Benefits of employee development
Creating a dynamic, flourishing workplace — even in the chaos of a global health crisis — demands creative thinking and fresh ideas about business. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting shutdown, forced companies to revamp their workplace and workflow dynamics, adapt to new schedules, and rethink their approaches to employee training and development.
Employee training is designed to increase productivity by teaching job-specific skills, but employee development is more focused on improving your employees’ transferable skills, such as communication, leadership, problem-solving, and decision-making – areas of expertise with value for employers and employees.
Development programs prove their worth when employees advance into positions requiring more responsibility — and take on their new roles with confidence and skill. Organizations that invest in development are twice as likely to retain employees.
In short, effective employee development programs mean lower turnover, higher productivity, increased revenue, improved recruitment and retention, a healthier company culture, and a more positive business reputation. Employees also benefit from increased confidence and motivation, higher morale and job satisfaction, improved focus and engagement, and a more positive work environment.
Prioritizing employee development
Given the current volatility of the job market, employee development opportunities should address the current and future needs of your employees. Prioritizing development is key to successful recruiting and retention. Your company’s leadership can implement several strategies to attract — and retain — top talent.
- Build a learning culture with ongoing support and coaching. Actively support learning among all employees, regardless of their present position, and encourage leaders to model learning behavior by engaging in development opportunities. Train team leaders and managers to give meaningful feedback in conversations and coaching sessions with workers. Arrange frequent check-ins, especially for struggling employees.
- Focus on critical and behavioral skills. Define the skillset necessary for advancement, and incorporate development programs which focus on those skills. Critical thinking, communication, accountability, creative problem-solving, and leadership skills are important to individual and company success.
- Promote opportunities across all departments. Encourage networking and cross-training to bring your employees new perspectives and fortify your company for times of external disruption.
- Make learning accessible. Give your employees options for development. Schedule more than one opportunity for each program, offer virtual learning, and use a variety of delivery formats to ensure your development initiatives are accessible to every employee.
Hallmarks of a successful employee development program
How can your company establish and maintain a successful development program? Thriving programs have several factors in common, including:
- Effective leaders to plan and implement development initiatives. Company and team leaders are responsible for assessing learning needs with research, survey tools, and individual employee feedback. They can then build and deliver useful development programs to engage and benefit employees.
- Training initiatives aligned with business goals. Work backwards from your business goals to determine the skills your employees need most to help you reach them. Analyze and review employee progress regularly. Incorporate improvements based on results and employee feedback.
- Engagement and frequent encouragement. Team leaders set appropriate expectations, build programs designed to engage employee attention and effort, and use frequent praise and encouragement to build employee confidence.
- Modern, relevant, and appropriate content. Program content should relate to employee experience. Use creative presentation and reinforce training on a regular basis.
- Frequent and consistent development opportunities. Keep goals and success factors in focus, offer frequent opportunities for development, and make sure all activities are engaging, beneficial to employees, and relevant to business objectives.
With the obstacles business and industry continue to face in 2021, employee development programs remain essential to your company’s game plan. Find one our branches today for help with your employee recruiting, retention, and development strategies.