity.


Four approaches are used to develop employees: formal education, assessment, job experiences, and interpersonal relationships.27 Many companies use a combination of these approaches. Figure 9.3 shows the frequency of use of different employee development practices. High visibility assignments and stretch opportunities included in Figure 9.3 are both considered developmental job experiences. For example, CHG Healthcare Services’s leadership development program includes participating in a 360-degree assessment that evaluates the extent to which an employee’s behavior aligns with the company’s culture and core values; formal education through leadership programs; and mentoring.28

FIGURE 9.3 Frequency of Use of Employee Development Practices

Source: Based on EFMD, Network of Corporate Academies, Society for Human Resource Management, “Leadership Development: The Path to Greater Effectiveness” (2016), from, accessed March 24, 2017.

page 408

Regardless of the approach used to ensure that development programs are effective, the programs should be developed through the same process used for training design: assessing needs; creating a positive development environment; ensuring employees’ readiness for development; identifying the objectives for development; choosing a combination of development activities that will help achieve the objectives; ensuring that the work environment supports development activities and the use of skills and experiences acquired; and evaluating the program. To determine the development needs of an individual, department, or company, an analysis of strengths and weaknesses needs to be completed so that appropriate development activities can be chosen. Many companies have identified key competencies for successful managers. Recall from the discussion in Chapter Three, “Needs Assessment,” that competencies are areas of personal capability that enable employees to successfully perform their jobs. Competencies can include knowledge, skills, abilities, or personal characteristics.

Voya Financial’s goal is to become “America’s retirement company.”29 It helps customers plan, invest, and protect their savings for retirement. The company serves more than 13 million customers and has received numerous awards for being an ethical company and a desirable place to work. To ensure that Voya is a customer-focused financial company with high ethical standards, the company has taken steps to align its financial strategy with a leadership development strategy that supports its culture of continuous improvement and corporate values. To do so Voya first identified the core leader behaviors that align with its mission and values. The core leader behaviors include demonstrating integrity, leading with a passion and clarity, and delivering continuous improvement through talent development and customer service. Next, considering the core leadership behaviors, Voya designed leadership programs for leaders at all levels of the company. Three courses focus on change management, situational leadership, and performance management. In the performance management course, leaders learn how to identify their personal shortcomings to effective communications and develop skills to help them enhance their ability to provide feedback and coaching, recognize and reward effective performance, and create a more inclusive and collaborative culture. Another course covers how to create an environment that demonstrates value, respect, and fair treatment for all customers and employees. The 6P workshop for managers emphasizes how to lead through continuous improvement by using purpose, people, performance, process, partnership, and problem solving.

Keep in mind that although much development activity is targeted at managers, all levels of employees may be involved in development. For example, most employees typically receive a performance appraisal (an activity that can be used for assessment) at least once per year. As part of the appraisal process, they are asked to complete individual development plans outlining (1) how they plan to change their weaknesses and (2) their future plans (including positions or locations desired and education or experience needed). In the next section, we explore the different types of development approaches.

page 409


Formal Education

Formal education programs include off-site and on-site programs designed specifically for the company’s employees, short courses offered by consultants or universities, executive MBA programs, and university programs in which participants actually live at the university while taking classes. These programs may involve lectures by business experts, business games and simulations, adventure learning, and meetings with customers.

Formal Education Programs

Employee development programs include short courses offered by consultants or universities, executive MBA programs, and university programs. Many companies rely primarily on in-house development programs offered by training and development centers or corporate universities, rather than sending employees to programs offered by universities.30 Companies rely on in-house programs because they can be tied directly to business needs, can be easily evaluated using company metrics, and can get senior-level management involved.

Most formal education programs actively involve the employees in learning. Separate programs are usually offered for supervisors, middle managers, and executives. Special programs for particular jobs (such as programs for engineers) are also available. Consider the formal education programs offered by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and BNY Mellon.31 The NBA has several different leadership development programs, each focusing on managers at different levels. About one-third of all NBA managers and 50 high-potential leaders participate in the program each year. The curriculum focuses on new managers, directors, vice presidents, and advanced leaders who participate in 70 hours of development over five to seven months. The Rising Talent program is designed for mid-career leaders. The Veteran Track is for vice presidents. Most course modules are taught by the NBA’s own leaders and business school professors. The courses include experiential learning activities and case studies based on actual NBA issues and problems. In addition to attending the course modules, program participants work in small teams to propose solutions to current strategic business issues and challenges facing their teams and the NBA. BNY Mellon School of Leadership and Management Development has three programs for managers that focus on new managers, middle managers, and senior leaders. Also, the company provides a short learning series, “Critical Few,” in which managers learn a practice and then use it in an on-the job activity. They then meet with other managers to reflect on their experience and receive coaching.

General Electric (GE) has one of the oldest and most widely known management development centers in the world. GE invests approximately $1 billion each year for training and education programs for its employees.32 GE develops managers at the John F. Welch Leadership Development Center at Crotonville, New York.33 The facility has residence buildings where participants stay while attending programs, as well as classrooms for courses, programs, and seminars. In addition to the New York campus, GE offers courses through its global learning centers in Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, and Bengaluru (in fact, over 70 percent of in-person sessions are delivered outside the United States!). Each year, GE employees (chosen by their managers based on their performance and potential) attend management development programs. Over 1,800 instructor-led and virtual courses and programs are offered on topics including professional skills development and in specialized areas such as risk analysis and loan structuring. All of the programs emphasize theory and practical application. Course time is spent discussing business issues facing GE. The programs are taught by in-house instructors, university faculty members, and even CEO Jeff Immelt. Examples of management development programs available at GE are shown in Table 9.3. As you can see, GE uses a combination of coursework and job experiences to develop entry-level and top levels of management. Other programs, such as the Business Manager Course and the Executive Development Course, involve action learning. Besides programs and courses for management development, GE also holds seminars to better understand customer expectations and leadership conferences designed specifically for African American, female, and Hispanic managers to discuss leading and learning.

TABLE 9.3 Examples of Leadership Development Programs at General Electric



Qualifications to Attend

Commercial Leadership Program

Two-year rotational program focused on development through three or four rotational assignments, education that develops sales competencies, and exposure to leaders. The program prepares individuals for a successful career in sales or sales support. The rotational assignments include projects driven by business priorities. Commercial skills development occurs through business-specific training, coursework, and global training summits.

Bachelor’s degree in engineering, or relevant business or science degree; prior intern or co-op experience, or up to three years’ work experience in sales, sales support, or marketing; strong analytical, communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills; willingness to relocate.

Experienced Commercial Leadership Program

Two-year program includes international training in a variety of locations and leadership opportunities including change initiatives. Committee participation is encouraged to improve ability to interact with senior business leaders. Every four months, complete a self-assessment and review it with managers to identify development needs, career interests, and accomplishments.

An MBA/post-graduate degree with sales and/or marketing experience; demonstrated leadership, communication, and analytical skills; willingness to travel; fluency in English; expertise that is aligned with a particular GE business.

Source: Based on “Commercial Leadership Program Summary,” from, accessed March 24, 2017; “Experienced Commercial Leadership Program,” from and, accessed March 24, 2017.

Executive Education

A number of institutions in the United States and abroad provide executive education, including Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, INSEAD, and Ohio State University. Executive education includes executive MBA programs, as well as specialized curriculum on topics such as leadership, entrepreneurship, change, innovation, and global business.34 Executive education programs typically involve a blended learning approach (blended learning was discussed in Chapter Eight, “Technology-Based Training Methods”). This means that managers visit campus for face-to-face instruction and, between sessions, work online on assignments such as team projects, cases, or reading assignments. For example, Goodyear North America, a manufacturer of tires and related products, used Harvard Business Publishing for designing and implementing a leadership development program.35 The curriculum includes both face-to-face and virtual sessions. Each course module begins with a face-to-face meeting, followed by virtual learning led by Harvard Business School professors. Participants access course content, including readings, business cases, discussion boards, and webinars, using Harvard’s electronic platform. Each program participant has an individual development plan focused on developing his or her leadership and management skills. The program also includes action learning projects and job experiences, known as “stretch” assignments, based on the individual development plans that help participants grow and develop their skill sets. For example, one job experience involved moving a manager from the consumer products business unit to the commercial unit to get the manager involved in a strategic change project. To reinforce the importance of the program,

page 411

Goodyear’s executive management team participates as discussion board moderators and determines the participant’s career moves to open positions and stretch assignments.

In addition to blended learning, business schools or other educational institutions have begun offering companies in-house, customized programs to help managers gain real-world skills and study problems in real-world environments—without requiring the managers to disrupt their work by requiring them to travel to campus. These programs supplement formal courses from consultants or university faculty with other types of development activities. For example, Duke Corporate Education developed a custom program for Thomson Reuters to increase its managers’ skills related to thinking innovatively to help the company grow.36 The Thomson Reuters program sponsor encouraged each participant to identify an opportunity or problem with their business that would require innovative thinking. To help the managers develop innovative thinking, Duke used an experiential exercise designed to help managers consider how different global markets can impact their strategies and to understand how consumers’ tastes can shift according to where they are located. In the experiential exercise, participants were immersed in a local market to learn how to think about and do business differently. Programs were offered in New York, London, and Shanghai and involved trips to neighborhoods, businesses, and museums and meetings with local leaders to understand the distinctive features of each business market. As a result of the program, participants increased their awareness of how they could be more innovative in their jobs and lead diverse teams. They also gained insights they could directly apply to their business, such as how to use brainstorming techniques to quickly integrate knowledge and ideas.

At the Center for Creative Leadership managers who attend a development program take psychological tests; receive feedback from managers, peers, and direct reports; participate in group-building activities (like adventure learning, discussed in Chapter Seven); receive counseling; and set improvement goals and write development plans.37

Tuition Reimbursement

Enrollment in executive education programs or MBA programs may be limited to managers or employees identified to have management potential. As a result, many companies also provide tuition reimbursement as a benefit for all employees to encourage them to develop on their own. Tuition reimbursement refers to the practice of reimbursing employees’ costs for college and university courses and degree programs. One estimate is that 60 percent of employers offer a tuition benefit for undergraduate and graduate courses.38 Typically, the course or program of study has to relate to the employee’s job, employees have to stay with the company for a certain time period after completing the course or risk having to repay all or some of the reimbursed tuition, and the percentage of reimbursed tuition is based on the grade the employee receives (e.g., for a B grade an employee receives 90 percent reimbursement).39 Companies spend about $10 billion on tuition reimbursement for courses offered by nonprofit colleges and universities, as well as for-profit universities like Capella University.40 These courses include face-to-face classroom instruction, online learning, and blended learning. Companies that have evaluated tuition reimbursement programs have found that the programs increase employee retention rates and readiness for promotion and improve job performance.41 Verizon Wireless invests $26 million annually in a tuition assistance program participated in by 23,000 of its employees.42 Employees can receive tuition assistance for attending a university or college or for the costs of the company’s on-site program conducted at call centers and corporate offices. The on-site program classes, taught

page 412

by university faculty, help employees earn degrees by attending classes where they work and when they have free time in their work schedules. They are eligible for tuition reimbursement from the day they are hired and have to make no commitment to stay employed with the company. Their expenses are limited to $8,000 per year for full-time employees and $4,000 for part-time employees. This exceeds the $5,250 annual reimbursement limit that most companies use based on the tax-free maximum established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To be eligible for reimbursement, coursework has to relate to an employee’s current job or career path within Verizon Wireless. Evaluation of the program has shown that it has resulted in increased morale and helped attract new and retain current employees.


Assessment involves collecting information and providing feedback to employees about their behavior, communication style, or skills.43 The employees, their peers, managers, and customers may provide information. Assessments are used for several reasons. First, assessment is most frequently used to identify employees with managerial potential and to measure current managers’ strengths and weaknesses. Assessment is also used to identify managers with the potential to move into higher-level executive positions, and it can be used with work teams to identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual team members and the decision processes or communication styles that inhibit the team’s productivity. Assessments can help employees understand their tendencies, needs, the type of work environment they prefer, and the type of work they might prefer to do.44 This information, along with the performance evaluations they receive from the company, can help employees decide what type of development goals might be most appropriate for them (e.g., a leadership position or an increase in the scope of their current position). Popular assessment tools include personality tests and inventories, assessment centers, performance appraisal, and 360-degree feedback systems.

Personality Tests and Inventories

Tests are used to determine if employees have the personality characteristics necessary to be successful in specific managerial jobs or jobs involving international assignments. They are used to help employees gain self-awareness of how they respond to conflict, what motivates them, how they solve problems, and how they react to stress. Some personality tests such as the NEO Personality Inventory (or the NEO-PI) measure openness to new experiences, conscientiousness or dependability, emotional stability, assertiveness, and the ability to get along with other people. For example, Carmeuse North America uses personality tests in its leadership development program. The personality tests for employees who have been identified as having high potential for top management positions are used to guide employees into development activities, including coaching and formal courses.45 Starwood Vacation Ownership, a subsidiary of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, uses several assessment tools to determine if its top managers value the commercial success of the business, as well as tolerance for ambiguity, the ability to create and communicate a business strategy, the ability to build business partnerships, and the ability to develop staff. The assessment identifies managers who are ready for international assignments, may not fit their current position, or need coaching to better understand the company culture.46 CareSource, a Medicaid-managed care provider based in Dayton, Ohio, has a defined process for identifying and developing employees who have the potential to be strong leaders andeffective managers.47 Assessment of fit with the organizational values and culture, which emphasize serving the underserved, begins with the recruiting process. The company uses multiple assessment tools to evaluate managers’ competencies (recall our discussion of competencies in Chapter Three). These assessments include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI (discussed next); the Gallup’s StrengthsFinder to identify managers’ strengths and develop plans for using their strengths with their employee team; and the Leadership Practices Inventory, which provides managers with an idea of their leadership skills as evaluated by peers, their boss, and their own self-assessment and is used to build a personal leadership development plan. Also twice a year, using the performance management system, managers are evaluated on competencies and behavior that CareSource believes are characteristics of an effective leader and manager: service orientation, organizational awareness, teamwork, communications, and organizational leadership. Based on the assessment results, managers with high leadership potential are encouraged to participate in a variety of development activities.

Two popularly used assessment tools are DiSC and the MBTI. Both of these tools can be used to help employees better understand how to adapt and change their behavior to be a more effective leader or team member. These tools can be used to place employees in job experiences they will be most successful in, give them experiences that will require them to adapt their behavior or personality, or assign a mentor or coach who can help them learn how to adapt to different situations. The DiSC measures personality and behavioral style, including dominance (direct, strong-willed, forceful), influence (sociable, talkative), steadiness (gentle, accommodating), and conscientiousness (private, analytical).48 See for more information on DiSC. Guckenheimer, a corporate restaurant management and catering company, has its managers complete DiSC to understand their communication style.49 Then, managers complete training to develop their skill in adjusting their communication style to improve their interactions with their employees.

The Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) refers to an assessment that is based on Carl Jung’s personality type theory. This theory emphasizes that we have a fundamental personality type that shapes and influences how we understand the world, process information, and socialize. The assessment determines which one of sixteen personality types fits best. The 16 unique personality types are based on preferences for introversion (I) or extraversion (E), sensing (S) or intuition (N), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and judging (J) or perceiving (P). The assessment tool identifies an individual’s preferences for energy (introversion versus extroversion), information gathering (sensing versus intuition), decision making (thinking versus feeling), and lifestyle (judging versus perceiving).50 Each personality type has implications for work habits and interpersonal relationships. For example, individuals who are introverted, sensing, thinking, and judging (known as ISTJs) tend to be serious, quiet, practical, orderly, and logical. These persons can organize tasks, be decisive, and follow through on plans and goals. ISTJs have several weaknesses, however, because they do not tend to use the opposite preferences: extroversion, intuition, feeling, and perceiving. These weaknesses include problems dealing with unexpected opportunities, appearing too task-oriented or impersonal to colleagues, and making overly quick decisions. Visit the website for more information on the personality types.

Hallmark Cards has helped people express their feelings and celebrate important events and occasions for over 100 years.51 Hallmark executives want to change the company’s culture from that of a manufacturing company focused on developing products to a

page 414

consumer-based company focusing on engaging its key customers. It recognizes the importance of developing leaders that can view situations from different perspectives, provide support to each other and work together, inspire employees, and efficiently implement new ideas. To help make this cultural shift, Hallmark Cards is using the MBTI to help managers increase their self-insight into how their actions and communications are perceived by other employees and managers, as well as how they tend to interact in teams and their work and leadership styles.

Hallmark Cards has realized several positive results from using the MBTI. The speed of managers’ decision making and clarity of communications to employees have improved. There has been a noticeable improvement in employees feeling comfortable expressing their thoughts and managers communicating in ways that appeal to all employee types.

Assessment Center

At an assessment center, multiple raters or evaluators (assessors) evaluate employees’ performance on a number of exercises.52 An assessment center is usually an off-site location such as a conference center. Six to twelve employees usually participate at one time. Assessment centers are primarily used to identify if employees have the personality characteristics, administrative skills, and interpersonal skills needed for managerial jobs. They are also increasingly being used to determine if employees have the necessary skills to work in teams.

The types of exercises used in assessment centers include leaderless group discussions, interviews, in-baskets, and role plays.53 In a leaderless group discussion, a team of five to seven employees is assigned a problem and must work together to solve it within a certain time period. The problem may involve buying and selling supplies, nominating a subordinate for an award, or assembling a product. In the interview, employees answer questions about their work and personal experiences, skill strengths and weaknesses, and career plans. The in-basket is a simulation of the administrative tasks of the manager’s job. The exercise includes a variety of documents that may appear in the in-basket, e-mail, or on a manager’s desk. The participants read the materials and decide how to respond to them. Responses might include delegating tasks, scheduling meetings, writing replies, or completely ignoring the memo! Role plays refer to the participant taking the part or role of a manager or other employee. For example, an assessment center participant may be asked to take the role of a manager who has to give a negative performance review to a subordinate. The participant is told about the subordinate’s performance and is asked to prepare for and actually hold a 45-minute meeting with the subordinate to discuss the performance problems. The role of the subordinate is played by a manager or other member of the assessment center design team or company. The assessment center might also include interest and aptitude tests to evaluate an employee’s vocabulary, general mental ability, and reasoning skills. Personality tests may be used to determine if employees can get along with others, their tolerance for ambiguity, and other traits related to success as a manager.

Assessment center exercises are designed to measure employees’ administrative and interpersonal skills. Skills typically measured include leadership, oral and written communication, judgment, organizational ability, and stress tolerance. Table 9.4 shows an example of the skills measured by the assessment center. As shown, each exercise gives participating employees the opportunity to demonstrate several different skills. For example, the scheduling exercise evaluates employees’ administrative and problem-solving ability in meeting production demands. The leaderless group discussion exercise measures interpersonal skills such as sensitivity toward others, stress tolerance, and oral communication skills.

TABLE 9.4 Examples of Skills Measured by Assessment Center Exercises

X indicates a skill measured by the exercise.

page 415

Managers are usually used as assessors. The managers are trained to look for employee behaviors that are related to the skills that will be assessed. Typically, each assessor observes and records one or two employees’ behaviors in each exercise. The assessors review their notes and rate each employee’s level of skills (e.g., 5 = high level of leadership skills, 1 = low level of leadership skills). After all employees have completed the exercises, the assessors discuss their observations of each employee. They compare their ratings and try to agree on each employee’s rating for each of the skills.

Research suggests that assessment center ratings are related to performance, salary level, and career advancement.54 Assessment centers also may be useful for development because employees who participate in the process receive feedback regarding their attitudes, skill strengths, and weaknesses.55 For example, Steelcase, the office furniture manufacturer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, uses assessment centers for first-level managers.56 The assessment center exercises include in-basket, interview simulation, and a timed scheduling exercise requiring participants to fill positions created by absences. Managers are also required to confront an employee on a performance issue, getting the employee to commit to improve. Because the exercises relate closely to what managers are required to do at work, feedback given to managers based on their performance in the assessment center can target specific skills or competencies that they need to be successful managers.

Performance Appraisals and 360-Degree Feedback Systems

Performance appraisal is the process of measuring employees’ performance. Performance appraisal information can be useful for employee development under certain conditions.57 The appraisal system must tell employees specifically about their performance problems and how they can improve their performance. This includes providing a clear understanding of the differences between current performance and expected performance, identifying causes of the performance discrepancy, and developing action plans to improve performance. Managers must be trained in frequent performance feedback. Managers also need to monitor employees’ progress in carrying out action plans.

page 416

Consider how Just Born, the company that makes Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales, and Peeps, uses performance appraisals for evaluation and development.58 The appraisal starts with a planning meeting between employee and manager. The strategic initiatives of the department are discussed, along with the employee’s role. The employee and manager agree on four personal objectives that will help the department reach its goals, as well as key performance outcomes related to the employee’s job description. Competencies that the employee requires to reach the personal objectives are identified. The manager and employee jointly develop a plan for improving or learning the competencies. During the year, the manager and employee monitor the progress toward reaching the performance and personal objectives and achievement of the learning plan. Pay decisions made at the end of each year are based on the achievement of both performance and learning objectives.

Upward feedback and 360-degree feedback are popular tools for development, particularly for managers. Upward feedback refers to appraisal that involves collecting subordinates’ evaluations of managers’ behaviors or skills. The 360-degree feedback process is a special case of upward feedback. In 360-degree feedback, employees’ behaviors or skills are evaluated not only by subordinates but by peers, customers, their bosses, and themselves. The raters complete a paper or online survey asking them to rate the person on a number of different dimensions. Table 9.5 provides an example of the types of skills related to management success that are rated in a 360-degree feedback questionnaire. Typically, ratersare asked to assess the manager’s strength in a particular item or whether development is needed. Raters may also be asked to identify how frequently they observe a competency or skill (e.g., always, sometimes, seldom, never). At CHG Healthcare Services, any employee interested in a leadership position is required to complete a 360-degree feedback survey that assesses behaviors related to the company’s culture and core values.59

TABLE 9.5 Skills Related to Managerial Success


Can think strategically, engage in flexible problem solving, and work effectively with higher management

Doing whatever it takes

Has perseverance and focus in the face of obstacles

Being a quick study

Quickly masters new technical and business knowledge

Building and mending relationships

Knows how to build and maintain working relationships with co-workers and external parties

Leading subordinates

Delegates to subordinates effectively, broadens their opportunities, and acts with fairness toward them

Compassion and sensitivity

Shows genuine interest in others and sensitivity to subordinates’ needs

Straightforwardness and composure

Is honorable and steadfast

Setting a developmental climate

Provides a challenging climate to encourage subordinates’ development

Confronting problem subordinates

Acts decisively and fairly when dealing with problem subordinates

Team orientation

Accomplishes tasks through managing others

Balance between personal life and work

Balances work priorities with personal life so that neither is neglected


Prefers quick and approximate actions to slow and precise ones in many management situations


Has an accurate picture of strengths and weaknesses and is willing to improve

Hiring talented staff

Hires talented people for the team

Putting people at ease

Displays warmth and a good sense of humor

Acting with flexibility

Can behave in ways that are often seen as opposites

Source: Adapted from C. D. McCauley, M. M. Lombardo, and C. J. Usher, “Diagnosing Management Development Needs: An Instrument Based on How Managers Develop,” Journal of Management 15 (1989), pp. 389–403.

The results of a 360-degree feedback system show how the manager is rated on each item. The results also show how self-evaluations differ from evaluations from the other raters. Table 9.6 shows the type of activities involved in using 360-degree feedback for development.60 Typically, managers review their results, seek clarification from the raters, and set specific development goals based on the strengths and weaknesses identified.61

TABLE 9.6 Activities in Using 360-Degree Feedback for Development

1. Understand strengths and weaknesses.
Review ratings for strengths and weaknesses.
Identify skills or behaviors where self-ratings and others’ (manager, peer, customer) ratings agree and disagree.

2. Identify a development goal.
Choose a skill or behavior to develop.
Set a clear, specific goal with a specified outcome.

3. Identify a process for recognizing goal accomplishment.
Identify a time frame for achieving the development goal.
Identify development goal outcomes that can be measured and tracked.

4. Identify strategies for reaching the development goal.
Establish strategies such as reading, job experiences, courses, and relationships.
Establish strategies for receiving feedback on progress.
Establish strategies for reinforcing the new skill or behavior.

The benefits of 360-degree feedback include collecting multiple perspectives of managers’ performance, allowing employees to compare their own personal evaluations with the views of others, and formalizing communications about behaviors and skill ratings between employees and their internal and external customers. Several studies have shown that performance improves and behavior changes as a result of participating in upward feedback and 360-degree feedback systems.62 The most change occurs in individuals who receive lower ratings from others than they give themselves (overraters).Potential limitations of 360-degree feedback include the time demands placed on the raters to complete the evaluations, managers seeking to identify and punish raters who provide negative information, the need to have a facilitator help interpret results, and companies’ failure to provide ways that managers can act on the feedback they receive (development planning, meeting with raters, taking courses, etc.).

Effective 360-degree feedback systems include several factors. The system must provide reliable or consistent ratings and competencies, raters’ confidentiality must be maintained, the behaviors or skills assessed must be job-related (valid), the system should be easy to use, and managers should receive and act on the feedback.63

Regardless of the assessment method used, the information must be shared with the employee for development to occur. Along with assessment information, the employee needs suggestions for correcting skill weaknesses and using skills already learned.

page 418

These suggestions might be to participate in training courses or develop skills through new job experiences. Based on the assessment information and available development opportunities, employees should develop action plans to guide their self-improvement efforts.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan uses 360-degree feedback as part of its team-leader development program.64 The 360-degree assessment includes a self-evaluation, manager evaluation, staff evaluation, and evaluation from four to five peers or customers. The assessment results are shared with the team leader and their coach, who identify two to three improvement areas along with metrics to measure achievement.

Job Experiences

Most employee development occurs through job experiences:65 relationships, problems, demands, tasks, or other features that employees face in their jobs. A major assumption of using job experiences for employee development is that development is most likely to occur when employees are given stretch assignments. Stretch assignments refer to assignments in which there is a mismatch between the employee’s skills and past experiences and the skills required for success on the job. To succeed in their jobs, employees must stretch their skills—that is, they are forced to learn new skills, apply their skills and knowledge in a new way, and master new experiences.66 New job assignments help take advantage of employees’ existing skills, experiences, and contacts, while helping them develop new ones.67 For example, Jennifer Rosemann’s boss asked her to take over financial management of the area where she was supervising client-service staff.68 Trained as a social worker, she had no interest or skills in accounting. Her boss trusted Ms. Rosemann to learn the job and expected her to be successful. After a few months of managing revenue and expenses she realized that she enjoyed the sense of teamwork and accomplishment from meeting financial targets. She has since been promoted to an executive vice president.

Most of what we know about development through job experiences comes from a series of studies conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership.69 Executives were asked to identify key career events that made a difference in their managerial styles and the lessons they learned from these experiences. The key events included those involving the job assignment (such as fixing a failing operation), those involving interpersonal relationships (getting along with supervisors), and the specific type of transition required (situations in which the executive did not have the necessary background). The job demands and what employees can learn from them are shown in Table 9.7. VF Corporation, which includes North Face, Vans, and Lee brands, encourages employees to move throughout the organization.70 This helps its brands, which are located in Silicon Valley, compete for millennial talent against high-tech firms also located there. For example, a supply chain employee who had developed expertise in manufacturing in her first position with VF, took a position in a new plant that was opening in the Dominican Republic. This helped her learn about setting up a new operation and manufacturing, procurement, distribution, and sourcing in an international operation.

TABLE 9.7 Job Demands and the Lessons Employees Learn from Them

Making transitions

Unfamiliar responsibilities: The manager must handle responsibilities that are new, very different, or much broader than previous ones.

Proving yourself: The manager has added pressure to show others that she can handle the job.

Creating change

Developing new directions: The manager is responsible for starting something new in the organization, making strategic changes in the business, carrying out a reorganization, or responding to rapid changes in the business environment.

Inherited problems: The manager has to fix problems created by a former incumbent or take over handling problem employees.

Reduction decisions: Decisions about shutting down operations or staff reductions have to be made.

Problems with employees: The manager must deal with employees who lack adequate experience, are incompetent, or are resistant.

Having a high level of responsibility

High stakes: Clear deadlines, pressure from senior managers, high visibility, and responsibility for key decisions make success or failure in this job clearly evident.

Managing business diversity: The scope of the job is large, with responsibilities for multiple functions, groups, products, customers, or markets.

Job overload: The sheer size of the job requires a large investment of time and energy.

Handling external pressure: External factors that affect the business (e.g., negotiating with unions or government agencies, working in a foreign culture, coping with serious community problems) must be dealt with.

Being involved in nonauthority relationships

Influencing without authority: Getting the job done requires influencing peers, higher management, external parties, or other key people over whom the manager has no direct authority.

Facing obstacles

Adverse business conditions: The business unit or product line faces financial problems or difficult economic conditions.

Lack of top management support: Senior management is reluctant to provide direction, support, or resources for current work or new projects.

Lack of personal support: The manager is excluded from key networks and gets little support and encouragement from others.

Difficult boss: The manager’s opinions or management style differs from those of the boss, or the boss has major shortcomings.

Source: C. D. McCauley, L. J. Eastman, and J. Ohlott, “Linking Management Selection and Development through Stretch Assignments,” Human Resource Management 84 (1995), pp. 93–115. Copyright 1995 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., a Wiley Company.

One concern in the use of demanding job experiences for employee development is whether they are viewed as positive or negative stressors. Job experiences that are seen as positive stressors challenge employees to stimulate learning. Job challenges viewed as negative stressors create high levels of harmful stress for employees exposed to them. Recent research findings suggest that all of the job demands, with the exception of obstacles, are related to learning.71 Managers report that obstacles and job demands related to creating

page 419

change are more likely to lead to negative stress than the other job demands. This suggests that companies should carefully weigh the potential negative consequences before placing employees in development assignments involving obstacles or creating change.

Although the research on development through job experiences has focused on executives and managers, line employees can also learn from job experiences. As we noted earlier, for a work team to be successful, its members now need the kinds of skills that only managers were once thought to need (such as dealing directly with customers, analyzing data to determine product quality, and resolving conflict among team members). Besides the development that occurs when a team is formed, employees can further develop their skills by switching work roles within the team.Figure 9.4 shows the various ways that job experiences can be used for employee development. These include enlarging the current job, job rotation, transfers, promotions, downward moves, and temporary assignments. For companies with global operations (multinationals), it is not uncommon for employee development to involve international assignments that require frequent travel or relocation.

FIGURE 9.4 How Job Experiences Are Used for Employee Development

Enlarging the Current Job

Job enlargement refers to adding challenges or new responsibilities to employees’ current jobs. This could include special project assignments, switching roles within a work team, or researching new ways to serve clients and customers. For example, an engineering employee may join a task force developing new career paths for technical employees. Through this project work, the engineer may lead certain aspects of career path development (such as reviewing the company’s career development process). As a result, the engineer not only learns about the company’s career development system, but also uses leadership and organizational skills to help the task force reach its goals.

Job Rotation and Lateral Moves

Moving up the career ladder is not always possible for a number of reasons, including the lack of opportunities due to flatter company structures and employees not retiring or staying longer in their positions. As a result, companies are using lateral moves and job rotation for employee development. Job rotation and lateral moves give employees a series of job assignments in various functional areas of the company or movement among jobs in a

page 421

single functional area or department. Job rotation involves a planned sequence of jobs that the employee is expected to hold, while lateral moves may not necessarily involve a predetermined sequence of jobs or positions. Bell and Howell encourages employees to seek positions outside their current functional area. This helps employees develop their skills and personal network and facilitates knowledge sharing throughout the company. Also, job rotation provides the opportunity for another employee to move into the position, creating a system that helps continuously develop skills.72 The job rotation program at India-based Tata Consultancy Services sends native employees to operations in China, Hungary, and South America.73 The program helps the company have skilled employees who are prepared to work in any of the company’s offices in 42 countries. Employees also gain an understanding of the culture of the country they work in. It also helps improve customer service because the company can draw on the strength of its entire workforce, rather than just relying on employees who are located close to the customer. The assignments typically last 18 to 24 months, involving learning from both the customers and the local employees based at the location. After the assignment is completed, the employee usually works on the same kinds of projects he worked on in the overseas assignment, which helps transfer the knowledge gained to the home operation.

Job rotation helps employees gain an overall appreciation of the company’s goals, increases their understanding of different company functions, and develops a network of contacts.74 Encouraging employees to move laterally helps companies retain talented employees who want new job experiences and opportunities. It also helps identify employees’ strengths and weaknesses, especially related to determining if they might be candidates for leadership positions in the future. Employees get the opportunity to work on new projects and problems, develop new skills, and apply their current skills in a new way. Also, employees learn about different aspects of the business that are important for future promotion opportunities. A lateral move can involve physically relocating to a new office in the same building or moving across the country or internationally. Because lateral moves can create confusion and stress, it is important for companies to reimburse the employees for moving and relocation expenses, provide orientation to the new job and location, and encourage managers and peers to provide coaching and emotional support. It is important to keep in mind that many employees, especially millennials, may feel that lateral moves are harmful to their career because they don’t involve a promotion or don’t provide opportunities to learn new skills or have different work experiences. As a result of these perceptions, talented employees may leave and seek challenging work elsewhere. In fact, lateral moves likely enhance and accelerate career advancement because they improve employees’ current skills, add new ones, and expose them to different aspects of the business.To ensure that its employees understood the benefits of lateral moves, Cisco Systems encouraged career advice and coaching sessions between company leaders and lower-level managers from a different business function.75 The purpose of these sessions was to discuss with the managers how moving to a different function could benefit them. The leaders emphasized how gaining cross-functional skills could help the managers grow their career. At Haskell, job rotation opportunities are provided at its Packaging Center of Excellence in Atlanta for design engineers to work with a design team.76 It also provides the opportunity to rotate into the Systems Analytics group, where responsibilities include process improvement and simulation testing for manufacturing systems. This has helped engineers understand the importance of data-driven decisions based on complex testing. The rotation

page 422

has resulted in fewer manufacturing errors, improved designs, and the reduction of time and costs for project installations. The job rotations also have helped identify engineers who are ready for promotion. Two-thirds of the promotions at the Atlanta location have occurred because of job rotation.

Despite its advantages, there are several potential problems with job rotation for both the employee and the work unit. The rotation may create a short-term perspective on problems and solutions in rotating employees and their peers. Employees’ satisfaction and motivation may be adversely affected because they find it difficult to develop functional specialties and they don’t spend enough time in one position to receive a challenging assignment. Productivity losses and workload increases may be experienced by both the department gaining a rotating employee and the department losing the employee due to training demands and loss of a resource.

Table 9.8 shows characteristics of effective job rotation systems. Effective job rotation systems are linked to the company’s training, development, and career management systems. Also, job rotation is used for all types of employees, not just those with managerial potential.

TABLE 9.8 Characteristics of Effective Job Rotation Systems

1. Job rotation is used to develop skills, as well as give employees experience they will need for managerial positions.

2. Employees understand specific skills that will be developed by rotation.

3. Job rotation is used for all levels and types of employees.

4. Job rotation is linked with the career management process so that employees know the development needs addressed by each job assignment.

5. Benefits of rotation are maximized and costs are minimized through timing the rotations to reduce workload costs and help employees understand the job rotation’s role in their development plans.

6. All employees have equal opportunities for job rotation assignments, regardless of their demographic group.

Sources: Based on B. Kaye, L. Williams, and L. Cowart, “Over, Not Out,” TD (September 2017), pp. 70–72; L. Cheraskin and M. Campion, “Study Clarifies Job Rotation Benefits,” Personnel Journal (November 1996), pp. 31–38; and M. Fiester, A. Collis, and N. Cossack, “Job Rotation, Total Rewards, Measuring Value,” HR Magazine (August 2008), pp. 33–34.

Transfers, Promotions, and Downward Moves

Upward, lateral, and downward mobility is available for development purposes in most companies.77 In a transfer, an employee is assigned a job in a different area of the company. Transfers do not necessarily increase job responsibilities or compensation. They are likely lateral moves (a move to a job with similar responsibilities). Promotions are advancements into positions with greater challenges, more responsibility, and more authority than in the previous job. Promotions usually include pay increases. For example, PepsiCo’s chief executive officer, Indra Nooyi, promoted the head of the company’s Europe and SubSaharan Africa business to president, a position that covers global operations, corporate strategy, public policy, and government affairs.78 This position will stretch his skill set as he takes on responsibility to increase sales and productivity to fund investments. The promotion gives him the opportunity to demonstrate that he should be considered one of the leading internal candidates to head the company when Ms. Nooyi decides to leave.

Transfers may involve relocation within the United States or to another country. This can be stressful not only because the employee’s work role changes, but if the employee is in a two-career family, the spouse must find new employment. Also, the family has to join a new community. Transfers disrupt employees’ daily lives, interpersonal relationships,

page 423

and work habits.79 People have to find new housing, shopping, health care, and leisure facilities, and they may be many miles from the emotional support of friends and family. They also have to learn a new set of work norms and procedures; they must develop interpersonal relationships with their new managers and peers; and they are expected to be as productive in their new jobs as they were in their old jobs, even though they may know little about the products, services, processes, or employees for whom they are responsible.

Because transfers can provoke anxiety, many companies have difficulty getting employees to accept them. Research has identified the employee characteristics associated with a willingness to accept transfers:80 high level of career ambition, a belief that one’s future with the company is promising, and a belief that accepting a transfer is necessary for success in the company. Employees who are not married and not active in the community are generally the most willing to accept transfers. Among married employees, the spouse’s willingness to move is the most important influence on whether an employee will accept a transfer.

A downward move occurs when an employee is given less responsibility and authority.81 This may involve a move to another position at the same level (lateral demotion), a temporary cross-functional move, or a demotion because of poor performance. Temporary cross-functional moves to lower-level positions, which give employees experience working in different functional areas, are most frequently used for employee development. For example, engineers who want to move into management often take lower-level positions (like shift supervisor) to develop their management skills.

Because of the psychological and tangible rewards of promotions (such as increased feelings of self-worth, salary, and status in the company), employees are more willing to accept promotions than lateral or downward moves. Promotions are more readily available when a company is profitable and growing. When a company is restructuring or experiencing stable or declining profits—especially if numerous employees are interested in promotions and the company tends to rely on the external labor market to staff higher-level positions—promotion opportunities may be limited.82Unfortunately, many employees have difficulty associating transfers and downward moves with development. They see them as punishment rather than as opportunities to develop skills that will help them achieve long-term success with the company. Many employees decide to leave a company rather than accept a transfer. Companies need to successfully manage transfers not only because of the costs of replacing employees but because of the relocation costs such as home sales and purchases directly associated with them. One challenge that companies face is learning how to use transfers and downward moves as development opportunities—convincing employees that accepting these opportunities will result in long-term benefits for them.

To ensure that employees accept transfers, promotions, and downward moves as development opportunities, companies can provide:

page 424
Information about the content, challenges, and potential benefits of the new job and location.

Involvement in the transfer decision by sending the employees to preview the new location and giving them information about the community.

Clear performance objectives and early feedback about their job performance.

A host at the new location to help them adjust to the new community and workplace.

Information about how the job opportunity will affect their income, taxes, mortgage payments, and other expenses.

Reimbursement and assistance in selling and purchasing or renting a place to live.

An orientation program for the new location and job.

Information on how the new job experiences will support employees’ career plans.

Assistance for dependent family members, including identifying schools and child care and elder care options.

Help for the spouse in identifying and marketing skills and finding employment.83

Temporary Assignments, Projects, Volunteer Work, and Sabbaticals

Temporary assignments refer to job tryouts such as employees taking on a position to help them determine if they are interested in working in a new role, project work, employee exchanges, sabbaticals, and voluntary assignments. All temporary assignments have a predetermined ending date after which the employee returns to their permanent position. For example, Mondelēz International, a snack company with 100,000 employees, wanted to help its managers learn about how to market its products using mobile devices. For several days, it sent its managers to nine small mobile-technology companies to help them gain an understanding of their entrepreneurial spirit and how quickly these companies generated ideas and built and tested prototypes of new marketing efforts.84 An associate brand manager from PepsiCo’s New York headquarters spent a week at Airbnb, a San Francisco–based start-up travel rental business with only 200 employees. Managers from the two companies hoped to learn from each other’s brand management practices. Both companies have casual, collaborative work environments, but compared to PepsiCo, brand management at Airbnb is based more on instinct than on data analysis and the ideas of marketing agencies. Marketing managers at Airbnb were interested in learning about how PepsiCo built data sets of market research. To develop a broad understanding of the business, directors at Genentech Inc. spend 10 percent of their time over six to nine months in a different function working on special projects, participating in task forces, and shadowing business leaders.85

Employee exchange is another type of temporary assignment. Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Google have started to swap employees.86 Employees from the two companies participate in each other’s training programs and attend meetings where business plans are discussed. Both companies hope to benefit from the employee swap. P&G is trying to increase its understanding of how to market laundry detergent, toilet paper, and skin cream products to a new generation of consumers, who spend more time online than watching television. Google wants to gain more ad revenue by persuading companies to shift from showcasing their brands on television to video-sharing sites such as YouTube. The idea of the employee swap occurred when P&G recognized that a switch to a smaller Tide laundry soap bottle with a more concentrated formula did not include an online campaign, where buyers could find answers as to why the bottle decreased in size. Employees of both companies have benefited from the swap. Google employees have learned that Tide’s bright orange packaging is a critical part of the brand and have adopted P&G’s marketing language, and P&G employees have recognized that online ad campaigns can increase brand awareness, even for products such as diapers that are not purchased online. P&G has invited mommy-bloggers to visit its baby division to better understand how its diapers can meet their needs.

page 425

Temporary assignments can include a sabbatical (a leave of absence from the company to renew or develop skills). Employees on sabbatical often receive full pay and benefits. Sabbaticals improve employee well-being through reducing stress and burnout and helping them acquire new skills and perspectives.87 Sabbaticals also allow employees more time for personal pursuits such as writing a book or spending more time with young children. Sabbaticals are common in a variety of industries, ranging from consulting firms to the fast-food industry.88 Despite their benefits, employees are reluctant to take sabbaticals because they fear it will damage their careers.89 As a result, companies are offering short sabbaticals. At David Weekley Homes, employees must work at least 10 years with the company to take a paid sabbatical.90 Employees who choose to take a sabbatical are given a $2,000 grant to use as they choose. Morris Financial Concepts offers each of its 10 full-time employees a paid, one-month sabbatical after every five years of service. Employees are expected to not work so they return from their sabbatical refreshed and energized.91Volunteer assignments can also be used for development. Volunteer assignments allow employees to develop their skills by serving their local community and its members. Volunteer assignments may give employees opportunities to manage change, teach, have a high level of responsibility, and be exposed to other job demands shown earlier in Table 9.7. Some companies encourage their employees to donate their expertise without losing pay or vacation time.92 A research and development engineer at General Mills who develops food products spends some of her work time helping small food companies in Africa. Using teleconferencing, she has helped the African companies understand how to reduce food contamination risks when handling raw ingredients. She also traveled to Malawi to visit a food production plant to help it prepare for a government inspection. Her pro bono work was personally rewarding but also helped her use her professional skills in ways that are limited by her current role. At Prudential Financial, teams of up to five employees can work on consulting projects with one of the company’s nonprofit partners. These projects are supported by Prudential’s founding principle that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve financial security. The partnership builds the capacity of local partners and gives employees the opportunity to develop their business skills and leadership competencies outside of their normal work environments.

How to Match Job Experiences to Employees’ Development Needs and Goals

Job experiences are used for development in companies of all sizes, but their type and availability vary.93 Some companies, such as HCA, Inc., with 195,000 employees in the health-care business, have the ability to provide high-potential employees with many different kinds of developmental experiences. For example, an administrator can begin working in a position in a smaller health-care facility and then move to a larger facility, including a hospital or health-care business. Other companies might not have the same type or number of development experiences at work, but can encourage employees to get relevant experiences outside of work. For example, managers are joining boards of nonprofit organizations to help others and the community gain skills and to advance their careers.94 Nonprofit board experience helps managers develop their leadership skills and broaden their network. They may get opportunities for experiences that they wouldn’t normally get in their job, such as running a fund-raising campaign or participating in strategic planning. These experiences help strengthen their current skills or develop new skill sets. For example, one manager joined the YMCA board. His experience helping recruit a new YMCA executive helped

page 426

him conduct better job interviews with potential candidates seeking jobs at his company. He now challenges candidates to see how they handle stressful situations and spends more time discussing with other managers if a candidate would fit well with the company culture. Nonprofits benefit because they need skilled managers who can help them operate more efficiently and effectively. Regardless of the size of the company, to be effective development activities, job experiences should be tailored to employees’ development needs and goals. Table 9.9 shows which job experiences are most appropriate for different types of employee development needs or goals.

TABLE 9.9 Matching Job Experiences to Employees’ Development Needs

Job Experience

Employee Development Need or Goal

Job enlargement

Is interested in developing new skills; would like to continue in current position; and position has opportunities for skill development

Job rotation or transfer

Desires a job with similar responsibilities to current position but with assignments requiring new skills; interested in learning about another function, division, or product of the organization


Ready to assume more responsibility and accountability for other employees and projects; and desires to influence business decisions

Downward move

Is considering changing or trying out a new profession or career and needs to acquire new skill; wants to reduce job stress or achieve better work and nonwork balance; or prefers a previous job

Temporary assignments, project work, volunteer work, sabbatical

Wants a new understanding or perspective of customers, products, or community issues or to obtain job experiences and develop skills in jobs not available in the company; wants to use and develop current skills in a new context; or wants to avoid burnout and alleviate stress

Source: Based on B. Kaye, “Up Is Not the Only Way . . . Really!” T+D (September 2011), pp. 41–45.

Interpersonal Relationships

Employees can also develop skills and increase their knowledge about the company and its customers by interacting with a more experienced organization member. Mentoring and coaching are two types of interpersonal relationships that are used to develop employees.


A mentor is an experienced, productive senior employee who helps develop a less experienced employee (the protégé). Because of the lack of potential mentors and the recognition that employees can benefit from relationships with peers and colleagues, some companies have initiated and supported other forms of mentoring, including group and peer mentoring. In group or peer mentoring programs, a successful senior employee is paired with a group of four to six less experienced protégés. One potential advantage of peer mentoring is that protégés are encouraged to learn from each other, as well as from a more experienced senior employee. Also, group mentoring acknowledges the reality that it is difficult for one mentor to provide an employee with all the guidance and support he or she needs. Group mentoring provides a development network for employees: a small group

page 427

that an employee can use for mentoring support and also rely on to take an interest in his or her learning and development. The leader helps protégés understand the organization, guides them in analyzing their experiences, and helps them clarify career directions. Each member of the group may complete specific assignments, or the group may work together on a problem or issue.95

For example, at IBM mentoring takes the form of a strategy that employees can use to exchange knowledge.96 This isn’t meant to discourage traditional one-on-one mentoring relationships but instead encourages employees to build and use IBM’s social network tool to identify peers, managers, and even potential mentors. They can use this tool to search for and share knowledge. It provides communities of practice and tagging capabilities that allow employees to search for others who have the expertise they need. W. L. Gore & Associates, the company that makes dental floss, Gore-Tex waterproof fabric, and synthetic grafts used in heart procedures, relies on sponsors.97 Sponsors serve as coaches, advocates, and mentors, with the goal of helping the sponsored employee learn new skills. Newly hired employees are assigned a sponsor but as they gain more experience or change jobs they are encouraged to find their own sponsor based on their development and career goals. Additionally, all employees are expected to advocate and help each other grow. Every employee is encouraged, but not required, to become a sponsor and they can change sponsors at any time. However, because sponsorship is such a part of Gore’s culture and learning and development strategy, most employees serve as sponsors. The learning and development group provides training on the skills needed to be an effective sponsor, such as how to give feedback and how to read nonverbal cues. It also developed a course that explains the value of sponsorship in the company culture and how it relates to the company’s agility and innovation business goals. In addition to using training to ensure sponsorships are effective, tools are provided, such as an alignment form that the sponsor and the sponsored employee complete to ensure they agree on how to work together.

Most mentoring relationships develop informally as a result of interests or values shared by the mentor and the protégé. Research suggests that employees with certain personality characteristics (like emotional stability, the ability to adapt their behavior based on the situation, and high needs for power and achievement) are most likely to seek a mentor and be an attractive protégé for a mentor.98 Mentoring relationships can also develop as part of a formal mentoring program (i.e., a planned company effort to bring together successful senior employees with less experienced employees). Table 9.10 shows examples of how companies are using formal mentoring programs. Mentoring programs have many important purposes, including socializing new employees, developing managers, and providing opportunities for women and minorities to share experiences and gain the exposure and skills needed to move into management positions.

TABLE 9.10 Examples of Mentoring Programs

EMC Corporation—Combines mentoring with instructor-led training for new technical support engineers. The engineers can learn from their peers and discuss concepts from the training with their mentors.

Vistage Worldwide—Teams of 15 to 20 employees provide opportunities for advice on personal or professional challenges. A trained peer group facilitator guides the discussion and helps the team listen, paraphrase, and ask probing questions in order to provide new perspectives on the issue and potential solutions.

Gilbane—One-to-one mentoring program pairs leaders with executives outside of their business and geographic area for six months to increase their readiness to take a new position and strengthen their leadership potential. Matching is made on the basis of talent surveys and personality assessments. Mentors and protégés meet once each month to share career advice and company knowledge.

Sodexo—Peer-to-peer mentoring is a program managed directly by Sodexo’s Network Groups. Networks are organized around a common dimension of diversity and are created by employees who want to raise awareness in Sodexo of their identity groups. They include network groups based on national orientation, race, sexual preference, military service, and employees from mixed generations. The Spirit of Mentoring Bridge Programs are informal divisional pairings in which newly hired employees and front-line managers come together to expand professional development opportunities and increase the depth and diversity of Sodexo’s management.

Cisco Systems—To reduce the time it takes new board of director members to be effective, they are paired with a more experienced board director who serves as a mentor. The mentor helps them understand board of director meeting norms, provides the content for members’ beliefs, explains terms used in briefing materials, and gives advice on the right place to sit in the board meeting room.

McDonald’s—Offers a virtual online mentoring program that employees can use to build their skill sets and develop relationships.

Aditya Birla Minacs Worldwide—The Altitude program is a career progression program designed to support front-line staff transitioning to a team leader role. Program outcomes include self-identified action items that the staff intends to complete to aid their career progression. Mentor Magic is a program in which successful supervisors, based on their experience and performance, mentor front-line staff on the action items.

Sources: Based on J. Lublin, “New in Boardrooms: Buddy System,” The Wall Street Journal (September 20, 2017), p. B7; “Training Top 125, Gilbane,” training (January/February 2016), p. 69; “Training Top 125, Vistage Worldwide,” training (January/February 2017), p. 69; M. Weinstein, “Mentoring in the Digital Age,” training (September/October 2016), pp. 28–31; R. Emelo, “Shift Your Focus With Modern Mentoring,” TD (September 2015), pp. 36–41;, the website for Sodexo, Inc.; “Training Top 125, Aditya Birla Minacs,” training (January/February 2014), p. 101; “Best Practices and Outstanding Initiatives,” training (January/February 2011), pp. 94–98; “Training Top 125,” training (January/February 2011), pp. 54–93; and R. Emelo, “Conversations with Mentoring Leaders,” T+D (June 2011), pp. 32–37.

Developing Successful Mentoring Programs
One major advantage of formalized mentoring programs is that they ensure access to mentors for all employees, regardless of gender or race. An additional advantage is that participants in the mentoring relationship know what is expected of them.99 One limitation of formal mentoring programs is that mentors may not be able to provide counseling and coaching in a relationship that has been artificially created.100 To overcome this limitation, it is important that mentors and protégés spend time discussing their work styles, personalities, and backgrounds, which helps build the trust needed for both parties to be comfortable with their relationship.101 Toshiba America

page 428

Medical Systems doesn’t have a formal mentoring program. However, Toshiba encourages informal mentoring from the first day employees are hired. Both managers and HR business partners take the time to help new employees meet their colleagues and show them around the workplace.102

Table 9.11 presents the characteristics of a successful formal mentoring program. Mentors should be chosen based on interpersonal and technical skills. They also need to be trained.103 For mentors, protégés, and the company to get the most out of mentoring, tools and support are needed.104 For example, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) uses its mentoring program to create a collaborative learning environment, improve employee engagement, and provide development opportunities. Mentors attend an orientation to ensure they understand the purpose of the program and their roles. Additionally, mentors meet quarterly to receive ongoing support and training.105

TABLE 9.11 Characteristics of Successful Formal Mentoring Programs

1. Mentor and protégé participation is voluntary. The relationship can be ended at any time without fear of punishment.

2. The mentor–protégé matching process does not limit the ability of informal relationships to develop. For example, a mentor pool can be established to allow protégés to choose from a variety of qualified mentors.

3. Mentors are chosen on the basis of their past record in developing employees, their willingness to serve as mentors, and evidence of positive coaching, communication, and listening skills.

4. Mentor–protégé matching is based on how the mentor’s skills can help meet the protégé’s needs.

5. The purpose of the program is clearly understood. Projects and activities that the mentor and protégé are expected to complete are specified.

6. The length of the program is specified. The mentor and protégé are encouraged to pursue the relationship beyond the formal period.

7. A minimum level of contact between the mentor and protégé is specified. Mentors and protégés need to determine the mechanics of the relationship: when they will meet, how often, and how they will communicate outside of the meetings.

8. Protégés are encouraged to contact one another to discuss problems and share successes.

9. The mentor program is evaluated. Interviews with mentors and protégés give immediate feedback regarding specific areas of dissatisfaction. Surveys gather more detailed information regarding benefits received from participating in the program.

10. Employee development is rewarded, which signals to managers that mentoring and other development activities are worth their time and effort.

page 429

A key to successful mentoring programs is that the mentor and protégé are well matched and can interact with each other face to face or virtually using video-conferencing. Mariner Finance uses technology such as chat functions, video, and specific websites for mentors and protégés to enable more timely communications between mentors and protégés as well as between all employees participating in the mentoring program.106 General Motors uses software to match mentors and protégés.107 The software considers profiles completed by both the prospective protégés and the mentors. Mentors are asked about their business expertise, years of professional experience, and what skills they feel they can use to help a protégé develop. Protégés are asked about the skills they would like to develop and how many years of experience they want their mentor to have. Protégés are given a list of up to 10 potential mentors who best match their profiles. The list includes a percentage showing the degree to which their profiles match. Before they begin their relationship, mentors and protégés are encouraged to review the mentoring resources available on the company’s career development website. These resources include webinars for first-time mentors and advice on how to gain the most benefits from a mentoring relationship. At PayPal, mentors and protégés are not assigned.108 Instead, employees can sign up for small group sessions in which six employees interact with a potential mentor. After a few meetings, if employees feel a connection they can express interest in becoming the mentor’s protégé.

A mentoring program at Cardinal Health has many characteristics of a successful mentoring program.109 Cardinal Health adopted a cloud-based system for matching mentors

page 430

and protégés. To ensure that the mentoring relationship is meaningful and to ensure participants understand their time commitment and expected level of involvement, Cardinal Health has adopted a six-month time period for mentoring relationships, with the option of then renewing for another six months. To serve as a mentor, employees have to work for the company for at least one year and agree to participate if they are chosen. The cloud-based system uses mathematical algorithms to match mentors and protégés and provides tools to track and manage their relationship. Employees can enroll in the program using their mobile devices or notebook computers. Mentors and potential protégés both complete profiles that are entered into the cloud-based system. The profiles of mentors highlight their expertise and what they believe they can offer a protégé. The profiles of protégés describe who they are and what they are looking for in a mentor. Protégés can search for a specific mentor or rely on the system to provide a list of potential mentor matches based on the compatibility of their profiles. Each list of matches includes the mentor’s profile, mentoring objectives, and a percentage showing how well the mentor matches the protégé’s criteria. Once the matching process is complete, the system allows mentors and protégés to schedule their meetings and to send alerts. Protégés are expected to make contact with their mentor and to use the system to set goals for the relationship and provide meeting agendas. The system automatically alerts protégés to provide a summary at the end of six months explaining whether they met their goals and if they want to renew the relationship for another six months. The system also tracks protégés’ career moves, retention, and whether or not they feel they have met their development goals.

Benefits of Mentoring Relationships
Both mentors and protégés can benefit from a mentoring relationship. Research suggests that mentors provide career and psychosocial support to their protégés. Career support includes coaching, protection, sponsorship, and providing challenging assignments, exposure, and visibility. Psychosocial support includes serving as a friend and a role model, providing positive regard and acceptance, and creating an outlet for the protégé to talk about anxieties and fears. Additional benefits for the protégé include gaining knowledge and skills, higher rates of promotion, higher salaries, and greater organizational influence.110

Mentoring relationships provide opportunities for mentors to develop their interpersonal skills and increase their feelings of self-esteem and worth to the organization. For individuals in technical fields such as engineering or health services, the protégé may help them gain knowledge about important new scientific developments in their field (and therefore prevent them from becoming technically obsolete). José Yanes served as a mentor for several employees at Ford Motor Company.111 He found that serving as a mentor helped his own personal development by helping him improve his own communication skills and work harder at building trust with other people. Protégés can also help mentors learn about how to use social media such as Twitter and Facebook and to understand the needs and motivations of younger employees.112 This is especially the case in reverse mentoring programs. Reverse mentoring refers to mentoring in which younger employees mentor more senior employees.

For example, UnitedHealth Group pairs senior executives with emerging millennial leaders.113 UnitedHealth hopes the program will help the executives see the business differently as well as better understand the latest uses of technology and social media and how to create a workplace that will attract, retain, and motivate millennials and Generation Zers.

page 431

For example, for a high-level leader for at UnitedHealth, quality of care was primarily related to patient outcomes. But as a result of his monthly meetings with his millennial mentor, he realized that her generation was also concerned with the speed of access to care and customer service. Through her participation in the program, the millennial mentor gained access to a high-level manager with whom she normally would not have contact. Also, although she is a younger and less experienced employee, the experience improved her self-confidence by showing that her ideas are important and can benefit the company.

Mentoring can also occur between mentors and protégés from different organizations. For example, the creators of the Bumble dating app have created Bumble Bizz, which allows users to search for prospective mentors and network with other professionals.114 Users create a professional profile including their career goals and can choose to complete a skills inventory and provide a digital résumé, samples of their work, and a digital photograph. When two users swipe right on each other’s profiles they can chat using text.

Mentoring programs can also help encourage women and minorities, who tend to be underrepresented in leadership positions, to develop management skills and move into management positions.115 Accenture has set goals to increase the percentage of female employees in managing director positions by 2025. To help reach this goal the company developed a four-year sponsorship program. Each year 30 women participate in the program. Each woman gets two sponsors on the company’s leadership team who serve as mentors and advocates when managing director positions become available. Eighty percent of the sponsored women have received more responsibilities in their current positions or have moved to higher-level leadership positions.


A coach is a peer or manager who works with employees to motivate them, help them develop skills, and provides reinforcement and feedback. There are three roles that a coach can play.116 The main reasons that coaches are used include developing high-potential managers, acting as a sounding board for managers, or specifically trying to change behaviors that are making managers ineffective.117 Part of coaching may be one-on-one with an employee (such as giving feedback). Another role is to help employees learn for themselves. This involves helping them find experts who can assist them with their concerns and teaching them how to obtain feedback from others. Third, coaching may involve providing resources such as mentors, courses, or job experiences that employees may not be able to gain access to without the coach’s help. Research shows that coaching improves employees’ skills and performance, especially when an internal coach is used (e.g., a manager who has been trained in coaching).118

Consider how Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Edward Jones, United Shore Financial, the Gates Foundation, Wide Open West, and University Hospitals use coaching.119 Bright Horizons Family Solutions provides employees with access to coaches based on their interests, need for coaching, and managerial potential. The coaches conduct a 360-degree assessment and based on the results work with the employees for three to six months. Edward Jones provides new financial advisers with trained coaches who provide confidential phone coaching when asked. The goal of the coaches is to retain the new advisers and help them become successful. United Shore Financial Services requires company leaders to conduct monthly coaching sessions with each member of their team. The Gates Foundation usespage 432

professionally trained coaches to facilitate sessions with groups of 8 to 10 people. The topic sessions include authentic leadership, courageous conversations, and developing a global mindset. At Wide Open West, managers have coaching relationships with every employee they supervise in which they provide performance feedback on their daily work. Together they identify learning activities and development plans. At University Hospitals, coaching is used as part of an executive development program designed for physicians and functional leaders. The participants receive one-on-one coaching and also become certified coaches themselves. This allows them to serve as formal coaches for other potential leaders in the future. The one-on-one coaching they receive emphasizes discovering their ideal self, understanding their real self, creating a learning agenda, experimenting with new behaviors, and leveraging trusting relationships. It uses 360-degree feedback to help them recognize differences between their real self and ideal self and prepare a learning agenda to narrow this gap using new behaviors and personal relationships. Research suggests that coaching improves managers’ use of 360-degree feedback by helping them set specific improvement goals and solicit ideas for improvement, which results in improved performance.120

PG&E, an energy company, hired a coach to work with a skilled manager whose brash personality was hurting her relationships with her associates as well as her career.121 The coach videotaped her as she role-played an actual clash that she had had with another manager over a new information system. During the confrontation (and the role play), she was aloof, abrasive, cold, and condescending. The coach helped her see the limitations of her approach. She apologized to colleagues and listened to their ideas. Coaching helped this manager learn how to maintain her composure and focus on what was being said rather than on the person saying it or the way it made her feel.

The best coaches are empathetic, supportive, practical, and self-confident but don’t pretend to know all the answers or want to tell others what to do.122 Employees who are going to be coached need to be open-minded and interested and not defensive, closed-minded, or concerned with their reputation. Both the coach and the employee to be coached take risks in the relationship. Coaches use their expertise and experiences to help an employee. Employees are vulnerable by honestly communicating about their weaknesses.

To develop coaching skills, training programs need to focus on four issues related to managers’ reluctance to provide coaching.123 First, managers may be reluctant to discuss performance issues even with a competent employee because they want to avoid confrontation. This is especially an issue when the manager is less of an expert than the employee. Second, managers may be better able to identify performance problems than to help employees solve them. Third, managers may feel that the employee interprets coaching as criticism. Fourth, as companies downsize and operate with fewer employees, managers may feel that there is not enough time for coaching.

Special Topics in Employee Development: Succession Planning, Developing Dysfunctional Managers, and Onboarding

Succession Planning

Succession planning refers to the process of identifying, evaluating, developing, and tracking high-potential employees who are capable of moving into different positions in the company that result from planned or unplanned job openings due to turnover, promotion, or business growth. Succession planning is often discussed when considering a company’s

page 433

managers or top leaders but it is an important consideration for any job. Succession planning helps organizations in several different ways. It identifies and prepares future company leaders, helps ensure that the company runs smoothly when key employees and managers leave, and creates opportunities for development and promotion. It provides a set of development experiences that managers must complete to be considered for top management positions, which avoids the premature promotion of managers who are not ready to move into leadership positions. Succession planning also helps attract and retain managerial employees by providing them with development opportunities that they can complete if upper management is a career goal for them.

Succession planning often focuses on high-potential employees. High-potential employees are those people that the company believes are capable of being successful in higher-level managerial positions, such as general manager of a strategic business unit, functional director (e.g., director of marketing), or CEO.124 High-potential employees typically complete an individual development program that involves education, executive mentoring and coaching, and rotation through job assignments. Job assignments are based on the successful career paths of the managers whom the high-potential employees are being prepared to replace. High-potential employees may also receive special assignments, such as making presentations and serving on committees and task forces.

Despite the importance of succession planning, many companies do not do it well. A survey of company directors showed that fewer than half believed they were spending enough time on succession planning and 18 percent did not agree that their company had adequate bench strength in its talent pipeline.125 Bench strength refers to having a pool of talented employees who are ready when needed. The dissatisfaction with succession planning may result from the tendency to focus only on managers at the vice president level or above, failing to identify successors because they don’t want to risk potential leaders leaving the company because they are discouraged and disappointed, and a short-term focus on succession planning only when vacancies occur rather than a long-term process designed to develop “bench strength.”

Process of Developing a Succession Plan

Table 9.12 shows the process used to develop a succession plan.126 The first step is to identify what positions are included in the succession plan, such as all management positions or only certain levels of management. The second step is to identify which employees are part of the succession planning system. For example, in some companies, only high-potential employees are included in the succession plan. Third, the company needs to identify how positions will be evaluated. For example, will the emphasis be on competencies needed for each position or on the experiences an individual needs to have before moving into the position? Fourth, the company should identify how employee potential will be measured. That is, will employees’ performance in their current jobs as well as ratings of potential be used? Will employees’ position interests and career goals be considered? Fifth, the succession planning review process needs to be developed. Typically, succession planning reviews first involve employees’ managers and human resources. A talent review could also include an overall assessment of leadership talent in the company, an identification of high-potential employees based on their performance and potential, and a discussion of plans to keep key managers from leaving the company. Sixth, succession planning depends on other HR systems, including compensation, training and development, and staffing. Incentives and

page 434

bonuses may be linked to completion of development opportunities. Activities such as training courses, job experiences, mentors, and 360-degree feedback can be used to meet development needs. Companies need to make decisions (such as will they fill an open management position internally with a less experienced employee who will improve in the role over time, or will they hire a manager from outside the company who can immediately deliver results?). Seventh, employees need to be provided with feedback on future moves, expected career paths, and development goals and experiences. Finally, the succession planning process needs to be evaluated. This includes identifying and measuring appropriate results outcomes (such as reduced time to fill manager positions and increased use of internal promotions) as well as collecting measures of satisfaction with the process (reaction outcomes) from employees and managers. Also, modifications that will be made to the succession planning process need to be identified, discussed, and implemented.

TABLE 9.12 The Process of Developing a Succession Plan

1. Identify what positions are included in the plan.

2. Identify the employees who are included in the plan.

3. Develop standards to evaluate positions (e.g., competencies, desired experiences, desired knowledge, developmental value).

4. Determine how employee potential will be measured (e.g., current performance and potential performance).

5. Develop the succession planning review process.

6. Link the succession planning system with other human resource systems, including training and development, compensation, performance management, and staffing systems.

7. Determine what feedback will be provided to employees.

8. Measure the effectiveness of the succession planning process.

Sources: Based on A. Cremo and T. Bux, “Creating a Vibrant Organizational Leadership Pipeline,” TD (July 2016), pp. 76–77; W. Rothwell, “The Future of Succession Planning,” T+D (September 2010), pp. 51–54; B. Dowell, “Succession Planning,” in Implementing Organizational Interventions, eds. J. Hedge and E. Pulaskos (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002), pp. 78–109; and R. Barnett and S. Davis, “Creating Greater Success in Succession Planning,” Advances in Developing Human Resources 10 (2008), pp. 721–739.

Assessing and Making Development Plans Using the Nine-Box Grid

Many companies use the nine-box grid for conducting the succession planning review. The nine-box grid is a three-by-three matrix used by groups of managers and executives to compare employees within one department, function, division, or the entire company.127 The nine-box grid is used for analysis and discussion of talent, to help formulate effective development plans and activities, and to identify talented employees who can be groomed for top-level management positions in the company. As shown in Figure 9.5, one axis of the matrix is based on an assessment of job performance. The other axis is typically labeled “potential” or “promotability.” The manager’s assessment of performance and potential influences employees’ development plans. For example, as shown in Figure 9.5, high-potential employees who are high performers are found in the top-right corner of the matrix. These are employees who should be developed for leadership positions in the company. Contrast the development plans of high-potential, high-performance employees with employees in the other areas of the grid. The development plans for employees with low potential and low performance emphasize performance improvement in their current position, rather than finding them challenging new job experiences. If they do not improve in their current position, they are likely to be fired. Employees in the top-left corner of the grid are outstanding performers but have low potential. These employees are likely experts in their field of expertise. Their development plans likely emphasize keeping their

page 435

knowledge, skills, and competencies current and finding them experiences that will continue to motivate them and facilitate creativity and innovation. Employees who are low performers with high potential (located in the bottom-right corner of the grid) may have just taken a new position and haven’t had the time to demonstrate high performance, or their knowledge, skills, or competencies might not match their job requirements. Development plans for these employees might emphasize moving them to a position that better matches their skill set, or, if they have just moved to the job, ensuring that they get the training and development opportunities and resources necessary to help them attain high performance levels. Employees in the middle of the grid, core employees, are solid but not outstanding performers who have moderate potential. Development plans for these employees will include a mix of training and development designed to help ensure that their solid performance continues. Also, core employees’ development plans likely include some development experiences that can help grow their skills and determine their interest and ability to perform in positions requiring different skills and/or more responsibility.

FIGURE 9.5 Example of a Nine-Box Grid

Sources: Based on K. Tyler, “On the Grid,” HR Magazine (August 2011), pp. 67–69; and D. Day, Developing Leadership Talent (Alexandria, VA: SHRM Foundation, 2007).

How can companies use the nine-box grid? The process begins by clearly defining each box (e.g., what does a star performer look like?) and providing examples of desirable behavior to managers. Next, managers categorize their direct reports on the grid and then meet with other managers to compare, discuss, and defend their categorizations (a process often referred to as a calibration meeting). Managers use the nine-box grid to determine the development plans for their direct reports and to decide who to recommend for high-potential leadership positions or development programs. Typically, each manager’s grid is consolidated into an overall grid that can represent a department, division, geographic area, and even the entire company. Collapsing the grid to higher levels of the organization provides HR and top-level managers and executives with the ability to see the mix of the potential and performance of the workforce. This information can be used to determine

page 436

if the talent exists to meet strategic needs such as growing the business, where talent gaps and excesses exist, and changes in employees’ performance and potential over time. For example, CHG Healthcare Services’s goal was to increase the number of company leaders by 15 percent and reduce leadership turnover.128 CHG used the nine-box grid to identify potential leaders and develop leadership bench strength. Employees were evaluated based on their performance and potential. Employees who were identified as high performers with high potential were selected to go through a 360-degree assessment of their skills. This assessment was used in a leadership program designed specifically to develop their potential and skills to ensure they were ready for promotion. The results have been positive. Leadership turnover has decreased by one-third, internal promotion rates for leaders have increased nearly 50 percent, and the leader-to-employee ratio has improved 24 percent.

The value of the nine-box grid is that it is based on multiple and shared perspectives of talent, it helps managers provide development plans and experiences (such as mentorships, job rotations, and training opportunities) that best fit employees based on their performance and potential, and it provides a snapshot of the company’s talent. For the nine-box grid to be effectively used for development and talent management, the process must include a frank and honest discussion of employees by their managers, the information gathered from the process must be discussed with employees and used to help form their development plans, and employees must be identified and placed in key job roles and given experiences needed to best use their skills in the company.

It is important to keep in mind that performance tends to be variable over time due to changes in tasks, assignments, and business goals.129 When managing employees’ performance, the categories shown in Figure 9.5 should be considered, but employees also should be given the chance to change. One way to do this is to have frequent performance conversations with employees to help them recognize the need to change or maintain their performance. Actively managing employees by setting expectations, making project assignments based on their skills and interests, and holding employees accountable for their performance does make a difference.

Examples of Succession Planning

Succession planning at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan includes all executive-level roles.130 Potential successors’ evaluations include an evaluation of their readiness for a new position, for example, ready today or ready in three-to-five years. This has resulted in the development of considerable bench strength for executive positions. All executive positions have at least one successor identified and 75 percent of the successors are evaluated as ready today to take the position. There are also companywide reviews of all employees. HR business partners use the nine-box grid to assess performance and potential and hold talent review meetings. At ITU AbsorbTech, a company that provides absorbents used during printing and manufacturing, succession planning became a high priority because of its aging workforce.131 It involves measuring employees’ performance and potential over a two-year period and identifying high performers. Employees complete a career development plan that helps them identify the potential positions they could hold in the short and long term. Also, development activities, such as mentoring, that could help employees prepare for the positions are identified. Each position is reviewed to determine if a potential opening may occur because the employee plans to retire or is slated to move to a new position.

Turnover is common in Valvoline Instant Oil Change’s industry.132 This means that succession planning and developing bench strength is critical for all employees. Each month managers rate all their employees on their readiness for promotion to their next job level and provide an overall evaluation of when they are ready, such as “today” or “within six months.” Managers work with employees on development plans designed to get them to be ready today. The development plans and evaluations are entered into an online system that allows higher-level managers to identify stores and areas where talent is not available in order to improve succession plans. Managers can identify employees, known as “blockers,” who are not willing or able to develop further but are in positions that would be considered a promotion for other employees. Succession planning has initiated a demand for training across the entire career path to ensure that assistant managers are developed, as well as senior technicians who might take their jobs and new technicians who need to be ready to take on more responsibilities. Top-level managers use the online system to identify if talent is available to expand stores in a geographic area. Also, the company includes the number of managers available for promotion on its balanced scorecard, which measures company performance.

Miami Children’s Hospital’s succession planning involves company leaders and managers at all levels.133 Miami Children’s Hospital’s CEO has conversations with other executive team members to develop the learning and development plans of leaders in key positions as well as identify succession plans. They discuss the gaps in talent and develop solutions to ensure executive-level talent is available when needed. The performance and potential of managers at all levels of the company are discussed. The CEO leads discussions for executive-level leaders and other members of the executive team lead discussions for managers working at lower levels. All managers are asked to complete development plans and identify their preferred career path.

Paychex bases succession planning on its leadership competency model.134 Paychex uses the nine-box grid to identify leaders with high performance and potential. Potential evaluations are based on agility, ability, and aspiration. Succession candidates participate in two leadership development programs. Each succession candidate develops an individual development plan. The individual development plans are designed to meet business needs and competency gaps through development activities that are known at Paychex as the 3Es: education, exposure, and experience. A dedicated “leadership developer” works with the employee and the employee’s manager to provide coaching, help with the individual development plan, and monitor progress. Last year, over 1,700 executives, senior executives, managers, and supervisors completed assessment of their leadership competencies, performance, and potential. The succession planning process at Paychex has resulted in the identification of over 25 percent of senior managers, managers, and supervisors as being ready for a promotion to the next level within one to two years; the development of succession plans for all officer and senior manager positions; and an 18 percent increase in open senior management positions filled with internal candidates.

Issues in Succession Planning

One of the important issues in succession planning is deciding whether to tell employees if they are on or off the list of potential candidates for higher-level manager positions.135 There are several advantages and disadvantages that companies need to consider. One advantage to making a succession planning list public or telling employees if they are on the list is that they are more likely to stay with the company because they understand they likely will have

page 438

new career opportunities. Another advantage is that high-potential employees who are not interested in other positions can communicate their intentions. This helps the company avoid investing costly development resources in them and allows the company to have a more accurate idea of its high-potential managerial talent. The disadvantages of identifying high-potential employees are that those not on the list may become discouraged and leave the company, or changes in business strategy or employees’ performance could take them off the list. Also, employees might not believe they have had a fair chance to compete for leadership positions if they already know that a list of potential candidates has been established. One way to avoid these problems is to let employees know they are on the list but not discuss a specific position that they will likely reach. Another is to review the list of candidates frequently and clearly communicate plans and expectations. At Midmark Corporation, a medical equipment manufacturer based in Versailles, Ohio, managers identify successors every six months as part of the company’s performance review process and produce a potential list of candidates. Some employees are labeled as “high professionals,” that is, employees who are strong performers, happy in their current position, and unlikely or not interested in more demanding leadership positions. Other employees are identified as having high potential for leadership positions. Employees with high potential for leadership positions are considered for challenging development assignments involving overseas relocation. Using interviews, the company determines if employees on the succession list are interested and qualified for leadership positions.

Succession planning is especially important (and difficult) in family-owned businesses that face the need to identify a new leader when a parent, often the company founder, retires or dies.136 One estimate is that fewer than one-third of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation of family members. One contributing reason is that many family businesses neglect identifying and grooming one family member as a successor or fail to take steps to develop a pool of talent of family members from which a successor can be chosen. They do so because family business owners tend to pay most of their attention to running the current business rather than focusing on and planning for the future. The typical non-family-owned business has three sets of stakeholders (staff, owners, and staff owners). But in a family-owned business it becomes more complicated because four more sets of stakeholders are added—staff-family, family-owners, family, and staff-family-owners. Some experts recommend families begin to work out succession plans seven years before the company founder plans to retire. In the first few years of succession planning, a third party should be hired to assess the value of the business so that assets can be divided among family members. Industrial psychologists or other consultants can be used to evaluate each family member’s skills and personality to identify who is most capable of running the business.

Developing Managers with Dysfunctional Behaviors

A number of studies have identified managerial behaviors that can cause an otherwise competent manager to be a “toxic” or ineffective manager. These behaviors include insensitivity and aggressiveness toward others, inability to be a team player, arrogance, poor conflict-management skills, inability to meet business objectives, and inability to change or adapt during a transition.137 For example, a skilled manager who is interpersonally abrasive, aggressive, and autocratic may find it difficult to motivate subordinates, may alienate internal and external customers, and may have trouble getting his ideas accepted by superiors. These managers are in jeopardy of losing their jobs and have little chance of future advancement

page 439

because of their dysfunctional behavior. Typically, a combination of assessment, training, and counseling is used to help managers change dysfunctional behavior. For example, a chief technical officer at TaylorMade-adidas Golf (TMaG), a golf equipment company and U.S.-based subsidiary of the Adidas Group, had decades of experience, and his education and technical abilities were sufficient to effectively manage the more than 100 engineers and other staff who reported to him.138 However, his people skills needed improvement. In meetings, he made cynical comments and quickly reviewed technical information with his staff, not taking time to answer their questions. His lack of people skills caused a high turnover rate in his department. To improve his people skills, the manager began working with a coach to help him identify his strengths and weaknesses. Now he meets his coach twice a month to develop his people skills based on a set of clearly defined improvement objectives that they developed together. As a result of the coaching, employees now come to him first with their issues and problems because he is a good listener.

One example of a program designed specifically to help managers with dysfunctional behavior is the Individual Coaching for Effectiveness (ICE) program.139 Research suggests that managers’ participation in these programs results in skill improvement and reduced likelihood of termination.140 The ICE program includes diagnosis, coaching, and support activities. The program is tailored to managers’ needs. Clinical, counseling, or industrial/organizational psychologists are involved in all phases of the ICE program. They conduct the diagnosis, coach and counsel the managers, and develop action plans for implementing new skills on the job.

The first step in the ICE program, diagnosis, involves collecting information about the manager’s personality, skills, and interests. Interviews with the manager and the manager’s supervisor and colleagues plus psychological tests are used to determine whether the manager can actually change the dysfunctional behavior. For example, personality traits such as extreme defensiveness may make it difficult for the manager to change the problem behavior. If it is determined that the manager can benefit from the program, then typically the manager and the manager’s supervisor set specific developmental objectives tailored to the manager’s needs.

In the coaching phase of the program, the manager is first presented with information about the targeted skills or behavior. This information may be about principles of effective communication or teamwork, tolerance of individual differences in the workplace, or methods for conducting effective meetings. The second step is for the manager to participate in behavior-modeling training, which was discussed in Chapter Seven. The manager also receives psychological counseling to overcome beliefs that may inhibit learning the desired behavior.


When new employees join a company it is important to help them adjust to their jobs by establishing personal relationships to increase satisfaction, ensuring they understand goals and expectations to improve their performance, and providing feedback, coaching, and follow-up activities to help minimize the likelihood that they will prematurely leave the company. Onboarding or socialization refers to the process of helping new hires adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs.141 There is wide variation in the types of onboarding programs across companies. However, effective onboarding involves the four steps shown in Figure 9.6. Effective onboarding is a process that takes several days, weeks, or even months. As you probably have experienced, orientation is an event in which employees receive information about their job, the company, work rules, and

page 440

travel reimbursement, complete tax forms, and learn how to complete time sheets. Socialization includes these elements of orientation but it involves much more. Socialization enhances new hires’ self-confidence, helps them to feel socially comfortable and accepted by their peers and their manager, helps them understand their role and job expectations, responsibilities, and performance requirements, and helps them “fit” into and understand the company culture. Effective onboarding is related to many important outcomes for the employee and the company, including higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, lower turnover, higher performance, reduced stress, and career effectiveness.142

FIGURE 9.6 The Four Steps in Onboarding

Sources: Based on T. Allen, L. Eby, G. Chao, and T. Bauer, “Taking Stock of Two Relational Aspects of Organizational Life: Tracing the History and Shaping the Future of Socialization and Mentoring Research,” Journal of Applied Psychology 102 (2017), pp. 324–337; T. Bauer, Onboarding New Employees: Maximizing Success (Alexandria, VA: SHRM Foundation, 2010); G. Chao et al., “Organizational Socialization: Its Content and Consequences,” Journal of Applied Psychology 79 (1994), pp. 730–743.

Table 9.13 shows the characteristics of effective onboarding programs. Effective onboarding programs actively involve the new employee. Several companies offer onboarding programs that include the characteristics shown in this table.143 FORUM Credit Union, a financial services company with 350 employees, used to have the typical orientation involving lectures and completing paperwork. To help new employees better understand the company’s products and culture, FORUM created a new orientation program that includes games. In The Game of (Financial ) Life, teams of new hires compete to learn about the company’s products and services through playing a fun and interactive life-size board game. In Project FORUMway, new hires are given a clothing rack and asked to pick out appropriate work outfits. They present their choices to a panel of judges from HR who give them feedback. The Amazing Headquarters Race is a one-hour scavenger hunt where teams have to talk to employees throughout the company’s building. Onboarding at Bazaarvoice, a software company with offices in the United States, Europe, and Australia, emphasizes relationship building. New hires take part in a scavenger hunt that involves completing tasks such as shadowing a client call, setting up a video meeting

page 441

with a co-worker, answering trivia questions, and working together to organize a snack break for the entire office. The program also includes a global video conference call where new employees introduce themselves to the rest of the company.

TABLE 9.13 Characteristics of Effective Onboarding Programs

· Employees are encouraged to ask questions.

· The program includes information on both technical and social aspects of the job.

· The employee’s manager has some onboarding responsibility.

· Debasing or embarrassing new employees is avoided.

· Employees learn about the company’s culture, history, language, products, services, and customers.

· Follow-up of employee progress occurs at different points up to one year after joining the company.

· The program involves participation, active involvement, and formal and informal interaction between new hires and current employees.

· Relocation assistance is provided (such as house hunting or information sessions on the community for employees and their significant others).

Booz Allen, a strategy and technology consulting company, revised its onboarding program to reduce the time that it took for new employees to become productive, support their decision to join the company, and develop knowledge regarding the company culture and core values.144 The onboarding program involves face-to-face and online activities to enhance the effectiveness of the process. The new program, which spans 12 months, includes learning activities and events organized into three phases. The first phase, known as “Engage,” is designed to motivate and prepare new hires for their first year. Engage spans two to three weeks. It includes learning activities that actively involve the new hires in working in cross-functional teams with members from different offices and levels. New hires can use their laptops to explore online resources for career planning and development. Teams of three new hires each begin to compete in a simulated year-long client project. They have access to an experienced employee who can provide insights and examples of how they have worked with clients during their career. Also, senior company leaders deliver welcome messages and lead discussions of how to succeed at the company. The second phase of the onboarding program, “Equip,” begins in the new hire’s second week and continues through their first six months. “Equip” provides employees with the skills, behaviors, and tools that they need for success at the company. It includes 30-, 60-, and 90-day meetings with their manager, a series of e-newsletters, and a detailed onboarding toolkit designed to reinforce and build on what they learned in the first phase of the program. The third and final phase, “Excel,” emphasizes professional development, relationship building, and acceptance of the company’s values. “Excel” involves the seven-month period through the end of the new hires’ first year of employment. The employees’ first annual performance review occurs at the end of “Excel.” In addition to the three phases, new hires have access to and are encouraged to use the company’s social media and knowledge management tool, known as the Onboarding Community, to discover and share information via blogs and take part in online activities and resources that support the onboarding program.

The results of Booz Allen’s program have been positive. More than 8,000 new employees have completed the program. Over 95 percent report that the program had a positive impact on their decision to join and stay at the company and improved their job readiness.

page 442

Turnover for new employees who have been with the company six months or less has been reduced by 4 percent. New employees’ time to productivity has been reduced, saving the company millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Shape Corp. designs, engineers, manufactures, and tests metal and plastic products that absorb impact energy and protect vehicles, their occupants, and pedestrians.145 Shape’s employees work with cutting torches, welders, grinders, and other machinery. This makes it critical for Shape’s onboarding program to focus on safety issues. The four-day orientation is for all new employees, followed by a six-day manufacturing technician training course for employees working in manufacturing. The onboarding process at Shape includes speakers, plant tours, introduction to the company’s mentoring program and the employee’s mentor, web-based training, and instructor-led safety training. If employees fail the manufacturing technology training course, they are not allowed to work in manufacturing and may be terminated. The orientation program has been implemented globally to 1,800 employees in their native languages. Shape constantly revises the program content based on focus groups who meet semiannually. As a result of the program, injury rates have decreased 75 percent among employees who have worked one year or less at Shape. The program provides employees with the knowledge they need to perform their jobs, improves their safety awareness, and helps them develop relationships at work that enhance their socialization.


This chapter emphasized the various development methods that companies use: formal education, assessment, job experiences, and interpersonal relationships. Most companies use one or more of these approaches to develop employees. Formal education involves enrolling employees in courses or seminars offered by the company or educational institutions. Assessment involves measuring the employee’s performance, behavior, skills, or personality characteristics. Job experiences include job enlargement, rotating to a new job, promotions, or transfers. Involvement in mentoring and reverse mentoring can help employees better understand the company and how to use new technology, as well as gain exposure and visibility to key persons in the organization. Part of a manager’s job responsibility may be to coach employees. Regardless of the development approaches used, employees should have a development plan to identify (1) the type of development needed, (2) development goals, (3) the best approach for development, and (4) whether development goals have been reached. For development plans to be effective, both the employee and the company have responsibilities that need to be completed. The chapter concluded by discussing important issues in employee development, including succession planning, dealing with dysfunctional managers, and onboarding.


Developing Leaders at Vi

Vi, a company that owns and operates 10 continuing care residential communities for older adults across the United States, has several different leadership development programs. The purpose of the Breakthrough Leadership Program (BLP) is to increase the competencies and effectiveness of high-potential leaders. Also, Vi believes that making an investment in its potential leaders helps retain top talent, who, in turn, create high levels of engagement for its employees. Engaged employees provide high-quality services to residents, which affects their satisfaction and recommendations they give other potential residents. BLP prepares them to take on additional responsibilities or move into higher level positions. The program content covers building results and accountability, employee and personal development, and improving communications and influencing others. The one-year program includes classroom, virtual learning, and online learning. Program participants also receive coaching to help them develop and execute an action plan tailored to their personal development needs. The Management Development program focuses on developing future leaders from employees currently working as servers and housekeepers and in engineering, dining, and administrative positions. This year-long program includes courses, experiential learning, and mentoring. In Vi’s Emerging Leaders Program, employees participate in a six-month virtual learning program focused on developing the knowledge and skills they need to help them grow as leaders.

What other development activities might Vi want to consider to develop its leaders? Identify an activity and explain why Vi should consider it. What data or outcomes should Vi’s learning and development team collect to monitor the effectiveness of the leadership programs? Explain the business reason for your choice of data.

Source: Based on B. Hassell, “At Vi, Business Is All About Living and Learning,” Chief Learning Officer (June 2017), pp. 32–33; and “What Is Vi” from and “Training Programs” from, accessed March 7, 2018.

Unit VI Journal

Read Chapter 9

Question 1


Are succession planning efforts used within your organization or an organization you have worked for? If so, what is the process? If not, why do you think that is? Please explain. Would you make any recommendations to your organization based on what you have learned in this unit?

Your journal entry must be at least 200 words in length. No references or citations are necessary.


Briefly discuss the difference between training and development and how they can affect a performance appraisal.

Your response must be at least 200 words in length.


What is the process for developing a succession plan? Also, explain the importance of a succession plan.

Your response must be at least 200 words in length.

Do you need help with this or a different assignment? In a world where academic success does not come without efforts, we do our best to provide the most proficient and capable essay writing service. After all, impressing professors shouldn’t be hard, we make that possible. If you decide to make your order on our website, you will get 15 % off your first order. You only need to indicate the discount code GET15.

Order a Similar Paper Order a Different Paper