A Better (Scalable) Way to Provide Employee Development

Understandably, learning and development leaders struggle with how to provide their organizations with all (over even much) of the development opportunities that employees expect….especially for the so-called Gen-Y, whose expectations of career development is out-of-whack with what organization are providing.
"Gimme Development"

More than 77 percent of pending 2013 graduates expect their first employer to provide formal training, but only 48 percent of 2011 and 2012 graduates report having received it in their first job, according to the April “Accenture 2013 College Graduate Employment Survey.”
I don't think organizations should struggle with this. In fact, I don't think organizations should provide most of the development that people "expect." Look at it this way: do you really think you will ever have the time or resources to create development programs beyond specific job skills? In case you had to pause to think about it, the answer is, "No."

Even if you had the budget, the needs analysis on that one would be a…well, let's just say it would be difficult. Not only would such a needs analysis take at least months, if don't properly, but the needs are a moving target. What someone needs today is not what they need tomorrow. Good luck keeping up with that.

I suggest you look at it a different way. Enable people to create their own development plan. You just give people a development budget at work and let them spend it anyway they like. And just get out of their way. Give people $2000 per year to spend on school, books, classes, seminars, conferences, or anything else related to some growth opportunity. Your high performers will eat it up. Your low performers will not likely even know this opportunity exists. Tell your managers to pay attention to those who put these expenses through for approval. I bet they are the ones who will shine.

Stop trying to determine what other people want to need. Let them decided for themselves. Just give them an opportunity.

What do you think? Do you think this would work in your organization? Why or why not?