TMCnet Feature
March 02, 2021

5 Ways to Improve Employee Development in Your Company

Simple Strategies for Enhancing Your Team’s Development

If you want to build a successful team, you must prioritize individual development with the expectation that the sum of these “parts” will generate a healthy and substantial return on investment. The question is, where do you begin?

Importance of Employee Development

Employee development, also known as professional development, is best described as the process of nurturing, training, and improving an employee’s skills. But that’s just the start – it goes much deeper than this.

“Employee development does not refer solely to optimizing an individual’s skill set for a particular role. Rather, it refers to continued learning that nurtures professionals and helps them progress on their individual career path,” entrepreneur Kate Heinz writes. “While it’s ultimately the individual’s responsibility to own their professional development, it’s to the employer’s benefit to encourage continuing education by providing or facilitating both internal and external learning opportunities.”

Benefits of high-quality employee development include:

  • Increased performance. It’s not enough to hire an employee, plug them into a position, and let them be. This hands-off approach gives way to a stagnant culture, job burnout, and a host of other issues. By investing in employee development, you encourage maturation and skill development. This naturally produces increased performance.
  • Higher job satisfaction. Employers might not love employee development in the moment, but it ultimately enhances their job satisfaction by making them feel prioritized and cared for.
  • Improved company culture. It’s important to remember that employee development is not just about making them better at their job – it’s about making them more skilled professionals and people. This naturally enhances the company culture.
  • Better employee retention. Increased performance, higher job satisfaction, and improved company culture produce a net positive gain for employee retention. This saves the company money and creates greater continuity.

Every employee is different, but with the right employee development program, you can maximize each individual’s value on your team and promote greater productivity and profitability across the board. Now’s the time to improve your program to extract maximum value from your human resource investments.

5 Tips for Better Employee Development

Take your employee development efforts to the next level by implementing some of the following tips and techniques:

1. Make Training Cultural

Take a peek inside most organizations, and you’ll find that employee training is a disaster. The content is terrible, the employees hate it, and it’s a colossal waste of time. One of the reasons is that it’s not a priority.

If you want your training to be effective, it has to be something that’s embedded into your company culture. This means implementing it from the very start and setting the expectation of skill development from before an employee signs the paperwork and clocks in on their first day.

2. Choose the Right Learning Formats

With so many different ways to train employees, you must give careful forethought to the types of learning formats you offer.

The days of lectures and slideshow presentations are gone. To generate real results, you need engaging formats that draw employees in and force them to flex their creative muscles. It’s also helpful if the content is tailored to their strengths and weaknesses.

Wiley CMA is a great example of an educational platform that has it figured out. This course, which is used by accountants to prepare for their CMA certification, has features like predictive scoring and FocusMe Technology™. This technology works by assessing aptitude as the student goes through the course and tailoring the content to address each student’s needs in real-time (rather than having a rigid content structure and format that’s the same for all students, regardless of skill level or experience).

More learning platforms are adopting features such as these. Consider this as you search for solutions and programs to meet your team’s needs.

3. Make Managers Coaches

Employee development happens in both formal and informal settings. While training courses and curriculum is great, there’s also something to be said for real-time, on-the-job development. And one of the best ways to do this is by training your managers and department heads to double as “coaches.”

“Part of becoming an effective coach is learning about your direct report; their unique strengths, what drains them, and what motivates them so you can help guide them on their path to success, CEO Dave Hassell writes. “One way to accomplish this is by asking the right questions at the right cadence.”

Hassell recommends asking some variation of the following questions during weekly check-ins:

  • What do you think is going well in your role? Do you have any wins this week?
  • What challenges are you racing?
  • How are you feeling? What sort of morale do you sense around you?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how fulfilled are you right now? (Why?)
  • How can I become a better leader to you and those around you?

These questions will force managers and employees to embrace tension. However, they ultimately produce growth and development in all parties involved.

4. Emphasize Soft Skills

It’s easy to get so caught up in hard skill development that you forget about soft skills. However, if you’re truly committed to the maturation process of each and every employee, soft skills must become a priority. This includes things like empathy, listening, communication, conflict resolution, and building rapport.

5. Conduct an Annual 360-Degree Performance Review

In addition to conducting weekly check-ins with employees, it’s also smart to conduct an annual review. But rather than using the cookie-cutter review process that most companies implement, try using a 360-degree performance review.

A 360-degree performance review gathers feedback from a variety of sources – not just the boss or direct superior. It includes feedback from a cross-section of individuals, including supervisors, subordinates, vendors, and even certain customers. This creates a well-rounded understanding of each employee’s performance, which eliminates possible gaps.

Adding it All Up

It’s time to stop looking at employee development as an afterthought and finally make it a priority. When emphasized as an integral element of growing a business, employee development can have a significantly positive impact on your team’s performance, as well as their commitment to the organization. You don’t have to get it right the first time. Progress is more important than perfection. Implement and iterate!

» More TMCnet Feature Articles


» More TMCnet Feature Articles