Any effective leader knows that their employees are one of their most valuable assets. While customers purchase the products and services that help businesses generate revenue, employees’ hard work and dedication make it all possible. That’s why managers and human resource personnel need to invest in their employees’ further development and advancement. When businesses support their staff’s desire to acquire new skills and move up the ranks, it helps boost morale, increase productivity, and cultivate stronger teams.
What can business owners, managers, and human resource departments do to support employee development? Consider implementing some of the strategies listed below.
Before you commit to any policy or program for employee development opportunities, it’s best to talk to your team to determine their needs and desires. Schedule one-on-one meetings with each of your employees to discuss their professional goals. Ask questions like, “Where do you see yourself in a few years?”, “What programs, tools, or resources would help you achieve those goals?” and “What changes or improvements would they like to see within the company to support their efforts?”
Once you’ve talked to everyone, use the information you’ve gathered to develop career development strategies that would benefit the majority (if not all) of your employees during their journey.
Career Development Guidance
Not all employees know what they want professionally. Some people don’t think about how their education, skills, and experience can help them get into more fulfilling positions outside of making a paycheck. Sometimes, a little encouragement and guidance can go a long way. Assign someone to help your team develop a career plan. They can get assistance with discovering the positions best suited for them and creating actionable steps to help them evolve.
When there’s a staffing need, consider hiring in-house instead of advertising the position to the public. Give your employees priority and recommend team members you believe would be a good fit. Even if they require a little training before they can complete the necessary tasks, giving someone in your company a chance to advance shows that you support and value your team.
Offer On and Off-Site Training Opportunities
Most employees don’t have the time, money, or resources to attend training and professional seminars. You can show your support by offering training opportunities onsite during regular business hours. It provides a convenient way to acquire new skills without disrupting their work-life balance. If you can’t afford to hire someone for training, you can also look into training opportunities and seminars in the area and pay for some of your employees to attend.
If you have employees that wish to obtain a college degree as part of their professional development plan, show your support by offering tuition assistance. You can create guidelines that specify the types of degree and certificate programs you’ll support and how much the company will cover. For instance, if you own a law firm and have a paralegal that just passed the LSAT test, paying a portion of her expenses throughout law school would help her advance within the firm.
Another employee development strategy that has proven beneficial is job shadowing. Employers allow staff from entry-level positions to work with the senior team and learn the ropes. The senior staff serve as mentors and provide guidance and hands-on experiences to help their teammates climb the corporate ladder.
Make Work-Life Balance More Manageable
Advancing your career is time-consuming. It often means your employees will have to juggle their jobs, training, and educational opportunities while keeping up with their obligations at home. As taking on the additional responsibilities can cause their performance and productivity to decline, employers are encouraged to offer support.
You can allow employees to work flexible hours or maintain a hybrid schedule working part-time in-house and part-time at home. Another example might include being flexible when they need to take time off to complete tests, exams, and other on-campus activities while continuing their education.
Statistics show that employee satisfaction rates are higher when employers support their career development goals. It makes them feel seen, heard, valued and empowered. As you might imagine, the positivity translates into a healthier workplace that’s productive and equipped with the necessary skills to catapult businesses towards success.