Chinese Fortune Cookie: "Now is the time to try something new "

As we prepare for the celebrations of Chinese New Year I see people around me in Hong Kong clear out their old items and replace them with new items. So what better time to look at new ideas to possibly introduce at work?

I am often asked to look at development programmes and to come up with ideas of new courses I can run.  Great.   I have heaps of ready made programmes I can adapt and run for your company just like many other providers but is that actually what your emerging talent is looking for?

As far as I can see the graduates leaving university are changing.  This is not necessarily because they are part of another labeled “generation” (although if you want to call them something try the I Generation or Generation Z) but more because the technology and access to online tools they can tap into is far more advanced than ever before. 

Take Ben, a 21 year old graduate, he knows that he needs to focus on his transferable skills… he has done his online research and feels he could do with some work on his communication skills.  He could attend a face to face presentation skills session as part of the programme your company provides but he knows that he can go online and attend a course by Harvard for free (and no doubt perceives Harvard to have better training than many others).   He wants to get ahead and probably before he even joins your company has completed a series of these sort of skills training online, through the careers office and as part of internships.  The graduates coming through are becoming more prepared and more resourceful.

So does this mean that you should not be providing any development opportunities?  Absolutely not.  According to Accenture's "Will graduates want to work for you?" study 84 % of  the class of 2015 say that they expect formal training in their first job.  So how can you deliver this yet not waste money on training that is not suitable or duplicate what they have already done?

And the answer to that I believe is simple… what is important to those hitting the workplace now is not the blanket all singing or dancing delivered up front training programmes that were winning awards 5 to 10 years ago but how each organization can support each individual’s development of their personal brand. 

Think about what will help them feel like they are building their brand.   Is it likely to be something that you roll out to everyone or is it something that is much more tailored to the individual?  Giving them tools to review how they are performing right now, what they need to work on and then supporting each one individually with their own plans has to give better return on investment than just throwing another general training programme at them. 

So as we say goodbye to the year of the sheep and hello to the year of the monkey, lets also say goodbye to cookie cutter graduate programmes and give out lai see (red envelopes) focused on programmes that embrace each individual and their personal development journeys.

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Gong Hey Fat Choy!