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Workforce Development – more than training staff

Effective, skilled staff are needed to ensure that organisations have the capacity to provide high quality, evidence based services to their clients; this requires a workforce development approach to staff management to ensure that individuals teams and organisations are supported to maximise their capacity to deliver best practice services to ensure more positive client outcomes.

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Workforce Development is a term which includes a number of key factors relating to the individual, the organisation in which they work and the systems surrounding the organisation.

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While individual knowledge and skill are necessary, a broader range of factors impact upon the ability to work effectively.  These factors include:

  • Individual level (eg, attitude, motivation, confidence, role legitimacy, stress, job satisfaction, knowledge and skills)
  • Team level (eg, support, team cohesiveness, feedback & reward, openness to change, mentoring)
  • Organisation (eg, policies, resources, supervision, feedback and reward, remuneration, work environment, capacity for recruitment and retention)
  • Systems (eg, funding, legislation, information dissemination, industrial awards)

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    While we are all strongly aware of the impact of funding systems and pay rates on our workforce, have you asked yourself how often you look at your own team and organisation function, policies and strategies and how they impact on individual staff well-being and effectiveness?  Does your organisation have systems in place which maximises the benefit from the training your staff receives?

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    Best practice workforce development policies, programs and initiatives should be:

    • Evidence based
    • Multi-level (individual / team / organisation / system)
    • Sustainable
    • Continuously evaluated
    • Participatory and involving of key stakeholders

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    The aim of workforce development is to ensure that  individuals, teams, organisations and systems function with maximum effectiveness to ensure best practice service delivery to ensure optimal client outcomes.

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    For more information on general principals of workforce development, refer to chapter  1 in NCETA’s Theory Into Practice Strategies, which expands on these points.

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