Employee development is a long-term goal for companies that worry about more than just the bottom line. Too many businesses keep their employees exactly where they are for a range of reasons. Some businesses do not want to invest the time, energy, and money to improve their employees’ skills. Others worry that if they train employees, they will simply leave for better jobs after obtaining new and marketable skills. There is no real valid reason to hold your employees back from furthering their development. Especially, if you consider that this may benefit your business as well. Every employer should encourage employee development, but there are some tips and tricks to getting the system up and running correctly. Below are some ideas to get you started:
Personal Mentorship And Understanding
Not every employee is the type that seeks out training on their own. Many employees are content with the skills they currently have if it is necessary to do their tasks properly. The idea to learn more might not even cross an employee’s mind unless there is someone like a manager, mentor, or leader to suggest skills development. This does not mean your employee is unambitious or lazy. It more likely means that there are other things on their minds besides advancing at work. When you suggest and encourage employees to think of areas in which they would like to expand professionally, take note of their response. Not every employee will want to take on what they feel is just more work. Employee development should be a positive experience for everyone involved. What it should not be is another task required by a manager.
Employees should ideally be able to choose what skills they want to develop. It is crucial that there be no punishment or criticism tied to not developing professional one’s skills. For the employees who want to work on their skills, there are various resources. You can help them find programs that use instructional design consulting to craft high-quality course materials, set goals, and utilize the new skills after training. The best way to encourage employees to branch out is to support them rather than tell them what is going to happen. Support and encouragement will make employees more engaged in their own improvement. Check-in with employees every so often and ask simple questions about their work, training, and life in general. You do not need to be best friends with every worker, but you should know the people you work with. Understand if the person is going through something, which not only affects their personal but their professional life as well.
Encourage Cross-Departmental Learning
Too many companies keep employees in silos where they only work within their skill set without collaborating with other teams. While keeping employees focused on their specific work is good, your workers can learn a lot from different disciplines. This way, everyone gets the chance to understand how work passes from one team to the next. It often also helps in understanding the full scope of the business. Your marketing team could learn to read simple datasheets from the UX and data teams. All the while, the UX and data teams could learn about text storytelling or communicating with customers. The lessons employees learn from sharing skills with other teams could make them more efficient at their own jobs. If it sparks interest in picking up some new skills and develop further, all the better. There is something to learn from everyone. The long-term consequences of bringing workers closer together and helping them broaden their horizons will be tangible in the company.
Personal Soft Skills
Not every skill you develop in the work setting is strictly about work. Soft skills, such as conflict resolution, communication, and self-awareness are invaluable in every area of life. As these skills are harder to teach, it may be a good idea to bring in an outside professional. With an independent professional present, there is no fear of uneven focus or pointed lessons from managers towards specific people. Remember that your employees are whole human beings with their own issues. Helping everyone in the office develop soft and interpersonal skills will lead to a more harmonious and understanding workplace.