Employee development plan: How new pricing teams can build a culture of accountability 

Professional development for pricing professionals is not a one day or even three-day training event or professional pricing conference, it is an incremental learning process supported by a strategic employee development plan with clear goals, expectations and opportunities for personal growth and professional development.

Building a culture of accountability in your team and business, requires pricing leaders and teams to work closely with HR and build a highly commercial employee development plan that drive results, not just tasks and actions.  As W. Edwards Deming said: “At least 90 per cent of the constraints on performance are in the processes, not the people. And leaders own the processes.”

Pricing executives and their teams often fail when they have no results to strive for. You need strategic employee development plans that explain how each individual member on your team are going to achieve specific business results.

Well-structured pricing development activities incorporated within a strategic employee development plan will encourage high levels of team engagement and focus attention on collective business goals and strategies.

High achieving pricing leaders, managers and analysts don’t just want to get things done, they want to achieve results that matter and be a part of something bigger.  Ticking tasks off lists or meeting and greeting stakeholders without an agenda, mission or clear view on strategy, does not achieve results or accelerate team performance.

In this article, I will discuss some common misconceptions about employee development plans, onboarding and training. I will then give some tips on how pricing managers can make sure a team achieves their full potential in new and challenging pricing roles.

Common misconceptions about an employee development plan

Many pricing managers misunderstand the 70:20:10 model and translate ‘learning by doing’ as a list of stretch goals in a fairly generic employee development plan.  Turning on-the-job experiences and training into a list of difficult tasks is not enough to maintain lasting change in yourself let alone in others.

A lack of clarity on expectations and strategy in your employee development plan can often make new employees feel like they are not adding value. Letting new employees ‘find their feet’ when they start a new role without setting clear expectations about the role and performance, can often make them feel hyper sensitive to change and/or like a spare part.

A “one-size-fits-all” approach to learning and development does not work. Employee development plans need to vary from person to person. Employee development plans should ideally focus on individual strengths and areas of development. Done any other way, you may struggle to accelerate team performance in the first 100 days.

How to get the most from an employee development plan

1.A well-structured employee development plan sets the right expectations early on. It saves you a lot of stress, emotional energy and time down the line. Negative feedback conversations are often connected to the original expectations of an employee when they started in their new position. Many negative conversations with a direct report can often be traced back to a lack of clarity up front from the line manager or unrealistic expectations (on both sides).

2.Reference and review your job description and employee development plan at the same time.  Remind yourself and the team of the mission, purpose and performance standards required for new and challenging pricing roles.

Too many leaders and pricing teams forget about the job description. Once the new pricing manager or analyst is behind the desk, the job description is put away in the draw and forgotten.

Like the employee development plan, the job description is also a useful developmental tool (not just a recruitment tool). It is a shared reference point for a conversation about performance.

We recommend that all performance discussions and employee development plans reference the job description. This should not be a one-off exercise either. As a pricing manager or lead, you should refer to the job description at all goal setting and performance stages stated in the employee development plan.

3.One of the most successful ways to influence desired team behaviours (or habits) is to role model desired behaviours. If you want your team to exhibit a certain level or pattern of behaviour, then it is your role (as the pricing manager) to show them what you mean.

“People do what they see,” as Peter Drucker said. Employees look to their managers and leaders for behavioural cues. People copy people.

 

Conclusion

An employee development plan can help you build high performing teams and culture in the first 100-critical days of forming a new team. Most organisations use generic employee development plans and induction processes and struggle to achieve a minimum competency in the first 100 days.

If your organisation does not commit to your professional development, then it is up to you and your line manager to find a way to drive personal and team performance. We recommend focusing on the following areas to drive team engagement, competency and performance:

1. Developing customised employee development plans,

2. Building team alignment,

3. Role modelling desired teamworking behaviours,

4. Developing targeted pricing training aligned to business plan & strategy,

5. Clarifying role & setting clear expectations on performance (including regular and informal feedback).

Information communicated in the first 100-critical period is essential to attach and align with a new team and company. How information is communicated (i.e., frequency, method and content) during this time should be monitored to assess business process, project implementation as well as how well the team are retaining new information.

We recommend that employee development plans track incremental learning over a three-month period – not in a weeks’ professional development seminar download.

Build a development plan that considers all the relevant processes to be learned. Then, seek to allocate these across the team, choosing those who have the best skills in any particular areas.

Share the workload in the employee development plan. Encourage the whole team to support each other. Enable your team to organically learn how they can build a culture of accountability.

See our blog on dynamic ticket pricing for how ticket sales are changing. Also see our post on developing team management skills for pricing leaders.