Bridging the gap

13 Aug 2018
by Coral Atkinson

Leading on from Coral’s exploration of xAPI in her July “Learning happens everywhere” blog, sharing how professional learning is changing, we thought we’d look at some other aspects of how technology enhances the value of professional development and learning within a workforce.

Here at Premier IT we often talk about becoming attractive to future employees and retaining staff through effective personal development plans, clear workforce and individual role succession planning, with strategies driven by need and skill gap analysis. But, these all sound a bit “HR’y”, which of course as functions they mostly are.

Many modern HR approaches and a lot of the associated technology has distributed many of these day-to-day staff engagements down through line managers, often onto us as employees, giving us auditable and visible access of where we are in the variety of ongoing review cycles. But is there more value at our fingertips that alludes us?

One of the hardest things to do in a workforce is to readily identify and thank those that go the extra mile, alongside those that need more support to develop and become fully engaged and effective. All too often the regular appraisals, signing off of the personal development plan, even when using the slickest tech it can feel like a tick box exercise for all involved; adding to the not desperately exciting part of being employed. “Professional Development” can become more of a chore than an impactful and empowering process, both for the employee and employer.

Are these process alone the best to sum up “how I’m doing” as an employee and to keep me engaged in my role? We think maybe not, but it was mostly all we had to work with.

Individual efforts are further eroded when the outcomes of your work are measured as a whole service or company, particularly when they are externally inspected and marked as failing or requiring improvement when personal efforts might be outstanding.

So do we really know enough about our staff, can we identify those quietly over/underperforming or those who are coasting, through no fault of their own, where some support could help them excel? Are the traditional HR appraisals, Personal Development Plans, CPD and training plans adding as much value as is needed? With over 20 years’ experience in providing appraisal, portfolio and CPD solutions we think there’s a gap that needs bridging.

In our latest round of development we are bridging the gap between other role related activities and the traditional HR processes. Giving a single, comprehensive overview for individuals to be really proud of their achievements, with exemplary staff being more readily visible and valued. This is all becoming a lot easier to achieve as more and more processes within organisations are captured and data is starting to become accessible beyond its core raison d’etre.

We are combining these whole role experiences with HR process created a portfolio view that is more of a whole work-life Experience Record Store.

We can now easily see, for example, that two health care employees that have both completed appraisals are both up to date in their training, completed CPD tasks and are on course to Revalidate. They can actually look quite different when we link to patient outcomes and feedback data. They also feel very different when this difference is acknowledged, especially when role champions are created, giving them the platform to share their passion both in and beyond their and your organisation. Using the Experience Record Store gives your employee advocates the evidence they need to be identified, valued and flourish.

We’d urge you to think about the bigger picture when it comes to evidencing what you do or don’t know about your staff, what motivates them to excel to advocate being in your employment and how this impacts role retention and recruitment too. This approach might be slightly “easier” for a traditional workforce, but can also be applied to membership organisations too.

Whilst technology is a great enabler to bridge the HR world with an individual’s passion and role efficacy, it still takes an organisation to understand this bridged value and want to meaningfully help staff be proud of their efforts.


Nick Chinn
Community Technology Lead

Nick has been working to support improvements in public sector services through technology for over 10 years, he brings a passion for delivering and identifying value at a personal, workforce and community level to Premier IT. Nick Co-Founded We Communities, a now 300,000 strong tweeting community of healthcare professionals, and is an Honorary Lecturer for Plymouth University School of Nursing and Midwifery for Digital Professionalism. You’ll find Nick on twitter talking about IT and running, as part of his drive to improve services and experiences and reduce demand on NHS services via @NRCUK.


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