So often when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, we are in a rush to throw out the old and move on to the new. But I think it is important to acknowledge where we have been and what we have accomplished. Frankly, it is an important employee communication practice and an important motivational practice.

Whenever you are in “build mode,” it is taxing on those involved. There is a high degree of heavy lifting in the content development phase and an increased level of anxiety from a change management perspective. Subject matter experts feel that they are now responsible for extra work beyond their “day job,” and fellow employees worry about their world changing, including expectations and tasks.

In early 2016, I took on a project identifying performance gaps in Fortis Construction’s employee development. After numerous surveys, interviews, and content reviews, the gaps became obvious. The areas of focus became:

  • Content development
  • Content delivery and storage
  • Customized learning plan
  • Onboarding
  • Branding

With such robust focus areas determined, one can imagine the fast and furious pace to achieve some of these items for 2016, given the rapid-paced environment that Fortis works under. The accomplishments for the year were tremendous. We created an onboarding curriculum, involving creation of 14 new classes. New-hire paperwork became an electronic process instead of a time-consuming paper process on the new hire’s first day. Customizable learning plans were developed and rolled out.

There is much more to achieve, including a 2017 training strategy, an LMS to figure out, and branding to develop. But it is important to stop for a moment and acknowledge what has been accomplished and the work it took to achieve these audacious goals, so I developed a one-pager titled the 2016 Employee Development Snapshot (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The 2016 Employee Development Snapshot

The snapshot highlights development accomplishments, training attended (both required and optional, internal and external). I also highlighted the number of SME hours, as well as freelance hours. While putting together the snapshot, I learned a few things:

  • Record-keeping is key. I learned that, as an organization, we haven’t been too good about keeping track of things. So for next year, I have already created tracking documents. This is important since I will be developing snapshots for each year going forward.
  • Short and sweet ensures it gets read. Given the fast-paced nature of our environment and the information overload that we all deal with, the snapshot is one page, with graphical representation where possible. It is also a color document so that it stands out visually. Wording is bulleted rather than full sentences for scanning readability.
  • Celebrate the wins and lay the groundwork for future work. The snapshot is meant to remind all employees of how far we have come and how the organization values them and their development. It hopefully will also inspire some employees to get involved in the next phase of work that needs to be completed.
A look back is as important as future planning. Employees need the “pat on the back” for goals met. The snapshot ensures employees stop for a moment and recognize what they have achieved before moving forward to conquer the future.