Employee development is about more than picking up a few skills. It's also about increasing employee morale and building a strong business. Boosting employee development in your company's day-to-day routine, professional development activities may not seem like a priority. After all, the workday should be focused on, well, working!
But it’s important that your employees continue to learn and grow professionally. Employee development not only benefits the individual, but it will benefit your company as well. So, how can you encourage your employees’ professional development? Here are 13 simple ways.
1. Have Regular Reviews
Make sure department heads are checking in with their team leaders and that employees’ needs are being met professionally. Do they have enough work on their plates? Are they being challenged? Are they able to excel and shine?
Maybe they’re ready to take on a new or different kind of project so that they can grow. Similarly, during your reviews, have them reflect on their own work. In what areas do they think they need to improve? And how can you help them do so? Consider having them set their own goals for the next year.
2. Recognise Accomplishments
Employee appreciation is immensely important, employees who feel valued are more motivated to do their best work. Keeping employees happy and appreciated is an easy way to encourage growth. They’ll feel excited about the prospect of learning more because you recognise what they’ve already done.
3. Allow for Growth Within the Company
This goes hand in hand with regular reviews and recognising accomplishments. Strive for a company that has upward mobility. If an employee is doing well, allow for promotion opportunities that will give them a sense of accomplishment. Even if your company doesn’t have any higher positions consider assigning your employee additional responsibilities. It will make them feel like they are succeeding — because they are!
4. Prioritise Professional Skill Development
Taking the time to focus on specific skills that could use work and actually working on them will help your team become better professionals. Maybe your employees would benefit from a public speaking expert coming in, or they could use a workshop to work on their writing skills. Homing in on employee development is not only important for them as an individual, but your company will also benefit from their improvements.
5. Encourage Outside Class Attendance
Employees can and should work on themselves outside of the workplace as well. Push your employees to attend classes, sessions, or conferences focusing on essential skills that are linked to your industry. Afterwards, encourage employees to discuss what they learned with their peers.
6. Encourage Networking
Most people think of networking as a necessary evil for finding a new job. But staying connected and knowing others in the business will help your employee grow in their role over time. Also, your employees’ networks can benefit your company as well. Who knows when a certain connection will come in handy for a business deal or help fill a needed position in your office.
7. Consider an Office Mentoring Program
A mentoring program can do so much for your business and your team, from employee training for newbies to building employee loyalty. A mentoring program can also build leadership and develop skills for both junior and senior employees. Tap into your resources! Employees helping their peers to be even more skilled and talented is a concept you just can’t pass up.
8. Implement Cross-Departmental Training
Allow space in your company for employees to learn from different departments. They’ll understand the inner workings of your company better, and fresh eyes might notice something about that specific department that should be changed.
9. Encourage Membership in Professional Organisations
Help employees choose which ones they might join, depending on their chosen career path. It never hurts to keep a running list of who belongs where. Employees will build relationships this way, learn new skills, stay on top of new developments in their field. Basically, it's just another clever way to network and help your company outreach.
10. Give Them Resources
Make sure your employees know where to find valuable information. Whether you have an online database of professional organisations they can join, classes they can attend, or you host monthly “lunch and learns,” your employees should have the tools to know how they can move forward.
11. Offer Tuition Reimbursement
If relevant to your industry, consider tuition reimbursement (or partial tuition reimbursement) for your employees’ continued education. It’s a fabulous benefit that will not only attract the best and the brightest talent but will also allow your employees to grow and learn!