Human Resources Development (People Development) is the resources, by which a company guides the process of growth of people in an ever-changing society and market.

What do we mean when we talk about People Development?

What we mean when we talk about love is the title of a short story by Raymond Carver, and on the nature of this acted feeling perhaps we will never stop wondering.

How many times have HR / People Development professionals found themselves faced with questioning looks, puzzled expressions and bizarre requests? And how often have we felt the difficulty and fatigue of putting the practice of our craft into words?

If you think about it, it’s a bit like when you know you love and are loved but, for Valentine’s Day, you look up phrases on the internet to put on your cards. Or like when, to make one’s love official, one draws up promises and marriage contracts.

Victorious warriors first win and then go to war, while defeated warriors first go to war and then try to win.

People Development: an essence that can be elusive

It is not about hiring so-called talent, although you can do Development by selecting people and putting them on board. The point is not to teach them a matter, a skill, a profession. Although Development works to activate and sustain the mechanism that makes any learning possible and powerful and grounding it.

In fact, the key is not even doing an assessment and putting the resource into a well-defined career path. It is a common experience that some people climb the ladder of success even if the Development Area of an organization is on the sidelines or in goal.

So what is People Development really for?

Development is part of various business processes that concern the selection, hiring, training, growth and the management of people.
It intervenes directly or in support of those involved in these processes (other HR professionals and managers) to:

  • Measure attitudes, skills and meta-abilities of people and teams in order to predict how, to what extent and in what direction they will be able to express useful and incisive performance in one or more positions/work areas (= selection and evaluation of potential).
  • Consider not only the experience done, the skills and performance expressed in different positions/areas, but also and above all the cross functional characteristics of a person as a whole. In other words, the attitude to:
    Get involved and try to influence things, using one’s own abilities and energy to the best of one’s ability
    – Be realistic and at the same time confident in oneself, in others and in the future
    – Have the ability to motivate and self-motivate
    – Integrate differences and contradictions in a constructive way
    – Take risks, even in uncertainty, and experiment
    – Recover available energy and resources
    – Manage difficulties and constraints.
  • Intercept the dynamics and balances of a team that interfere or play in favor of performance (= evaluation of team potentiality)
  • Bring out the possible and useful quality leaps to fully express the potential of individuals and groups with responsible awareness, meaning by a quality leap a change in the way of thinking and feeling that allows people to decide, design, act and evolve to a higher level of complexity and expand, in any field (= definition of potential profile and feedback/ discussion, but also feedback processes manager-collaborator or 180 / 360°)
  • Coaching individuals and teams to achieve the defined quality leap, supporting learning, performance and personal, professional and career growth (coaching, team coaching, peer-coaching, counseling, workshops, mentoring, missions, projects, career paths)
  • Measuring the results of the development activity (self-assessment, feedback processes).
Domande e risposte nello Sviluppo Risorse Umane

Where does the real possibility of People Development emerge?

There are selection interviews whose decisive moment is when the person, loosening his/her defenses, tells us about a disagreement with his/her father, his/her holidays or his/her children. Assessment feedback, contributes to focusing on the quality improvement more than the assessment itself. Incisive feedbacks are able to activate and support learning that training alone has not been able to generate and consolidate. Experiments in the field and appropriately accompanied missions that contribute to the evolution more than days spent reading and listening. Project de-briefings which, when properly carried out, provide information on the actual evolution of people and teams more than a sophisticated evaluation process of the potential expressed.

This is what we talk about when we talk about People Development.
Maybe also about love.

We are proposing you to consider:

  • How much Development, in this manner, is done in your organization and in which areas: selection, hiring, training, evaluation and growth of people and teams
  • Where do you think it would be useful to make or even do more of them
  • Where and how you could, if you wished, and contribute to increasing Development Activities.

We would be happy and pleased if you would share your thoughts with us (in the comments).