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5 Strategies to Drive Successful Employee Development

Often, employers can get caught up in the whirlwind of running the business. It’s natural – your role is to simply focus on creating, sustaining and developing the business, right?

However, an important factor that closely intertwines with these goals is of course, your staff, and the need to build an engaging workplace.

Businesses are essentially driven by the people behind them. In order to elicit true success, you need good, strong, motivated team members who are passionate about growing in their roles. This cannot simply be achieved by leaving it up to your staff to find their own pathways to self-enrichment; business leaders need to take the time to invest in employee development.

What is the point of employee development?

Before you go shaking your head, saying that such ideas are far too time-consuming or resource-wasting to actually put into practice, let’s take a look at the benefits you can gauge from a work culture that centres on employee development:

  • Create a dynamic and appealing atmosphere to work in, thereby reducing staff turnover rate
  • Show your team you care about them, which propels them to reciprocate the favour by looking after your business
  • Build better relationships in the company, which leads to smoother operations and ultimately, the generation of a successful business

Bearing these key points in mind, take a moment to read through the following tips. We show you five really simple ways to implement employee development in your workplace so you can align your business on the right track towards true success.

  1. Professional development stems from personal growth – so why not instigate an IDP (Individual Development Plan)?

Many employers are reluctant to invest too much into their staff lest they swiftly jump ship once they’ve collected a valuable set of skills. However, this kind of fear is not conducive to anyone – neither your employees or you as a business leader. When you aren’t providing the necessary gateways for personal development in the workplace, your talented team members will often feel inclined to actually jump ship purely in the search for better opportunities.

How do you avoid this from happening? Well, a good tool that many business leaders have already implemented is IDPs – Individual Development Plans. This is a structured way to enable your employees to set both short-term and long-term goals to strive towards. After all, when you have a tangible target in place, you can better plan your journey to get there. (e.g. ‘what am I doing now and what can I change?’ ‘where do I want to go and what do I need to do to get there?’).

To keep IDPs on track, managers and team leaders alike should organise monthly check-ups in order to monitor how it is progressing. This is where you can discuss any issues, make suggestions, and also evaluate if the IDP is proving to be a successful method from an employer’s perspective.

The basic skeleton of an IDP involves responding to the following set of questions:

  • What career goals do you wish to achieve in X amount of time?
  • How will both you and the business profit from achieving these goals?
  • What particular skills, abilities and knowledge will you need to learn along the way?
  • What kind of resources are required to achieve these goals?
  1. Make regular team-building sessions a central part of business

When employees can form true bonds with one another, the workplace naturally becomes a much warmer environment to work within. This leads to happy employees who are much more motivated to come into work each day.  Simultaneously, it instills a healthy sense of teamwork and collaboration in the way the business operates. Overall, it’s a win-win.

Rather than choosing a done-and-dusted method for hosting team-building, get creative and find activities that actually interest your employees. Get your staff to individually jot down a few ideas of what they would like to do as a group, then take a vote for the top three to five activities and plan a schedule to fit them in that suits everyone.

Additionally, taking the odd day away from the office is a great way to hit pause and reset. Find opportunities to take staff excursions, such as trade shows or industry events. Even if it’s just one or two days a year, a staff excursion can ultimately provide a cavalcade of benefits – you get to engage in team-bonding, refresh and rejuvenate your employees, and enable your staff to learn valuable skills that can greatly influence their work back in the office.

  1. Provide incentives for extra work as a way for employees to take ownership

Offering bonuses or commissions is still an ideal way to drive motivation in your employees. Giving them an incentive outside of the standard pay cap instils that feeling of ownership over a task, leaving the team member feeling like their work is meaningful; that they have produced a fruitful project; and that they are a valued and responsible member of the team.

This not only contributes to employee development; it also instantly encourages tasks to be completed faster and to a higher standard. Hence, it creates great business for your company.

  1. Implement programs that offer benefits tailored specifically to employees

Different workplace perks appeal to different people, and it’s important to acknowledge that a blanket approach is not necessarily the way to go when offering work incentives. Tailor different programs towards different employees in order to show that you truly care about their personal development.

For instance, a subsidy for childcare could be a great incentive for employees who have young children. Similarly, free or discounted meals might be a huge benefit for staff who have to work around the clock. Do your research and find out just what your employees place value in – they will appreciate it in the long run.

  1. Recognise and reward your employees’ hard work

We all crave praise, and when we receive it, it nudges us to continue along that pathway in order to elicit more praise. When it comes to the workplace, praising your employees leads to a sense of personal pride in their work, thereby egging them on to continue producing work of that standard or better yet, even higher.

Don’t simply pass on the odd compliment here and there; make employee recognition a thing in your workplace. Perhaps you could host a shout-out every Friday afternoon to acknowledge each team member who has excelled that week, or award that shining handful of star-performers on a monthly basis. These methods are simple yet effective, generating a sense of healthy competition in the office while motivating your staff to continually strive for self-improvement.

Employee development is a mutually-beneficial factor in the workplace that all business leaders should pay attention to. It’s not a matter of splurging on lavish luxuries or creating a soft and cushy workplace culture, but rather the idea of implementing a few simple strategies that encourage happier and better-performing staff. To ensure the best results possible, it’s important to find out what will work best for your business and your team members.




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