Each company has a unique set of priorities to help take it to the next level. High-performance organizations rise above the competition in areas such as customer service, strategy, and profitability. What genuinely distinguishes one company from the rest, however, is not the product it sells or the service it provides—it is its people.
Successful organizations invest in equipping and empowering their workforce with the knowledge and tools to thrive. They are committed to helping their employees attain personal growth and achieve professional goals.
Employee development is a long-term initiative with long-term benefits such as increased loyalty and engagement. Investing in staff development also helps an organization become more agile and future-ready, attract top talent, and strengthen its internal talent pipeline.
Continue reading to discover six ways to improve employee development at your organization.
Ask your employees what they need to succeed
For business owners and managers, closing skills gaps between employees is critical. Team managers or HR representatives should meet with employees regularly to discuss each employee’s job performance and areas where professional growth would benefit both them and the organization.
Creating a culture of learning at work is a shared responsibility. Employees should feel free to propose professional development opportunities. Bouncing off training and development ideas around the workplace gives employees a voice in building the best development program for them while promoting personal and professional growth.
Offer flexible and accessible learning opportunities
With their existing heavy workload, telling your employees that they need to participate in additional learning and development activities frequently leaves them feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Companies must respond by adopting on-demand and mobile technologies that make upskilling opportunities readily available to your people.
The more convenient it is for employees to access and participate in your development program, the more likely they are to take advantage of it. Meet your employees where they are so they may access professional development programs in their chosen format whenever and wherever they choose.
Everyone on your team deserves the chance to grow and develop their skills while working under your supervision. If you manage a remote team, make sure they have opportunities to develop their talents even while away from a physical office space. You can accomplish this with employee training software solutions or industry-specific online learning courses.
Invest in personal development
Your employees don’t merely exist to serve your company in a professional capacity. They are whole human beings with mental, emotional, and physical experiences. For your employees to grow personally and professionally, employee development must be holistic.
Investing in personal development can motivate your employees to bring their whole selves to work. Soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, effective communication, and active listening, can help develop them into better team members. Based on a 2017 joint study from Boston College, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan, soft skills training in areas like communication and problem-solving boosts employee retention and productivity by 12%, with a 250% ROI.
Turn your managers into coaches
Investing in employee development but failing to give specific development opportunities related to management training is a costly error. Many employees climb the ranks because they are outstanding at what they do. However, to become an effective leader, one must have exceptional people skills to build and lead a high-performing team.
Managers, especially first-time managers, should be trained and given the skills they need to help their teams succeed. Equip your managers with the coaching skills required to facilitate meaningful, effective conversations with their team members.
Effective coaching leads to improved employee engagement, productivity, and customer service. Coaching also helps employees build self-confidence, boost performance, overcome obstacles, and reach their goals.
Provide real-time feedback and not just annual reviews
Many employees would rather have their managers address learning opportunities and challenges in real-time rather than waiting for a yearly review. Employees cannot improve or develop in areas where they struggle if their employers do not provide ongoing feedback.
Organizations must design a system that helps management evaluate their employees’ strengths and weaknesses on an ongoing basis. Managers must then communicate the results of these assessments with their employees throughout the year. This weekly, monthly, or quarterly evaluation and communication process creates a feedback loop for employees, allowing them to identify and address areas where they require more training.
Promote cross-departmental collaboration
Many organizations are siloed, with few opportunities for departments to communicate and collaborate. Building cross-departmental development opportunities is an excellent approach to promoting company-wide camaraderie and understanding that does not happen when individuals are confined to their cubicles.
Cross-departmental training and development activities allow employees to get to know one another, gain some insight into what other teams in the company are doing, broaden employee skill sets, and improve the organization’s overall performance.
Employees are more likely to feel motivated to do their best work when they are provided the tools they need to perform their jobs well and advance in their careers. Investing in your employees’ professional development is key to gaining and retaining top talent, increasing job satisfaction and morale, improving productivity, and sustaining business growth and success.