It’s not easy being a manager in November 2020. Our teams are worn down from dealing with crisis fatigue, workplace stress, and seasonal affective disorder simultaneously. To provide some inspiration and motivation, renew your dedication to employee development.
Employee development forces team members to focus on the future. It shows that you value them and their contribution to your organization. In fact, according to a LinkedIn report, 74% of employees crave more learning and 75% of employees would work on development when assigned by their manager.
How to make development successful
You don’t have to set up a big, fancy program to make employee development valuable. It’s most important to remember these four things:
1. Make development part of your culture:
Employees often feel like they should prioritize immediate work tasks over development. So, make development a priority and part of your team culture. Explain why development is important to them and the team. Whether you require a specific number of development hours or establish another measure of success, make sure employees feel empowered (and excited) to take action with their development. If you aren’t talking about it—employees won’t know how important you think it is.
2. Have meaningful conversations with each employee.
Discuss their career goals and interests. Talk about your vision for the organization and how they can help. Ask questions and listen to what is on their mind and find out what they are passionate about and where they feel most energized. Work together to determine what skills and experiences they need to accomplish their goals and add value to the organization. Finally, define what success is, check in with them regularly, and provide constructive feedback along the way. Keep it fresh by making adjustments as needed.
3. Let employees own the process.
Ultimately, employees own their career journeys. Additionally, each employee has distinct goals and learning styles. So, let each employee design a development plan that fits the way they learn best and aligns with their interests. Some people learn best by listening to a podcast or doing an online course. Others do better by “shadowing” other employees, finding a mentor, or by being part of an “experience.” One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that there are so many high-quality learning resources available (many at discounted rates)—encourage employees to take advantage of them.
4. Celebrate progress and achievements.
When employees hit their development goals or acquire new, valuable skills, make sure to acknowledge the work. From offering formal incentives/rewards to simply sharing your appreciation, positive feedback will keep employees inspired to find new ways to learn and grow.
Setting up an employee initiative of any kind takes some time and effort. But it’s worth it. Development gives employees a break from day-to-day stress to focus on something that’s interesting, meaningful, and hopeful.
At Salo, we match senior HR (and finance and accounting) consultants with organizations that need their expertise. We have HR experts with significant experience in designing and implementing employee development programs of all shapes and sizes. Let us know if your organization needs help in this area!