Personal development in the workplace : the concept and its usage in selection and training
The use of the concept of Personal Development is widespread in the commercial world, particularly with respect to Selection and Training. Here the use of the term by Managers and (Personal Development) Trainers is investigated through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Although both groups use the concept freely, neither group is able to clearly articulate what they mean. Managers' emphasis external changes (acquisition of skills/attainment of goals) whereas Personal Development Trainers delineate a separate notion of Personal Growth, which relates to internal change (a way of being rather than of doing). In Selection Managers rely extensively on 'intuition', making decisions on the basis of tacit criteria relating to 'personal qualities' that are not part of the formal specification of the post. In relation to Training both groups identify 'Key Insights' as the product. Benefits relate to both 'being' (awareness) and 'doing' (improved performance). A distinction becomes apparent between Personal Development, which relates to directly to improvement in work performance, and Personal Growth, which is seen to increase personal 'skills', and enhance personal 'qualities'. The research establishes a list of Key Insights, the foremost of which is 'Self Awareness'. It is evident that Managers are looking beyond KSA's (Knowledge Skills and Abilities) to encompass BVP's (Beliefs, Values and Personality) in both the selection and training of employees. To facilitate this a greater understanding of the concepts of Personal Development and Personal Growth is needed. It is suggested that the identification of Key Insights provide a structure to enable clarification of thinking by both: Managers and Trainers.