10 Employee Development Strategies Every Manager Needs to Know
— April 21st, 2022
Employee development is the process in which employees, with the help of their employer, undergo professional training and learning to grow their knowledge and further develop their skills and careers.
When done right, employee development, also referred to as professional development or staff development, requires time, effort, and financing from the company. However, these investments will pay off significantly in the long run.
Certain types of employee development take place on-site, with a manager or experienced team member leading the training and learning activities. Other times, employees will attend training facilities away from the office. Online training methods have also become an extremely popular option.
There is no doubt employee development is important. Research from Rallyware found that 94% of employees would stay with a firm for longer if it invested in their learning and development.
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Benefits of employee development:
- Improves employee performance - Investing in employee training and development means workers are fully equipped with the valuable skills they need to carry out their jobs effectively and productively.
- Attracts great employees - One survey found that 59% of millennials agree opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.
- Increases employee engagement - Regular development initiatives help keep employees motivated and engaged, along with preventing workplace idleness.
- Trains future leaders - Training high potential staff members for a future leading position is a wise investment for businesses to make.
- Boosts employee job satisfaction - All humans crave progress and growth. This is why employee training and development is essential to keep workers satisfied and content within their roles.
- Builds workplace relationships - Providing opportunities for employees to explore new topics helps them bond with their team members as they tackle new challenges together.
Top 10 learning and development methods
Soft skills development
Soft skills are core skills that are applicable to all professions. They include critical thinking, problem solving, public speaking, listening, teamwork and digital literacy. Soft skills are among the top skills employers seek in the candidates they hire.
Managers must understand that their workers need more than technical skills to truly prosper in their careers. If they wish for their workers to be valuable members of the company, then they must help them develop their soft skills. This can be easily achieved through personalized training that aids employees in unlocking the true potential of their abilities.
According to a study, one in five employees are unhappy with the frequency of feedback they receive from their direct manager. Constructive feedback is a critical element when it comes to employees’ growth and development.
By offering their employees feedback, managers help them learn from their mistakes and build confidence. Positive feedback is also beneficial to employees. Managers should take the time to congratulate their workers on a job well done.
Training is one of the more well-known employee development methods, but this does not mean it should be overlooked by managers. Through a combination of assignments, team projects, exams, lectures and hands-on-exercises, job training can effectively help employees develop both their soft and hard skills.
Coaching helps workers refine their skillset. This method of skills development typically involves senior team members working one-on-one with less experienced staff. It is a very hands-on approach that can fast track an employee’s development of technical and analytical skills.
Mentoring is another of the useful learning and development methods managers should be aware of. In the workplace, mentoring usually entails a senior and more experienced employee offering advice and support to a younger or newly hired worker.
Effective mentoring programs do the following:
- Match mentors and mentees based on skills and development needs.
- Outline and track goals.
- Monitor the mentoring relationship.
- Hold both parties accountable.
Job rotation is a technique in which employers rotate their employees' assigned jobs throughout their employment. The process is a fantastic way to orient new employees, train existing employees and enhance career development.
Managers can ask their employees to contribute to different departments on a temporary basis. By doing so, the employee will build new skills and capabilities that enable them to contribute more effectively to the goals of their organization.
Stretch assignments are an additional employee development activities example. These assignments refer to a project or task that is currently beyond the participant’s level of knowledge or skill.
It has the intention of literally “stretching” an employee’s capabilities. Stretch assignments can be anything from leading a team meeting to implementing new technology in the workplace.
Online training allows organizations and managers to teach their staff skills and knowledge over the internet via a computer, smartphone, or tablet. The main benefit of online training is that each employee is given the freedom to learn at their own pace at a time that suits them best.
Lunch and learning programs are voluntary meetings, training sessions, or presentations that take place during employee lunch breaks with food provided by the company. The informal setting is a suitable place for leaders to bring in an expert speaker or knowledgeable staff member to chat with the team.
The expert can present to the group who will then have the opportunity to engage directly with the speaker and create a discussion around the topic.
There is no better way to fast-track employee development than with a promotion. When a manager feels like an experienced and capable employee is ready to take the next step in their career, then offering a promotion is the way to go.
It is important to make sure that the newly promoted worker is set up with coaching and mentoring sessions, so they feel supported and prepared for the move.
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Well-thought-out employee development strategies provide employees with valuable opportunities and clear direction when it comes to increasing their skillset and advancing in their careers. When employers invest in their employees’ learning and development, it is a solution where everyone benefits.
Employees hone their skills which adds more value to their company. An organization with a team of highly developed workers will have improved business outcomes and a leading competitive advantage over other companies.