Whether you manage a small team or several departments in a large-scale business, employees’ professional development is important to consider. According to CNBC, 94% of employees say that they would stay with a company longer if it helped them learn and develop new professional competencies. Another study indicated that 57% of learning and development (L&D) professionals focus on online learning channels for their employees.
Given the current social distancing norms and a general shift toward remote work, enabling your employees to develop new skills is essential. Your employees might have a hard time staying motivated and productive in a remote environment, which is where professional development comes in handy.
However, it can be difficult to pinpoint each employee’s exact needs, as well as how their development can benefit your company going forward. Let’s discuss why you should aim to improve employee development and several practical ways to do so for mutual benefit.
Before we discuss the concrete ways to improve employee development in your company, let’s talk about the “why” behind such an initiative. According to Forbes, highly engaged teams show a 21% greater profitability, 41% reduction in absenteeism, and 59% less turnover. Your employees are effectively the lifeline of your company, and their continual professional development is critical. No individual wants to stagnate and stay out of touch with current industry trends, emerging technologies, and tools available to their colleagues in other companies.
Michelle Vickers, Human Resources Specialist at Best Essays Education and Content Writer at Supreme Dissertations, said, “It’s essential to treat your employees as humans with wants and needs. Each individual person on your team has character traits, ambitions, and professional goals – they are not just drones that follow the manager’s orders. Discover where their professional passions and career paths lie, try to meet them halfway, and your company will flourish as a result.”
Let’s break down the essential benefits of improving employee development in your company:
Every employee on your staff is an individual. As such, their professional development goals will vary drastically on a case-by-case basis. Personalized coaching conducted by their managers and your HR department can do wonders in determining each employee’s needs. It’s a good practice to set up a remote interview system to speak to your team members in the comfort of their home environment.
Make sure that you create a set of standardized questions and ask each person about their career so far, as well as future plans. Three graphic designers, for example, working on the same team will undoubtedly have very different ideas of what professional development means for their persona. Get to know your employees beyond their serial numbers and nametags – that much will already work in your favor.
Based on your findings in the coaching process, you can opt for several online resources for professional development. Due to COVID-19 and the increased tendency to work remotely, employees will be happy to engage with long-distance learning channels rather than mandatory physical meetings.
Specialized platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and Lynda, offer a wide variety of courses, training programs, and life-long-learning (LLL) opportunities. You can use one or more platform for your employees’ benefit and pair each person with the course you see fit for their professional purposes. Engaging with B2B instructors and professionals for remote lessons, problem-solving, and case studies is also a good idea if you have access to them.
Professional development extends beyond hard skills for many employees, especially in sales and marketing-oriented sectors. Soft skills that focus on teamwork, communication, business writing, and other forms of collaboration are crucial in the modern corporate environment.
Thus, make sure that you facilitate the development of both types of skills, even if your employees are predominantly IT experts or visual creators. Leaning too far into one or the other end of the spectrum will leave your employees underdeveloped for more complex projects or B2B collaboration. Once the development is underway, you should monitor your employees’ interests and listen for criticism on how you can improve.
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While individualization is an important part of professional development, your employees are bound to work together on large projects sooner or later. You can help prepare them by facilitating remote exercises, mock projects, case studies, and other forms of training with random teams.
Remote management platforms such as Trello and Asana can organize employees into groups and assign team leaders and HR to monitor them. These exercises can significantly impact your employees’ professional relations and improve their communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills across the board.
Lastly, whether you opt for per-employee or team-based training, you should evaluate each person on your staff individually for their progress and satisfaction. Different people will give you various responses based on their character traits and aspirations, so conducting interviews and soliciting feedback is critical for employee development improvement.
Life-long-learning is exactly what it sounds like. Once you set up employee development channels, you can implement them indefinitely in order to keep your staff engaged and up-to-date at all times. You can track employees through individualized SMART KPIs, which will allow for numeric progress tracking. Rest assured that you can always change, build on, or reevaluate your training programs – nothing is set in stone.
Seeing that your competition is bound to do their best to outdo you at every turn, working to improve your employees’ development is a must. The benefits of improving your employee development processes far outweigh the initial work needed to audit your company and put plans into motion.
Higher retention, better productivity, and improved company culture are only some of the upsides to facilitating professional employee development. Discuss the wants and needs of your staff before you take practical steps to ensure their professional satisfaction.
About the Guest Author: Kristin Savage is a professional Editor, Business Development Advisor, and Human Resource Specialist at Trust My Paper and Classy Essay writing services. Kristin’s career extends from writing and publishing to research and application of trends within HR and BI industries, respectively.