Identifying the Workforce Development Needs of Your Team
Presentation Review by Bernadette Donnelly
The October Chapter Meeting, “Identifying the Workforce Development Needs of Your Team”, was presented by Dr. Kathy DesRoches, Program Director for the Masters in Leadership Program at Granite State College. Here is the review.
Why is developing teams Important?
When you manage a team, how well it performs often depends on how well you've trained and developed your people. Individuals need ongoing training and development to help them become more effective and take on bigger and more significant challenges/responsibilities. More than this, they need help learning new skills as the nature of their work—and of your organization—changes.
Too often, companies limit training and development to new hires and to people moving into new roles. This is a mistake because ongoing training helps people adjust to changing job requirements. It also creates a pool of qualified and available people, who are ready to step into new roles as your organization needs them. This practice helps you develop a more effective, efficient, productive, and motivated workforce. Done properly, this will ensure that you achieve your objectives and improve your competitive position.
How do we know?
At Granite State College Dr. DesRoches is in a leadership role, serving faculty and students. She is a respected business collaborator and is skilled at building productive teams.
Dr. DesRoches helps managers to identify needed workforce skills and ensures that training programs are in place. This begins with clear job descriptions that define the requirements for each job function and an assessment of skills needed for successful project delivery.
Presentation exercises included a comparison of the O*NET online job description with an actual job description for a Project Manager, discussions about creating a team charter, and introduced the Belbin model of team strengths.
A lively discussion centered around Best Practices from previous projects. Here are just some of the lessons learned discussed:
- Get executive approval at the beginning of the project
- Create a communications plan
- Provide regular status to stakeholders based on their preferred methods
- Don’t delay bad news
- Define accountability
- Match tasks with skills
- Hold regular project meetings
Why should we care?
According to Dr. DesRoches, if there are productive people in your organization and on your team, it is more effective to improve skills than to replace them. Even new workers with the right skills require time to understand the organizational mission, goals, and culture.
This is particularly important in today’s workplace, as experienced project managers are beginning to age out into retirement.
What should I do?
Here are some recommended tools and techniques for building more effective, productive teams:
- Review project deliverables against the organization’s strategic plan.
- Assess the skills required to meet project deliverables.
- Review the job description for the people assigned to your team and complete a gap analysis.
- Determine if training, mentoring, or coaching can bridge the gap or if new employees need to be hired.
- Review best practices from other projects to further define practices.
- Teams should create a charter that includes the mission, boundaries, resources, support, operations, and method of negotiation and agreement.
About Kathy DesRoches
Dr. Kathy DesRoches is the program director for the Masters in Leadership Program at Granite State College. In this faculty leadership role, she serves as an advisor to her students. Kathy is also the chair of the graduate curriculum committee. US News and World reports have awarded Granite State College the Best on-line graduate business program in 2017. The program is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The program is offered in online, blended, and hybrid formats
Across New Hampshire, Kathy is a respected collaborator with business partners. In 2015, she was recognized by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development with the Commissioner's Teamwork Award for her work developing a strategic training formation with Axenics, GE, Scotia Technology, and Titeflex.
Prior to joining the College, DesRoches worked at Manchester Community College as the Director of Workforce Development. Kathy has connected numerous companies with New Hampshire Job Training Grants and provided training for thousands of employees across the state of New Hampshire. In addition, Kathy served in the past as the Director of Educational Programs at the University of New Hampshire's Technology Transfer Center. DesRoches holds a master's degree from the University of New Hampshire and a Doctorate in Education from Plymouth State University.
Kathy DesRoches resides in Epsom, New Hampshire with her husband. She serves on numerous boards and is the chair of the planning board in the Town of Epsom, an elected position. In her free time, she practices yoga, organizes NHVegFest, reads; and knits.
Bernadette Donnelly, M.S., PMP
Director of Publications
PMI New Hampshire Chapter