A stretch assignment is a developmental tool used by managers in place of, or to complement, formal training. The stretch assignment is a project or task given to one of your employees, which is beyond their current knowledge or skill level, their comfort zone if you will, in order to “stretch” employees developmentally. The stretch assignment challenges employees by placing them into uncomfortable situations in order to learn and grow.
Let’s take a closer look…
Are you getting the most out of your employees?
This proves to be a delicate balance for both the manager and the employee. If the manager assigns tasks or projects which are too difficult for the employee to handle, he/she runs the risk of pushing them into the circle labeled “burnout zone”. Just as dangerous, however, is assigning tasks or projects that are far too routine or easy for the employee’s level of capability. These tasks will push the employee in the opposite direction into the “bored zone”. It’s important to remember that tasks that place the employee in either of these zones, have a tendency to disengage employees. Sometimes to the point of having them leave the company for other opportunities.