According to the experts, a company with a strong employee development program is a company with satisfied, motivated workers. And since productive workers lead to a successful business, encouraging employees’ professional development is a win-win situation.
The University of California, Berkley suggests managers encourage employees to develop professionally by offering them plenty of resources, including on- and off-site training, educational courses and industry seminars. Equally important to professional development is to have mentors and coaches in place to help employees set goals and provide performance feedback.
When workers are encouraged to improve their skills, develop professionally and take on more responsibility in the workplace, positive things happen: self-esteem flourishes, quality of work improves and success is achieved.
Here are 5 ways to help your employees and your company succeed:
1. Create an IDP. Have employees create their own Individual Development Plan (IDP). This document enables them to record and track their long- and short-term goals; list skills, strengths and weaknesses; and identify resources needed to accomplish goals. Free templates are available online.
2. Review Regularly. Make it clear that the IDP is the employee’s responsibility. However, as the supervisor or manager, you should schedule regular meetings to review the employee’s progress, discuss any concerns he or she may have and offer constructive advice when needed.
3. Offer Opportunities. No matter the size of your company, you can offer learning opportunities. If your budget allows, provide tuition assistance. If that’s not an option, organize Lunch & Learn events and invite local experts to share their knowledge with your team. If an employee takes a class on her own that positively impacts her job performance, recognize and — when possible — reward her efforts.
4. Speak Up. Never underestimate the power of feedback. Praise often. Recognize big accomplishments but be sure to reward the smaller successes, as well. Don’t overdo it to the point where the feedback loses its credibility. Be selective and sincere.
5. Provide Mentors. Pair up more seasoned employees with younger, less experienced ones. Create a structured orientation program so new employees feel welcomed and informed. Make sure team leaders and managers provide guidance and advice on a regular basis so employees know they are working for a company that values and supports them.
We want to hear from you! How do you encourage development among your employees? How important do you think it is to reward a job well done?