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A Tip for a Cost-Effective, High Impact, Capacity Building Strategy

February 26 2018 - by Lois Parkes, CLP's Regional Project Manager

A common challenge that leaders face is how to build capacity among the team members in cost-effective but impactful ways. Ensuring that your team members have the right mix of competencies and drive, not only affects productivity but the ability of leaders to effectively delegate, as well as manage their own workloads. However, the challenge of financial and other constraints, may cause leaders to think that their options for team capacity building are severely limited.

This, however, is far from the case, and several cost-effective and impactful capacity building strategies can be found and utilised with high levels of success. One such comes from a colleague of mine, who found herself with an entirely new team of inexperienced (though academically qualified) staff in the HR Department of a Caribbean public sector organisation. Given the peculiar nuances of HR practice in the public sector environment, it was extremely important that the team members rapidly rise up the public sector HR learning curve. In addition, formal job-specific training opportunities were not readily available at the time. After some brainstorming, it occurred to my colleague that both herself and the other team members almost, always arrive to work at least an hour before the scheduled start time. After getting the buy-in from the team, they decided to use some of that time for in-house capacity building workshops, but with a twist. The twist was that each team member would assume the role of Facilitator/Trainer on a rotation basis. Not only did each team have to share the Facilitation/Trainer role, they had to prepare their presentation/training on a HR topic with which they were unfamiliar. This then required them to step outside of their comfort zone, research and learn a new area of HR. In the process, they received helpful feedback from their other team members, and developed their delivery skills. The result was the rapid development and promotion of all of the team members. Today, my colleague is retired, and her old team members now hold very senior leadership positions across the public service.

Do you any ideas and suggestions for other cost-effective and impactful capacity building strategies? If so, you are invited to share in the comments section.

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We built a team of trainers in our Division by holding in-house sessions where they would present on different topics in a supportive environment.  A "sandwich approach" was used to give feedback whereby we spoke about what they did well, where they could improve and then closed with a reminder as to their growth in terms of what they were doing more effectively.  The support continued in the training room as the "graduates" knew that that they could always "tag" their more experienced colleagues to step in and assist whenever they felt a bit unsure about how to deal with a segment or a challenging question.  As a result, over time, the officers' confidence and competence grew and I believe this coaching style of building a truly supportive team can be applied in other work environments.

Lois Parkes

This is indeed another fantastic, effective and cost-effective capacity building strategy. Thanks so much for sharing

Arlene McComie - Reply

Excellent Blog Lois. And Denise feedback is very relevant.

One of the activities I used was the brown bag session at lunchtimes, where together with the HR Director we found expert and knowledgeable persons in the Public Sector or out (industrial relations) and invited them to come in and share with the HR officers.  We then had a period of interaction and questions.  They also got work to do by going away to research the topic further.  The Dir HR followed up.

This can be done for any area that has a gap in the organization.  We just need to package it well.....”What’s in it for me” Questions.

Lois Parkes

Excellent suggestion, Arlene. Thanks for sharing

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