Staff development is defined as the programs and activities (informal or formal and off or on the organization) that help staff members develop required competencies and skills and learn about responsibilities that are necessary to accomplish institutional and divisional purposes and goals, and grow professionally and personally in order to prepare themselves for advancement in the organization or beyond. Because individual goals, job descriptions, and even an institution’s mission, department, or division may change, staff development plans ought to be reviewed on a regular basis and changes to the staff development plan made as and when necessary- with both the supervisor and staff members being in agreement on the intended changes.

A staff development plan should thus be formulated with the following objectives in mind:

1. Specify available options for staff improvement

2. Clarify expectations for the progressive education of staff members

3. Ensure adequate funding for development activities aimed at improving staff

4. Establish a clear connection between institutional rewards and continuous professional development.

5. Employ accepted methods of learning and teaching in staff development activities.

6. Purposefully determine staff development activities in accordance with the needs of each staff member.

Use of the staffing model in developing staff

The integrated staffing module postulates a close relationship between performance appraisal and staff development. This is because like the former, staff development practices are dependent upon the context of the organization. It thus follows that an effective staff development model ought to be congruent with:

1. Goals and mission of the organization

2. Goals and mission of individual departments

3. Job description for the position that each staff member occupies

4. The appropriate professional association’s professional practice statement

5. The goals of each individual staff member.

Comprehensive and effective staff development practices must, therefore, attend to organizational and staff improvement, include attention to both product and process, derive from a developmental plan, be ever changing and multi-faceted, be anchored in day-to-day work, and recognize growth and maturation in staff. This is further explained below as follows:

Development Plan

Staff development ought to be active, intentional, and potent. Individual growth plans should be a reflection of current professional and personal status regarding attributes that are needed to perform assigned tasks, long- and short-term goals, and alternative ways of achieving those goals. Additionally, there should be a plan for organizational improvement, with both the organization’s and individual’s needs addressed in this plan.

Dual purposes: Organization and Staff Development


Staff development practices are characterized by a dual focus in that they must attend to not only organizational development, but individual staff development as well. For staff development to be considered a success, both goals have to be met i.e. they must mutually support each other. Such a commitment requires flexibility and creativity in staff development plans.

Anchored in Day-to-Day Activities

Since staff development is an ongoing process, it should be anchored in day-to-day work thus making it visible in all personnel functions in the division/department. Similarly, all other staffing functions should be related to staff development- especially in performance appraisal and supervision.

Product and Process

The objective of staff development is to improve organizational effectiveness together with staff. It is thus little surprise that this process affects relationships with colleagues, interpretations of job requirements, and perspectives on educational methods. Ideally, staff development should occur in a social context and emphasize teamwork, founded on collaboration. It should demonstrate the commonness of purpose by staff in addition to the crucial nature of individual skills and knowledge necessary to carry out assigned duties geared towards the achievement of larger goals.

Recognizes Growth and Maturation

The staff development process must be cognizant of the variations in the growth and maturity of the organization and individuals. While some staff members may have served for years, others could be in the initial stages of their professional careers. Also, the roles of staff members may change in time with those affected requiring retooling in


order to better adapt to their new responsibilities.

Ever-Changing and Multifaceted

With staff development being targeted at different people in different roles, it must continuously evolve. Staff development activities should thus require thoughtful reflection and integration couched in the context of what each particular job entails. This is likely to lead to desired effects on staff behavior as well.

Components Involved in Training Staff Professionally

These include:

1. Selection, Recruitment, and Retention

These are defined as all the activities associated with identifying potential staff members, identifying those who best fit the organization and job, and providing requisite systems and activities geared toward ensuring that they stay for as long as possible.

2. Performance coaching

Administrators and staff members should work together to develop performance plans and engage continuously in leading and motivating members. Effective coaching paves the way for staff members to foster stronger relationships besides working collaboratively to attain organizational goals.

3. Assessing Performance

Performance appraisals are vital in establishing and maintaining conditions necessary for effective performance management. When facilitated properly, they among others confirm that staff members understand their roles, evaluate the extent to which performance goals are being met, identify barriers and problems in the workplace, provide


constructive and positive feedback, encourage regular work-related conversations between staff members and supervisors, and provide information that provides the basis for the performance reward process.

4. Rewarding Performance

Compensation aligned with organizational goals is a sure way to facilitate development. The performance reward process entails the allocation of a staff member’s salary together with their benefits. And when effectively implemented, it provides a platform for specific consequences for feedback and actual performance regarding the merit of accomplishments.

5. Staff Development

Staff development refers to all the activities that directly or indirectly affect the ability of a staff member to do their current or future job. This entails identifying competencies needed by staff and ensuring that any development is geared toward enhancing such competencies. This could take the form of on-the-job training, professional conferences, on-site programs and workshops, and new employee orientation.

6. Planning and Developing Careers

Planning careers consists of the systematic approach that ensures each staff member’s skills, values, and interests meet the organization’s needs and requirements. Conversely, career development may consist of career planning workshops, tuition reimbursement, career coaching, staff orientation programs, job enrichment, and release time to pursue graduate classes.

7. Transition


Needless to say, some staff members may leave the organization, either involuntarily or voluntarily. Whatever the case, it is vital that supervisors make such transitions as seamless as possible by ensuring that those who leave are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to transition into their next position.