This month we’re focussing on employee development and training, as well as recognizing employees for reaching their developmental goals. This topic dovetails nicely with last month’s theme of employee engagement as the two go hand in hand. Employee development is all about gaining engaged employees from the very start. By creating a culture in which everyone is encouraged to learn and grow, the return on your investment will be astounding.
There are so many ways to create learning opportunities through your company. The first and most obvious is cross-training. By training in a variety of jobs or departments, the employee has a better understanding of how things work on a larger scale, and your team has more flexibility when delegating tasks.
Second, is by providing professional learning sessions. Have a coach come in to host a workshop on public speaking or pitching projects. Take the time to assess what specific skills your company could benefit from and what your employees would be interested in learning. Not only will they benefit individually, but so will the company as a whole.
Thirdly, promote learning outside of office hours by providing resources for online classes and certification programs. Tuition reimbursement is also becoming a desired perk due to the high costs of college courses. Companies who are able to provide tuition reimbursement see a return on their investment because the employee feels invested in.
As the word “development” suggests, there is an ongoing process; a movement from one state to another. Prevent employees from feeling stuck by creating a structure of upward mobility. Allow them to climb the ladder and see that their hard work is indeed paying off. Then recognize these achievements with proper emotion and ceremony. Devoted employees are each their own success story and should be rewarded.
Check in with employees regularly and let them know that you’re paying attention and care about them. Giving constructive criticism can be tough at first, but it’s better to do it sooner than later when it develops into a larger problem. Employees expect a level of feedback and guidance so don’t be afraid to kindly suggest improvements. Ask about their pain points and what skills they’d like to learn.
No matter what your industry is, there is always a relevant organization or association to join. Provide employees with the resources on these associations and information on how to join. Consider waiving membership fees as well. This is a great way to get people networking, learning, and staying active in their industry. Create opportunities for employees to participate at conferences or trade shows too! It can be a fun change of pace, and most importantly, establishes trust in them as the face of the company.
By Aubrey Dion
Aubrey Dion is proud to be back working for the family business she grew up in. Over the years, she has performed a wide variety of jobs in both the office and factory, becoming a true "jack of all trades." Aubrey credits her quick learning ability to her strong theatre background, where memorization and attention to detail are vital. Working in the marketing department allows her to stay creative and work on exciting new projects for the company.