When it comes to continuing education, many managers may be hesitant to invest in their employees' professional development outside their regular work activities.
However, employee development is not just about getting better in essential job skills while doing your job. It is also about learning new things, increasing employee morale, strengthening team connections, and building a more substantial business.
And since talent is not always easy to find, rather than waiting for the perfect employees to come, you should encourage professional development to help your current employees build the skill sets your company needs.
- Promote continuous learning
- Create opportunities to meet and share expertise
- Introduce one-on-one meetings
- Develop company educational programs
- Be a role model and recognize education accomplishments
As a leader, the first thing you need to do is support your employees in seeking out different opportunities for professional growth: conferences, classes, training, or webinars on topics that can fit your business.
Encourage employees to suggest subjects for learning and development that they believe would be beneficial. They will be far more inclined to participate in development opportunities if they have some say in what is offered. Moreover, make sure you plan and budget for these events.
Importantly, create employee development plans for everyone in your team. That is a sure way to encourage employees to expand their horizons and improve, diversify and increase their skill sets and overall team value in the process.
Sharing skills and experience drives up the value of employee knowledge.
However, not every training should be only about learning. That said, organizing a gathering in a less formal setting will foster more engagement and team bonding.
With this in mind, every leader should organize lunch and learn or development sessions. This fun combination of a learning and social event should be short, 30-60 minutes, and take place over your team's lunch break.
Lunch and learn events are an excellent opportunity for coworkers to meet, get to know each other better, and share their skills and expertise. The topics can vary from one-off sessions focusing on, for example, introducing a new company strategy to discussing an issue like sustainability in the workplace that can take place over several weeks.
Constructive feedback is vital to your employees' ongoing development and engagement in your organization. It defines expectations, assists people in learning from their mistakes, and builds confidence. So, to help foster two-way communication and positive feedback culture, hold regular one-on-one meetings or discussions with your team members.
These discussions will allow you and employees to exchange information, reflect on how things are going, and identify and discuss training needs. As a result, you will understand your team's needs and whether the ones previously identified have been met. Moreover, you will better understand what development opportunities might be the most beneficial for your team and company.
A lack of a solid corporate education system can lead to company stagnation and employee retention issues. The best way to combat these problems quickly and efficiently is to provide educational programs for employees within your company.
For example, you can design train-the-trainer courses that will take place a few times a year. These types of events can provide employees with a convenient solution to develop the skills they need to succeed.
Additionally, consider implementing a peer mentoring program. It is a great way to give your newbies a smooth introduction to your company's work and culture, build employee loyalty, and foster a culture of belonging. A mentoring program can also help develop leadership skills for both junior and senior employees.
If you are engaging in professional development yourself, your employees will be more likely to do so as well. So the best way to encourage professional development for your employees is to be a role model for your team and actively participate in learning opportunities.
By modeling this behavior, you will positively impact the perception of your organization as a learning system in which professional development is highly valued and appreciated at all levels.
In addition, as employees complete training, be sure to recognize their achievements by awarding certificates of attendance or completion. When they reach development milestones that are meaningful both for them and your company, consider hosting an awards banquet or a big party.
There are many ways to inspire professional development. However, suppose you want to improve performance and results while boosting employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. In that case, there is no better way than to encourage and provide employee participation in professional development. The above ideas are a great way to start and take your employee development to the next level.