Professional development

Introduction

Professional development is essential to career progression. Since today’s working environment is becoming increasingly more complex, professionals face the challenge of managing the knowledge of multiple disciplines and systems and the ever changing interrelationships between them. There are a range of methods for managing professional development and it is important from both a professional and personal perspective to ensure that efforts are effective.

The report below includes some of the methods used by a section manager who works for Selfridge’s department store.

Task 1

Personal and Carrier Development

Self Appraisal

Self appraisal is an essential part of the Performance appraisal process where the employee able to gives the feedback of day to day activities by himself or his views and points regarding his performance. Usually this is done with the help of a self appraisal form where the employee rates himself on various parameters, tells about his training needs, if any, talks about his accomplishments, strengths, weaknesses, problems faced etc.

Most of the performance management systems use self appraisals as one of its key processes. The main benefit of the self appraisal system is that even though it is not formal in every organisation, it provides an excellent foundation to the employees performance review. On the other hand it allows the management to understand the employee’s impression about the organisation and take decisions of his or her career progress.

However there are some limitations in this method as well. Primarily it doesn’t help employee to create an influential brand for him or herself that will stick in the mind of the boss. Employee needs to use the appraisal process to influence the boss to think about him or her in terms of the key capabilities/attributes that make him or her special and effective.

Self Appraisal for a Sales Assistant

Job information

Employee: Michael Didenko

Company: Selfridges Department store

Position Title: Section Manager

Review Period: three months from induction

Office: London Oxford street branch

Department: Men’s – Section: Men’s Products

Report to: Department Manager (Roger Newell)

Job descriptions and responsibilities

There are four main areas included in this role. Firstly Sales and provision of service which includes Receives and approaches clients, Leads a sales discussion, continues to ask questions to discover customer needs and receives complaints or is involved in it. Secondly Receipt and processing of goods where responsibilities of receiving and storing of goods involves as well as management of inventory. Thirdly, concluding of sales transactions which include Making the cash point and system ready to use and managing the point of sale system and most importantly the management of employee activities including the leading of team towards greater performance, recruiting, allocating work tasks, supervising, motivating and liaising with other managers.

Specify ways that you feel you met or exceeded job requirements and any reasons why.

  1. Can be satisfies as the questioning of customers in order to determine the needs of customers came up with positive feedback. Store managed to create special customised services using the findings of myself.
  2. Became the section of the department which has done highest sales in two consecutive weeks after two months of starting job.
  3. I feel that our section’s customer service in a good level as for the last three month period I have received no complaints but 11 mentioned compliments.

Specify the ways that you feel you did not meet job requirements and any reasons why.

  1. Sometimes it feels hard to meet up company promotional policy due to personal marketing attitude.
  2. Still not excellent in inventory due the large variety.

In what specific areas would you like to improve your job performance?

  1. Inventory Management techniques
  2. Presentation skills
  3. Quality of the retail management
  4. Team working

List the steps you would like to take to improve your preparation for future

opportunities.

  1. Get involved in the performance workshops
  2. Use the company training and development criteria effectively
  3. Learn retail management independently

What job-related goals would you like to accomplish in the next 12 months?

  • Get excellent inventory management skills.
  • Trained to become a Department supervisor.
  • Soon after finish the degree, get selected to the company graduate scheme.

List additional items you would like to discuss.

  1. Would like to know about the goods ordering system for the entire deparmrnt and woman’s department of the company as a career development.

Sample Curriculum Vitae

Personal profile

Young, dynamic BA Undergraduate seeking a career leads to management and administration. Good team worker who enjoys learning via experience. Keen to develop skills in all aspects of life and will work hard to achieve the desired goals. Able to work on own initiative or as part of a team and can deal with administrative duties competently.

Employment record

2008 – To Date: Selfridges Department Store – Section Sales Manager

Keeping up with key trends and have the confidence to suggest alternatives as well as maximising sales of cooperating brands. This is a great opportunity for Dealing with merchandising standards and deliveries, embracing teamwork, effective communication and supporting the retail management team.

2005 – 2008: Marriott Hotel, Cheshunt, Hertfordshire – Front Office Colleague

Managed and provided front of house services including reception, meeting room hospitality and key administration functions in a fast moving environment. This position has given a great opportunity to deliver the highest levels of customer service and professionalism to employees and visitors.

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2003- 2005: Fenwicks Ltd, Brent Cross, London- Customer Service Advisor

Served at the frontline, represented the service and brand values to an excellent and consistent level for the customers. Had an excellent knowledge of maximizing sales potential through the effective day-to-day management of the relationship with customers from initial sales enquiry, through to order and delivery. This position has greatly developed my communication skills and how to deal with customers efficiently and accurately.

Educational Qualifications

2008-2010: BA (Hones) Business Management – University of Sunderland

The course covered an in-depth study of management theories and practice. In addition over the three year period it emphasises abilities to organise, monitor, control and develop best practice in the management of organisations whilst providing a thorough understanding of the business environment.

Major study areas include,

  • Managing Projects
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Strategic Management of People
  • Financial Management
  • Contemporary Developments in Business and Management
  • Strategic Management

Additional Skills

Excellent experiences in Team work since the college period.

Good communication skills through oral and visual presentations.

Remarkable computer skills, including information management.

Good at being responsible since college.

Experienced in several social fieldwork and Charity Work

Interests, Activities & Other Information

Member of the Cancer Society in UK.

Member of the College swimming team, prefect’s guild and athletic squad

Enjoy travelling, music and time out with friends as opportunity for new experience and meeting new people.

 

Personal Development Plan

DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVE

STAGES INVOLVED

PROPOSED ACTIONS

TO BE ACHIEVED BY

RESOURCES REQUIRED

Supervisory/section management skills

· Authority

· Responsibility

· Delegation

· Communication

· Time management

Increase the management skills in order to ease the decision making process, actions can be taken as use training courses, delivering training to other staff, professional reading and shadowing management staff.

1 year

* Organisational training scheme

* Skills audit with the help of Department Manager

* Other learning resources

* Management Meetings

Promotional Knowledge

· Sales and marketing

· Pricing

· Promotion

· Customer service

· Product and environment

Can use training courses, consumer analysis, marketing analysis, management programmes, delegate with the staff on marketing perspective and knowledge of the similar sections

6 months

1 Marketing / Promotional Policy

2 Professional marketing courses

3 Customer feedbacks

4 Training modules

Inventory knowledge

· First in first out

· Last in first out

· Average cost

Training courses, understanding organisational statements, always involve in stock calculation, one to one discussions with higher management and knowledge of the ordering and sales of the section.

6 months

5 Stock management courses

6 Income and cash flow statements

7 Inventory policy

8 Order document

9 Stock calculation documents

Interpersonal skills

· Communication/Interview skills

· Relationships

· Personal impact

· Conflict management

Training courses, start of the day team talks, extra activities, build up strong relationships with supervisors and staff and be passionate.

3 month

10 Self Appraisal

11 Training courses

12 Professional reading materials

Task 2

Evaluate Progress

Evaluating progress is essential to staying on target. The Evaluation results and information gathered during the formal review process is used by many organizations to create new action plans, identify best practices, and set new performance goals. Most of the organisations urge its employees to have personal or pre structured evaluation reports in order keep track of their progress. In this way employees can simplify their way forward on achieving planned targets. This procedure work well in Selfridges and sample evaluation plan for the section manager in men’s department is given below.

Skill

Evaluation

Revision

Management Skills

Section manager development programme is completed and found very effective. Delivering the training to the staff found slightly difficult as very experienced workers have more skills than young managers. Other sections management is very helpful.

Need to have more briefings. More management training will provide successful background.

Aim: Assist to become the best department consecutively.

Promotional Knowledge

Market and consumer analysis is undergoing successfully. Yet it is still hard to make a impact on the overall promotions. Ideas of the sale staff and the theories of the marketing staff clash often. More marketing knowledge needed as a section manager.

Regular sales promotions will be needed in the section.

Aim: To make men’s products section more popular in the whole store.

Inventory Knowledge

Inventory knowledge is increasing slowly but steadily. It seems that this problem is more personal due to the new arrivals and the amount of variety. Stock control is successful so far.

Need to concentrate harder. Revising inventory reports will be helpful.

Aim: Reduce wastage level of the section to a minimum.

Interpersonal Skills

Personally satisfied with the time relationships and the conflict management although if try harder can gain maximum out of the more experienced workers. Professional management course is undergoing. Communication should is not directed to the correct receiver several times.

Have to maintain a clear communication policy. Team effort should be maximised.

Aim: Create one of the best teams of the entire chain.

Above evaluation plan is a single review of the ongoing processes depending on the personal development plan. Carrying out a regular reviewing process will assist to enhance the overall output in order to reach the set objectives. Some of the methods can be used are given below.

  • Regular Observations
  • Monthly action plans
  • Weekly customer questioners
  • Staff questioners at least at least every three months
  • Progress reports
  • Annual health checks
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There are many methods that different organisations use. Given examples above the once that Selfridges regularly use.

Task 3

Interpersonal and Transferable Business Skills

Problem recognition

Lack of Motivation among the employees of Men’s products section can be identified as one of the leading problem of the department. If this condition is not reasonably identified and solved properly, it can be spread to the other departments of the store and made an impact on the competitive advantage of the whole company.

Analysis

After recognising the problem, before finding the solution it is wise step to analyse the background of the problem. There are many reasons to the of motivation in the department. The company is well known for the employment of young energetic people, however there are many experienced people working among them from a long period. Most of this people are almost elderly people and some of them are working as supervisors. Comparing to the young and new starters these experienced people has high knowledge but lack of motivation due several reasons such as,

  • Being unable to see future reward
  • Lack of need
  • Being indifferent
  • Not having plans and
  • Feeling depressed

After carefully analysing the reasons it is clear that these matters of should be answered correctly in order to reduce the division of the team and motivate every single employee to gain a sales increase.

Solutions

In some companies the new starters have lack of motivation due to low ability although in Selfridges it can be clearly seen that the problem is among the well experienced staff. This is surely a major threat however solutions are not that hard. The most important step is to create enjoyable working conditions. This has to be done by the management with the close involvement of the staff. Some social events can bring up the whole department together and can renew the relationships among them self. Creating small sub groups within the department with a mixture of old and new staff and empower them as well as reward the groups will bring the motivation in to a new level. At the same time experienced staff should be rewarded at every possible time to boost up their working energy and to give a good example to the new starters. On the other hand the management should admire these experienced staff every time while setting up goals for them to lead the new staff. This can be seen as a recreating a team to increase the productivity.

Communication within the department

In any organisation People have a basic need to know what is going on around them. Employees need to feel comfortable that their managers will share relevant information with them about the company, and about their performance and position within the organization. Having a properly described communication plan with clear channels will make this whole effort much easier and important information will pass easily.

The communication strategy within the men’s products section is fairly clear in Selfridges and normally exert in three levels within the section managers role.

  • Communication between the section staff and the section manager and supervisors
  • Link between the other section managers
  • Departmental level and higher level management communication.

At the first level communication mediums are much straight forward and sometimes informal. Most of the day to day businesses delivered verbally or orally between small groups of members of the staff. Majority of these messages are face to face and section manager is always clear about the actions. It is much easier because the communicated messages can be always adjusted at this level and therefore can be delivered effectively. Section manager uses his interpersonal skills to create an excellent social and work background to facilitate the smooth running of the section’s aspects.

On the other hand, the second level which connects the fellow section managers and line managers together is not simple as the first one. Although the members of this level share similar characteristics among them there are situations that communication may fail due to the different responsibilities. However again at this levels more face to face and telephone methods are used to communicate which makes easier environment to get linked.

Thirdly the department and higher level management communication is different from both of the levels above. At departmental level oral and written communication levels are used more regularly because of the distance between the parties are low. Very high communicative and interpersonal required at this level but different from the first level because the section managers interpersonal skills level represent the entire section’s reputation within the department. Communication within the other departments and the higher management will be happening under one way or two way systems most of the times. This Part of the procedure is much formal than any other level therefore very high and clear interpersonal levels will be needed.

Time Management

Every minute spent in mistaken or incorrect way is a time that effects negatively on the productivity. In any company managing the time of its tasks is a major requirement, as carefully planned schedule will ease the day to day and future responsibilities. In addition managing the time effectively will reduce stress levels of the employees, improve their well-being, and increase focus on the job and productivity. Yet many people in the section manager’s position often run out of time due the low time management skills. Some of the points given below can be used as good time management strategies.

  • Create a Monthly Schedule
  • Asses and plan the work load each week
  • Adjust the plan everyday
  • Evaluate the plan regularly
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By looking at above four strategies it might feel that monthly schedule will not be enough to plan and assist the company’s strategic objectives. However by planning the time monthly basis and braking down to smaller tasks will help to keep track record easily and concentrate on every responsibility.

Task 4

Self Managed Learning

Learning

Learning at Work gives the opportunity to individually alter a route to a more recognised level using the tasks that complete as part of the current role, so both the person and business benefit. It is an important professional experience which uses a unique framework and work-based projects while giving the chance to interact with other work colleagues unlike academic learning. Learning benefits the section mangers position in many ways. Some of them are,

  • Assessing current work practices and relevant industry experience
  • Evaluating personal, professional and career objectives.
  • Identifying the strategic directions and priorities of the employer
  • Negotiating your own learning plan
  • Organising work-based projects
  • Recording progress and achievements
  • All these benefits can be achieved by using three different methods of learning experiences which are,
  • Learning from the current job
  • Learning through experience and
  • Learning through skills and knowledge

Learning Cycle and learning Styles

Traditionally, learning has been associated with reading books, attending courses and lectures, etc. However in this fast moving world it has been realised that , learning should be more durable and lifelong and therefore much logical systems should be used. Learning cycle can be identified as an illustration of a engaging and integrating learning methods so that it affects not only thinking but also the behaviour. Many philosophers have explained many learning cycles although the one that David Kolb published in 1984 the most popular. Kolb’s learning cycle is illustrated below and explained.

Kolb identifies four different stages of the learning cycle as below.

  • Concrete Experience – The cycle starts with doing something in which the individual, team or organisation are allocated a task. Key to learning therefore is active participation.
  • Reflective Observation – In this stage the person who actually on the learning cycle stepping back from doing and reviewing what has been done and experienced.
  • Abstract Conceptualisation – At this stage the learner makes comparisons between what they have done, reflect upon and what they already know.
  • Active Experimentation – The final stage of the learning cycle is when the learner considers how they are going to put what they have learnt into practice. In other words it is a way of planning.
  • According to Kolb different people naturally prefer a certain single different learning style. Furthermore he identifies four different styles as below.
  • Diverging – Divergers take experiences and think deeply about them, thus moves away from a single experience to multiple possibilities.
  • Assimilating – Assimilator’s greatest strength lies in the ability to create theoretical models. Ideas and concepts are more important than people and require good clear explanation rather than practical opportunity.
  • Converging – Converger likes finding practical uses for ideas and theories, evaluating consequences and selecting solutions. Again this type of learner does not prefer interpersonal situations or people connections, instead they like technical uses.
  • Accommodating – This learner uses trial and error rather than thought and reflection. He is good at adapting to changing circumstances and get on well with the people.

Honey and Mumford styles of learning illustrate the same actions as above however the names they used are different. The similarity can be given as below.

  • Activist = Accommodating
  • Reflector = Diverging
  • Theorist = Assimilating
  • Pragmatist = Converging

Presentation Using the Personal Development Plan

The presentation slides given below is an explanation of the development objectives given in the personal development plan. In other words they can be identified as the learning tasks which lie among the learning styles. These presentation slides are very useful to submit progress to the higher management and delivering training to the staff.

Conclusion

Professional development is an important and very useful part of a manager’s career. Managers must be aggressive and focused in their objectives for professional development. In addition it is their duty to keep the reputation of their position by using different learning systems that are already available. Carefully managed professional development process can be identified as the key aspect of any manager’s career. The report undertook above was an independent document of a section manager’s personal and professional development criteria.

Bibliography

  • David Kolb, Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development (1984), FT Prentice Hall
  • Grainger, P., Managing People: Your Self-development Action Plan (1994), Kogan Page
  • Parsole, E. Coaching and Mentoring: Practical Methods to Improve Learning (2000), Kogan Page
  • Hayes, J. Interpersonal Skills at Work (2002), Routledge (NY)
  • HNC/HND Course Book
  • http://books.google.co.uk/books?client=firefox-a&hl=en
  • http://bsspdl.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/kolb-learning-cycle-2/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_styles
  • http://labspace.open.ac.uk/file.php/3228/E838_1_Section11.pdf
  • http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9215/guide.htm
  • www.businesslink.gov.uk
  • www.selfridges.com

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