Ways to Encourage Employee Development
In the business world, fewer things are more important than professional development. This is an irrefutable fact, and every successful business owner and supervisor knows that an investment in an employee is an investment in the business itself.
As important as workplace development is, many business owners and managers simply don’t know how to get their employees interested in developing their current skills and obtaining new ones. If you’ve been struggling to encourage development in the workplace, here are some practical and relatively easy ways to achieve your goal.
Show Your Appreciation
Do you sincerely value your employees? Most business owners and managers would answer “yes,” but in reality, if you don’t express your appreciation outwardly, your employees may be picking up a different message. Feeling appreciated and needed is a basic human need, and most workers, regardless of where they are in their careers, want their employers to acknowledge their contributions and growth. In addition to this, countless studies show employees who are regularly acknowledged for their contributions are more likely to develop their skills and remain with the same company for a longer time.
You don’t have to bring in a cake and sing a song every time one of your employees shows up for work, but it can help to express your appreciation outwardly sometimes. This can be as simple as publicly recognizing an employee who goes above and beyond what is expected of them on a regular basis or establishing a formal employee recognition program. Just make sure your employees know your business wouldn’t be the same without them.
Offer Career Advancement Opportunities
Be honest – would you want to waste your time working a dead-end job that offers no advancement opportunities? Unfortunately, there are many employers who do not encourage or even offer opportunities for growth in a company. This is often to their own detriment, and when an employee can’t see him or herself moving up the ranks, he or she will naturally feel there is no incentive to develop their skills and talents. If you suspect your employees feel trapped in their current positions, you may be able to boost morale by:
- Assigning deserving employees additional tasks
- Discussing advancement opportunities openly
- Hiring from within instead of bringing in outsiders
- Rewarding employees who further their education or obtain additional certifications
The simple acts listed above can show your company is committed to employee growth and development.
Encourage Mentorship and Collaboration
When it comes to employee development, older and more experienced workers often have a significant amount of knowledge and expertise they can share with younger, less experienced workers. This knowledge base is a huge resource and by encouraging your more experienced employees to collaborate with and provide guidance to less experienced employees, you can promote development within your company. Your older and more experienced workers may be aware of their knowledge, but you should create an environment in which it is acceptable for employees to assist each other.
Offer Tuition Reimbursement
Many employees have the drive and capability to develop their professional skills, but they simply do not have the financial resources. Education is expensive, and many companies offer tuition reimbursement to employees who pursue degrees or take courses in relevant disciplines. Offering tuition reimbursement can help employees who normally wouldn’t have the money or time to acquire new skills or information. It can also be a selling point when you are attempting to hire new workers.
Train Employees to Work in Multiple Departments
As mentioned above, no employee wants to feel like they are trapped in a dead-end job. By allowing your workers to train in different departments, you can encourage them to pick up new skills and become more proficient. In the old days, an employee was simply hired to work in a single role, and the prospect of cross-training was seen as irrational and a waste of time.
More recently, however, business owners and managers have seen the benefits of cross-training in action. Training your employees to perform different types of tasks can also be greatly beneficial if an employee quits or needs to take time off (there will be no need to panic if the only person with a certain skill set is not available).
Encourage Employees to Join Professional Organizations and Clubs
Professional organizations often offer a variety of career development and educational opportunities to their members. If you are truly dedicated to development in the workplace, you should encourage your workers to join professional organizations and clubs. These clubs and organizations can also provide your employees with networking opportunities and a chance to engage with others who understand them.
Send a Loud and Clear Message
Encouraging professional development in the workplace doesn’t have to be a major pain. As a matter of fact, by implementing the tips listed above, you can show your workers you want them to succeed and better themselves. This is an important message that all employees want to receive, and when you encourage development within the company, you are sending that message loud and clear.