Workforce development

Developing performance potentialPsychology in sport

A skilled and engaged workforce is a critical component of any environment, be it a large corporate or a sports team. From match day stewards to performance analysts, everyone has a role to play in helping to meet an organization's objectives. Developing a workforce that drives for success is critical to enhancing overall performance.

Your athletes and teams may get the glory on the pitch or the track, but their success is based on far more than just their performance on the day. A whole team of support staff, such as coaches, physiotherapists and administrative staff, are often the backbone of sporting performance. Without a dedicated and skilled workforce, you could be at risk of failing to meet your objectives.

Here at Thomas, we believe that by investing and focusing your time on a few key areas, you will put yourself firmly on the road to success. So what steps can you take to improve your organization's workforce development strategy?

Recruit the right talent

The best time to put your workforce on the right track is at the beginning. Start from the recruitment stage, through to on-boarding and development, to ensure you've got the right people in the right roles and you'll develop a strong foundation for success.

Consider your organizational objectives – are you looking for coaches with a focus on participation rather than performance? Or are you looking to move your team to the elite level? Once you have a clear course of action, you can then look at the type of people that would be best suited to meet these objectives, as well as the skills and behaviours that are required. Job profiling can help you to determine the ideal characteristics for a role and combined with behaviour profiling, will enable you to analyse whether you have the right people in the right roles.

Create a strong leadership team

People leave managers not companies. Strong leadership helps organizations to reach their goals. But how do you ensure you have the right leaders to empower your workforce (be that athletes or support staff) and ultimately deliver results?

The difference between an acceptable leader and an exceptional leader often lies with emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent leaders tend to be more self-aware, better communicators and more adaptable than their less emotionally intelligent counterparts.

Exploring levels of emotional intelligence creates an environment of understanding that boosts self-awareness amongst your leaders and will empower your workforce to strive for success.

Team working skills are another essential leadership skill displayed by successful leaders. Providing your leaders with an insight into how they and their team members behave, communicate, their strengths and limitations and their motivators, gives them the tools to successfully work together to raise performance.

Invest in the development of your people

As your organization evolves, so do the demands on your workforce. Investing in training and coaching for your workforce will ensure they are well equipped to tackle tasks and projects.

Many organizations invest heavily in training of hard skills, but often forget about the other end of the spectrum. Developing soft skills could make the difference in your organization's overall ability. People are your most valuable asset. A self-aware, highly communicative and emotionally intelligent workforce will be much more effective when it comes to promoting the organization both internally and externally. It could make the difference in the organization achieving an award or accreditation or falling short.

Engage your workforce

No matter who you recruit, if your workforce is disengaged, you're automatically at high risk of having a demotivated workforce struggling to meet objectives.

A simple employee engagement survey can help you identify areas where your workforce may be facing challenges and assist you in targeting your workforce development efforts, by fostering engagement in the areas that will have the biggest impact on overall organizational performance.

Engage for Success* found that companies with high levels of engagement have 18% higher productivity than their low engaged counterparts. People that enjoy the work they do, the relationships they have and feel recognized for their contribution are far more likely to perform to their maximum ability and therefore drive the organization forward.

Developing your people gives you the opportunity to shape the future of your organization. Enhancing the skills of your people in critical areas could help you to meet industry goals, create sector skill plans and ultimately deliver outcomes and results. The importance of a skilled and engaged workforce cannot be overlooked, it's a vital step in the journey to achieving excellence.