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Professional Development Portfolio Essay

My role within the workplace

My primary role within the organization is as a shop assistant at Asda there are lots of various roles that require core skills to be able to do fulfil the job sufficiently. I have other side roles within my occupation other than my primary role as our organization operates a job enlargement system of human resource management so therefore I am trained on other areas of the organization aside of my primary job description. The skills I already process will be highlighted in the following SWOT analysis, it will also highlight areas that I have discovered that are of weakness currently also

Identifying a problem

The problem I have identified was a problem at work that occurred earlier in the year. The problem was that there was no policy regarding the allocation of available overtime; it was just made available on a board on a Saturday morning and was up to anyone to pick up as many/few shifts as they pleased. This led to a problem I identified, which was that for people that were not contracted to Saturdays were at a disadvantage regarding the shifts that they could pick up, weather this be amount of shifts or certain days etc. From this I came to the conclusion that I would form a problem solving analysis upon this problem. The analysis I found most simple and useful was a SWOT analysis.


My strengths in approaching this problem were;

•I managed to identify that there was an issue and was causing slight friction within the workplace and more specifically our department •I realized that I could have skills to assist in resolving this problem •The strengths I could adapt to this situation are the ability to be articulate and speak to people in an appropriate manner •Another strength I have is to be able to explain things to people individually in a appropriate way they can understand •After evaluating my reflective practice I discovered that I was very strong at taking full responsibility for my actions for if a project fails, this would be an appropriate strength as posting and implementing new ideas at work can go wrong and it is right to accept this and reflect upon it by taking the positives and working on the areas that did not go so well


My skills weaknesses in approaching this problem were;

•My active approach to learning often hinders me from being pragmatic and reflective regarding input from others in work or problem solving situations •Another weakness of mine is my ability to evaluate practical points in order to make the most relevant points get across to becoming action •The time it takes me to notice problems of this nature is often quite a large time scale •Another weakness of mine is time spending to find relevant links between different things, this is relevant because problems can be spotted earlier if problems between links on projects are spotted and addressed early which limits their overall negative impact in an area of work, this weakness links with the earlier one of evaluating practical points


•However the opportunities that finding this problem were initially that it made the managers think of an alternative to the current operations of overtime allocation •It revealed personnel opportunities for myself that showed I have skills to find problems and niggles •Skills such as problem finding, conversational and interpersonal skills in order to communicate the problem to the right people, identifying a possible solution to the problem, and forming an input into a new policy that solved the problem and was fair to all •This problem also showed the opportunity of self realization of some skills that I had acquired and helped me reflect on skills that I needed to work on. Threats

•One threat is I need to allocate my skills more accordingly to relevant situations •I also need to be more aware of the skills I have to offer •Threats to this work situation are that initially the management does not embrace the change accordingly •Also that they do not make the policy aware to the masses

(0.1)Professional Development Action Plan Template

As I develop my Action Plan, I will use the SMART model by ensuring all of my goals and action steps are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and within a specific Timeframe. Complete a plan for each of my goals.

Goal: To implement a new policy at work in relation to allocating overtime in a fair and proper manner

Relevance – how will this goal help me: It will help me be able to highlight strengths in skills that I already possess and will also show gaps in my skills and my weak areas, whilst assisting in solving a problem within the workplace

What are the steps or strategies I will take?What is the realistic timeframe to accomplish the step or strategy?How will I evaluate each step or strategy?How will I know the step or strategy has been accomplished? Firstly, to look if there is any overtime allocated practices or policies in place

3-5 daysTo analyze policies regarding overtime and shift patterns within the department to therefore begin to looking to find a solutionWhen I have compiled enough knowledge on our current policies, or after realizing if there are any current policies in place or not Thought shower some potential policies or means that could assist solving the issue

1 weekTo find as many potential solutions or potential policy changes that could help address the issueWhen there is enough relivent ideas and data that can potentially contribute towards the solving the problem Use a problem solving technique such as a SWOT analysis

2 weeksAllocate characteristics of the problem into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to find the problemWhen the technique is concluded and its findings are apparent Decide and allocate which solution is best to solve the problem and is most relevant to its characteristics

6 weeksFind the solution and start putting in foundations to build steps to it implementationWhen I have the final solution and have considered the methods to applying it without causing any other operational issues Look at the results of the SWOT analysis and thought shower to beginning to find a solution to the problem

4 weeksLook at the key issue in relation to the problem an then derive ways to solve it without causing any more problems of grievancesWhen a solution, or many solutions are tangible or available

(1.0)Professional development Progress towards targets section 2 (BIS00093) (1.1)Introduction

To develop my skills this year we have been set the task of a reflective piece of writing in relation to shown we tackled the targets we had set earlier in the year to develop professionally and reflect on how we have improved our own skills both at work and in an academic place of vocation. In order to complete this we set out a set of skills that were both areas that we could develop and ones that were already strong but aspects could be built on and in my case I have related this skill set to my highlighted problem at work that I set earlier in the year in order to make my portfolio coherent which is in the first part of this portfolio prior to this report.


This professional development report is a progress report on the skills I have chosen to develop in my action plan which was highlighted earlier in the year, in order to get to the point where I might be in a position to solve my highlighted problem. This was to try and create a policy to fairly rationale the overtime that is available at my workplace of ASDA living at Cortonwood, Barnsley. The importance of reflection in this account cannot be underwritten, and the whole aim of this account is to show my reflection on my skills set and how I have developed my skills, and how other skills still require some development in order to move my professional development foreword. I highlighted seven skills which need addressing in order to fulfil my further professional development.

(2.0)Approach to problem situations

The first skill I highlighted was my ability to approach problem situations, Initially I believed that I needed to be more pragmatic and reflective in my approach to not just solving this problem but any problem in life, as my initial way of solving a problem is to just get stuck in and do things instead of checking and reviewing matters. This was also highlighted in my skills assessment audits. To develop and improve this skill my action plan was to go and initially speak to my peers at work about how they solve their problems and what approach they take. This would also help me open up other avenues and perspectives to problem solving. The conclusion I came to after divulging over many opinions and reflecting on my own failures in this skill was to keep persevering with my new approach of learning new ways to approach problem situations and then after refining these methods to learn to use appropriate ones for certain situations.

For example you can approach some problems by stepping away from the situation and being pragmatic and ordering objectives, but some problems require you to just take my original approach to all problems which are to just jump in and do things to solve the problems. Through my development I have been able to develop new approaches to problem situations such as finding myself solving a problem, and simultaneously being able to find other problems in the topic or situation and pose new questions regarding how to solve internal problems and issues within the bigger initial highlighted problem.

(3.0)Evaluate relevant points

The next skill I chose to develop was being able to evaluate relevant point, in relation to developing this skill I highlighted that I needed to focus on critically in order to complete a task more efficiently, rather than trying to do lots of different tasks simultaneously and never really completing the initial task that was set. My initial targets to combat this skill gap was to focus on one job at a time, I asked my manager at work to also asses and keep an eye on my work from the point of addressing this skills gap in this manner (appendix A, manager minutes). After concluding a few tasks I had a conversation with him regarding my development and he commented that I had improved my skill in relation to just committing to relevant points and tasks within work and was pleased with my approach to combating my skills gaps within the workplace.

In reflection to this skill I believe it went very well and my professional development plan directly addressed the issue highlighted which is an addition to this development of this skill as I have been able to identify a skills gap and fulfil my own planning to a degree of success and formality. I have also been able to notice this skill of evaluating and addressing critical points and areas of a job come into play further and slowly has become a more refined skill of mine to the point where I am able to strip a task down to its bareness and simplify it for others to follow my structures and planning in there conquest to assist completing the job or project. (4.0)

Time management

The next skill I needed to develop in order to gain an overall solution to my problem was to develop my time management skills, which at my skills assessment were set at the lowest level of skill initially as having little experience of this skill, I believe it is one of my main skill’s weaknesses and has been for some time, it is something I have always found very difficult. I have decided to address this skills gap by trying to use more time management tools. I have tried to develop this skill very slowly as I have limited and poor quality experiences of this skill nature in the past.

Therefore initially I started off with simple methods such as keeping a calendar of my day to day events in order to give me at least some time management structure as I was basically very fluid beforehand with no structure whatsoever, I have not developed this skill any further as I am having some success with the calendar on its own as of present but it is a skill that I am going to look to develop further, particularly next year when I am studying for my honours top up degree as I believe this skill will be imperative at this point, however I can attribute the lack of development in this skill down to my previous poor levels of experience in this skill nature and the fact that I am a very impulsive and spontaneous type of person and therefore have never really considered time management as a way of progressing my skills platform and skills matrix.

On reflection I believe I would be able to describe my development in the skill of time management as one That I have shown some development in but not of a sufficient manner towards assisting solving the problem, however I have being able to reflect on these issues and have shown how they can be overcome and stated reasons that it is essential to overcome these issues and given the skills gap a focus in order to assist its completion to be competent in the skill of time management. (5.0)

Identifying problems

The next skill I identified and chose to develop was the skill of identifying problems, I evaluated this as one of my stronger skills towards being able to solve my problem, it is also very applicable to any problem that needs solving as in order to solve a problem it needs to be indentified beforehand in order to focus resources on the problem in hand. I am quite strong at this area of skill, both in the workplace and academically. This has been noticed and occasionally complemented by my peers in both of these areas of my life. However it has been highlighted by my peers in the past that sometimes I am not very confident in expressing my abilities in regards to identifying problems and could push myself foreword more in relation to this.

I have reflected upon this and also noticed there are times where I identify problems but lack confidence to express theses problems to a superior due to a lack of confidence and diligence, however I also have reflected on my strength in this field and have made it more of a prerogative to continue my good work in relation to identifying problems in order to assist the overall bigger identified problem which is to compile a policy to allocate overtime at work out more fairly between employees in order that everyone gets a fair share of the hours available. In relation to my slight weakness in this aspect however I shall try to be more outgoing when expressing my opinion on problems or potential problems and assist in identifying other diverse problems that are not always directly addressed to me in the most appropriate way possible. In relation to this there is an abstract on my mind map (appendix B) that relates to this aspect of problem identification and what it can be used for.

(6.0)Verbal communication

The next area of skill I have identified that I will need to solve this problem set is the ability of verbal communication. As this is a problem that influences everyone on the department it is an area that will be quite sensitive in nature to the vast majority of people. Therefore being able to communicate ideas and possible ways that the policy could be moulded are essential, the ability of verbal communication and having this ability along with the needs to take on board feedback from organisational members is vital in relation to this policy. In truth I believe this has always been one of my strongest areas in skills regarding developing this policy at work.

This is because I am articulate and am very good in changing both my language, demeanour and body language appropriately according to the situation, characteristic of the third person and the age and intellectual level of the person that I am speaking to, this is because I am an empathetic type of person when it comes to social exchanges of this matter. My only self criticism and gap within this skill is that I can sometimes go over the top and digress away from the original issue.

On reflection I just need to continue being articulate and selective with my demeanours in relation to the type of social situation, I also need to keep taking on board feed back within verbal communication and being selective towards which feedback I find useful and not so useful, and applying these ideas towards the final outcome and solution to the problem. Also, as previously mentioned I can digress away from the point in my verbal communications, they way I have tackled this aspect in my skills development is to for a small structure (Appendix C) to just keep my conversational points work related and retain focus on the subject matter in hand which is ultimately solving the problem and drawing up some sort of policy. (7.0)

Influencing peers

The next area of skill I have identified as an area of skill that will be required to solve my problem in the workplace is the ability to influence peers and others within both the organisation and life in general. I believe this skill is particularly applicable to this problem and is a key cog in order to get to a solution for the problem, as after taking into account the views of the departments employees and gaining their feedback it is only possible to use some of the best ideas and fuse them into the policy and therefore create a solution to this problem or issue, and for this reason alone it is important that influence on peers is a strong skill in order to influence one’s own ideas and impress them on the masses in the working environment in order to keep a harmonious working environment and not cause further problems by implementing a policy of this nature in the first place, so for this alone I believe this skill is a very important one for getting everyone on side to find some common ground for all so that the policy can be successful when, or if it is implemented.

My level of skill on influencing my peers is quite high, in situations both at work and in other areas of life such as sport. However during this experience of solving or trying to solve my problem I have found a few cracks in this skill even though it is one of my stronger skills. I highlighted the fact that I needed to be more confident to press my influence on others and try to become a motivator which I can potentially do. To do this I have tried to take more charge in workplace situations and influence others into potential directions that they can go with their own projects at work, I have also approached management about things and issues I believe have occurred at work, for example I believe the budgeting programme for our business being historical is incorrect given the businesses size and turnover.

This shows that I have tried to be influential on all levels of personnel at work and have built up the confidence to approach members of the organisation that are higher in the hierarchy about myself with issues I believe could be addressed. On reflection I believe I have move this skill foreword slightly and improved in the areas I have highlighted that I would like to in my plan, however I would also like to take my influential persona and use it to my own benefit in other areas if and when I graduate to have as a skill that employers might find as an attractive one. (8.0)

Plan work

The final skill I believe is essential to finding a solution to this problem presented is having the ability to plan work and have plans that are both flexible for external influence but structured towards attaining a result in the workplace that satisfies the needs of both myself and the organisation. This skill has often been a challenging one for me as I stated earlier regarding my time management that before I attended university I often worked on spontaneity and impulse and never really planned my time and planning work also falls into a similar category in regards to planning work as the go hand in hand in some conduct. As I have highlighted this as a weakness or gap in my current skills I have drawn up a detailed action plan with this in mind. I have highlighted in my plan to spend more time planning both at work and at university and to do this I have stated that I need to write more things down and be more formal as regards to planning.

After writing this in my plan and reflecting on how I will approach this matter I decided to start using the built in diary on my phone as I believed it was a more practical solution to the planning aspect, I have had to attempt to be innovative in order to improve this skills gap as I don’t like the idea of carrying a diary or journal around as I will not keep it up to date and potentially could lose it. I have however drawn up my formal plans at work in a small notebook and kept line of my tasks and have found this useful, particularly on busy days when there are many tasks it is easy to forget something that could be essential when you have no or little structure as regards to planning and planning time towards certain critical tasks.

It has been very applicable to the problem that has been highlighted, as in order to form the policy and therefore a general solution to the problem it is very important that the stages to get there are put in place and planned accordingly. This is for many reasons, particularly if something goes wrong during getting to the solution as it is easier to trace the steps that are written down or recorded in some way than if there is no structure at all which would make the locating of the key area that created to problem a near impossibility, and would make it very

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