Become workplace champion by investing in growth and learning opportunities for your employees. As you will learn in this article, investing in employee development supports a thriving work culture and skilled and satisfied employees, which strongly drives your company to achieving its mission and goals.

What Does It Mean to Invest in Your Employees? 

Investing in your employees refers to providing the resources and opportunities necessary for employees to learn, grow and excel at their jobs. As more Millennials and GenX join the workforce, the employee demographic is becoming more socially-conscious. More employees are seeking purpose-filled work and opportunities that support their personal and professional growth. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if their employer invested in their career while 74% say that lack of employee development opportunities is hindering them from reaching their full potential.

What Does Employee Development Look Like?

Employee development is a powerful company-building practice in that it can take many different forms such as:

  • Skill-based training programs and workshops
  • Continuing education
  • Mentorships and 1-on-1 meetings
  • Peer-to-peer job shadowing
  • Stretch assignments
  • Team collaboration opportunities

It’s important to remember that the main goal of employee development is to help your employees grow and expand their skill set. You may not have it in the budget to aid your employees in earning a degree, so you have to think carefully and creatively about what resources you do have and how it can be used to support your employees.

What Are the Benefits of Employee Development?

Employee development is as much an investment in your team as it is an investment in the long-term success of your company.

Benefits to Employees

Employee development opportunities allows your employees to:

  • Gain new knowledge and expand their skill set
  • Challenge themselves and reach new potential
  • Develop confidence and a sense of purpose
  • Boost their morale and workplace satisfaction
  • Reduce burnout
  • Strengthen colleague relationships

Benefits to Employers

Employees who feel supported and valued translates into a stronger, happier workforce overall, resulting in several company benefits:

  • Improved productivity and bottom line
  • Stronger team building and communication
  • Satisfied employees and a positive work culture
  • Reduced turnover
  • More purpose-driven job applicants
  • Positive company image
  • Support towards company mission and goals

Employers have a unique opportunity to help their employees excel in the workplace. By providing adequate support and resources, employers can help build a motivated and productive team that ultimately drives the company towards its own mission and goals. In fact, companies that spend $1,500 or more annually on employee development see 24% higher annual profits than organizations that spend less.

When employers support employee ambitions, it creates an atmosphere of collaboration and motivation for all members of the team. It gives workers the confidence to take on new challenges, knowing that they have full support from leadership. This kind of culture increases productivity as employees are driven to excel in everything they do. Additionally, when employers assist with career development opportunities, like offering training or mentoring programs, it provides both personal and professional growth potential for employees. 91% of employees claim they want personalized and relevant training opportunities.

Employee development is one way that employers can demonstrate their appreciation for hard work and dedication from employees.

Strategies for Strong Employee Development

Here are some strategies for building strong employee development that you can implement no matter what budget you have.

Setting the Scene

Creating an effective workplace is a powerful first step towards employee development. It can foster a sense of collaboration and trust, while also helping employees reach their goals. A positive working atmosphere is one that nourishes wellbeing and facilitates growth and learning.

Understanding what motivates and inspires your employees is paramount in creating an environment that encourages them to reach their goals. Employers should provide meaningful feedback, reasonable deadlines, and additional resources whenever possible. This will help create an atmosphere of collaborative problem solving that allows you and your employees to work together towards their shared objectives.

Additionally, employers should strive to create an open dialogue between themselves and their staff members on a regular basis in order to gain insight into how they can best serve each individual’s needs.

Offering Different Types of Support

It’s important to remember that different employees require different forms of support – Ex. tuition reimbursement, in-person versus online training, mentorship and feed-back training, leadership opportunities via stretch assignments. What works for one employee may not work as effectively for another. Diversifying the types of support you offer your employees is critical in making sure their professional aspirations are met.

Schedule a team discussion or one-on-one meetings to seek input from your staff. You can also collect information via an online survey. Ask your team what their professional goals are, what challenges they face on the job and how best they can be supported.

Work with HR to assess the company budget and what resources are available for employee development. Identify new growth opportunities. Online training programs, conferences and other e-events are often the most convenient method for employee development.

Finally, companies can help their workers achieve balance by offering flexible work schedules and other arrangements that allow employees to take care of personal commitments outside of the office.

Establishing a System

Like any corporate initiative, having an official system in place for setting goals and measuring progress is key. To establish a guiding framework for employee development, you’ll need a dedicated group to oversee it such as your HR department or Green Team.

Once you have gathered feedback from employees on their needs and aspirations, consider creating an Employee Development Plan. Many companies use an Employee Development Plan (also known as an Employee Growth Plan) as an official guideline for understanding employees’ professional goals and skill gaps, set short and long-term goals, and gather relevant resources to help.

An Employee Development Plan should include specific measurable goals and timeframes for completion. It should also be personalized for each employee to include the best strategies and resources for helping them achieve their goals.

Promoting Autonomy and Responsibility

Autonomy and responsibility are critical components of employee development. Employees should feel supported each step of the way but also in control of their growth.

Communicating your expectations and granting your employees to take ownership of their roles and tasks within the company allows them to develop both independence and accountability as they progress.

Additionally, employers should provide flexible work schedules and ample opportunities for training and development to encourage employees to continuously improve their skills in order to become more self-sufficient in their work.

Recognizing Successes

When employers show appreciation for accomplishments and hard work, employees feel valued and motivated to continue striving for excellence. For employers, acknowledging successes is a great way to create a supportive environment where employees want to reach their desired goals.

Whether it’s through verbal praise or rewards, recognizing your employees shows them that their hard work pays off and that they are a valued part of the team. This can give them an extra boost towards upcoming goals while also inspiring others around them.

Using the Employee Development Plan, employers can keep track of employee progress over time by setting long-term goals so they can celebrate big wins when they happen.

Conclusion: Investing in Your Employees is an Investment in Your Business

It’s clear that company success is heavily influenced by your employees’ satisfaction and dedication to their work. By supporting employees with resources, education and training, flexible scheduling options, performance-based rewards and other growth opportunities, employers can build a work culture that prioritizes and values its employees. Investing in your employees will not only help them reach their individual goals but it will also strengthen your company as a whole, putting it on the fast track to success.

Find more tips, strategies and resources around employee training and development on our blog!


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