The modern world offers great opportunities for individuals to find a job and build a career. The large volume and access to information allow any employee to build competence and knowledge, but at the same time, the bar of requirements for potential employees is also raised. Self-development is a key tool to maintaining the competitiveness and acuity of the specialists. It should be analyzed what is effective self-development of an employee and draw an analogy with my own professional development.
The Uniqueness of Employee Self-Development
Employee self-development differs from other methods of personnel development and training in the following characteristic features. Firstly, it is one of the least expensive methods of increasing the labor potential of employees of the enterprise. Management of self-development of personnel does not require the organization’s constant financial expenses for instructions, lectures, and courses of professional development, regular and expensive monitoring and control of competencies, and the attraction of training specialists. The distinctive feature of self-development is the personal activity of employees, which implies independent work on the improvement of already existing and acquisition of new knowledge, skills, and abilities (Vision 2030 Realization Programs, 2021). The enterprise helps and supports the employees’ self-development activity but does not take upon itself the training and development functions.
Secondly, the self-development of personnel is characterized by an indirect system of management and stimulation of the corresponding activity of employees. The task is to force them to self-development through directives of management, to oblige them to read relevant literature outside of working hours, to participate in training to read the relevant literature and participate in training events outside of work, and to study with tutors, which seems difficult to accomplish. Direct requirements for self-development prescribed in employment contracts and job descriptions have a demotivating effect on employees who may perceive them as illegal interference in their personal life and even resort to protest behavior: lawsuits, strikes, and internal dismissal. Personnel self-development should be influenced by methods based on voluntariness and the freedom of choice of an individual, for example, by stimulating the self-development of employees through the creation and maintenance of a favorable psychological climate and culture of self-development in the enterprise, the system of material and non-material incentives, work organization.
Thirdly, staff self-development, to a greater extent than other methods, fosters employees’ interests in the activities of the enterprise, and forms their organizational identification and organizational commitment, as it involves not mandatory training but voluntary decisions and actions aimed at the realization of coinciding personal and organizational interests. Self-development contributes to the development of employees’ sense of belonging to the organization; it is associated with the application in the practice of new knowledge and competencies (Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2020). It motivates employees to work actively and proactively and creates an aspiration to achieve the goals and tasks set by the enterprise by means of development and realization of their own potential and application of new methods and technologies.
Fourthly, professional and personal self-development of personnel implies a wider range of areas for the development of employees of the organization in comparison with other methods of development and training of employees. Staff self-development implies the acquisition and improvement of competencies and personal qualities in various areas of activity (Hutchins, 2018). The enterprise can offer priority directions for the improvement of employees’ competence without limiting the choice of self-development directions (Hutchins, 2018). All this contributes to the transformation of an employee into a more developed personality with a broad outlook, inclined to take responsibility and solve more complicated and diverse tasks arising in the process of labor activity.
Fifthly, self-development as a method of training and development of personnel relies on the interests, desires, and already existing motivation of each particular employee. It is, to a lesser extent, in comparison with other methods of personnel development, it needs less external stimulation and assumes the independent work of the personnel to reveal the weak points in their competence profile. It also assumes a choice of the most convenient and effective method of increasing the level of knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for the employee and the organization.
The Role of the Enterprise in the Self-Development of Specialists
The enterprise can help the employees to diagnose and evaluate their professional and personal competence, for example, by means of a voluntary questionnaire or an interview. The organization can also provide team members with financial and time resources to carry out self-development work. However, staff self-development work is not limited to lectures, training, seminars, and case studies offered by the company (Hutchins, 2018). In most cases, self-development is an individual activity aimed at satisfying the need to increase the level of competence of each particular employee.
Continuous self-development and training lead to increased competence and improved quality of work and is a preparation for more demanding job responsibilities, which in turn promotes career advancement. Furthermore, they are convinced that the results achieved as well as the process of self-development, bring great moral satisfaction to the individual. Improving one’s knowledge and skills is a duty for a typical employee, for the fulfillment of which he does not expect any material compensation (Hutchins, 2018). It is believed that the introduction of innovations into the work process, which requires continuous learning and self-development, is considered to be the basis of the economic growth of the whole country.
For example, modern Japan uses a variety of very specific self-development tools. One of these tools is the tradition of attaching “shame ribbons” to employees who have just taken office. Employees who have successfully passed the organization selection pass a number of tests that reveal their strengths and weaknesses and show what competences they should develop (Keengwe & Bull, 2019). Based on the results of the tests, about 10-15 “shame ribbons”, are taken off when employees independently reach a new level of knowledge necessary for their professional growth in this company (Keengwe & Bull, 2019). This is quite a strong incentive for the staff to self-develop and to achieve high professional results.
In addition, many Japanese companies have a tradition of daily self-development progress reports. The management does not check these reports, but the employees themselves, through these reports, regularly assess their level of competence and mastery of acquired knowledge, skills, and abilities (Keengwe & Bull, 2019). Besides the above-mentioned ways of inducing employees to self-development, Japanese enterprises use various techniques stimulating the self-development of personnel: quality circles, payment according to self-development work done, and material and resource support for self-development.
Self-development also plays an important role in the system of personnel training and development methods in many European countries, Canada and the USA. The personnel self-development method “SHINE” of Adidas Group can serve as an example of such a method. At the same time, there are distance learning and self-development programs GoogleEDU and Re:Work at Google Corporation, internal corporate development programs incorporating self-development methods of the FourSeasons hotel chain (Kraiger, et al., 2020). Analysis of self-development opportunities and experience of its application in various companies allows concluding that in the modern business world, employee self-development is becoming one of the most demanded methods of personnel training and development (Kraiger, et al., 2020). High efficiency of self-development as a method of personnel training and development requires adequate awareness of the need for its implementation by modern managers, their understanding of its specificity and the conditions of its successful use.
The Impact of Self-Development Methods on My Professional Life
One of my main goals in life is to build a successful career and to recommend myself as a quality professional. The most important logical chain was revealed, the essence of which is that in order to remain competitive, a person needs to be a flexible and versatile individual. In particular, it is necessary to combine several leadership qualities and skills. Thus, the results of psychological tests show that the combination of an official boss and an unofficial leader in one person increases the efficiency of employees by 20-30% (Wheeler & Halbesleben & Buckley, 2018, p.117). The essence of the phenomenon is the doubling of the power of the leader’s influence on the group, using not only the power granted officially but also the leader’s personal qualities. The same tests confirmed that the official authority of the head justifies only 60% of the possibilities of the working group, while psychological or unofficial authority allows for achieving 85-90% of the employees’ efficiency (Dipboye, 2018, p.36). To build an effective employee performance management system, the supervisor should know the personal orientation. A manager’s focus is based on the attitudes that gain the most advantage in the process of personal communication. The predominance of equity or creativity in the process of communication can be the basis for effective group management and will maintain cohesion in the team.
In addition, I found out the main advantage of my character, which can potentially contribute to my positive recommendation. I can highlight diligence, which allows me to combine several factors in myself, namely, assiduity, purposefulness, and desire to perform tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. Such a person precisely sees the goals set, respects his work, and strives to achieve high results. Professional activity is regarded as an important part of life and a way of self-expression. This allows asserting presence of a sense of responsibility for their work and decisions. Not every employee takes responsibility for his decisions – it is easier to pass it on to a colleague or supervisor. This is the reason why employees spend time going to a higher authority who will give them an answer to the situation. This does not mean that the employees have to solve everything themselves, but they can propose several variants of solving the problem for the approval of the management (Hiriyappa, 2018). Exactly for approval, but not for a solution; non-initiative performance of one’s duties in no way corresponds to the qualities of a good employee.
Based on all of the above, I decided to develop several principles for my own professional development. Personal and professional qualities are the result of upbringing. The influence of parents, the general mood in the family, and the support of relatives and friends allow a person to feel more confident, set goals and achieve them easily. The influence of society, friends and teachers is also equally important. Professionally important qualities, embedded or not embedded in childhood, are not a verdict for the person. A person can develop and adjust them for himself. The most important thing that a successful person, regardless of career level and profession, must have is self-confidence and self-esteem. This is the basis of any sphere of activity and the result of self-development. When taking up a task, it is necessary to be able to soberly assess capabilities and possible risks. While taking up a task, one should use all one’s potential and bring the matter to an end, even if difficulties arise. There are several methods to help develop the professional qualities of the individual. First of all, it is self-analysis that makes it clear which professional qualities are sufficiently formed and which need to be improved or nurtured. Having already determined what is missing, individuals can plan professional qualities development. The most important thing in this process is to clearly define the desired result, ways and terms of its achievement.
Improving professional qualities is a long process. There is a lot of training and theoretical material on this topic, which is worth the time it takes to study. But it is possible to cope with the task on people’s own, and self-discipline is necessary. Therefore, there will be the first reason to be proud, which will give confidence in abilities, respectively, self-esteem will increase and complex tasks will be easier, and solving each task will bring additional confidence in abilities. In the first stage, even the smallest success is important. For example, to develop a quality such as consistency, people must accustom themselves to planning even the smallest thing, such as cleaning the apartment (Vision 2030 Realization Programs, 2021). A constructive way of thinking is gradually transferred to all areas of activity and prescribed in the brain. Each individual field of activity and career level requires certain skills and qualities.
In order to ensure stable career growth and quality competence in professional activities, an individual must, first of all, develop as an employee. Despite the fact that there are various external stimuli, each specialist should take time to develop his or her own skills. It is this process that enhances competitiveness and preserves the relevance of knowledge and skills in the conditions of the modern speed of life. It is important to emphasize that one of the key features of modern workers is the ability to combine several qualities at the same time, for example, related not only to productivity but also leadership. From this, the conclusion is that professionals today should be not only professionals but also versatile personalities.
Dipboye, R. L. (2018). The Emerald review of industrial and organizational psychology. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited.
Hiriyappa, B. (2018). Development of leadership skills. Dover: PublishDrive.
Hutchins, G. (2018). Operational excellence handbook. An enterprise approach. Washington: Certified Enterprise Risk Manager Academy.
Iszatt-White, M., and Saunders, C. (2020). Leadership. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Keengwe, J., and Bull, P, H, (2019). Handbook of research on innovative digital practices to engage learners. Hershey: IGI Global.
Kraiger, K., Passmore, J., Santos, N. R., and Malvezzi, S. (2020). The Wiley Blackwell handbook of the psychology of training, development, and performance improvement. New Jersey: Wiley.
Vision 2030 Realization Programs. (2021). Human capability development program 2021-2025. Saudi Vision 2030.
Wheeler, A. R., Halbesleben, J. R. B., and Buckley, M. R. (Ed.). (2018). Research in personnel and human resources management. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited.