Employee development is an ongoing process which helps employees to enhance their skills and knowledge to contribute more effectively towards the organization. Remember you are not paid for simply coming to office and leaving on time. You really need to perform exceptionally well to stand apart from the rest. It is essential for employees to upgrade their knowledge with time to survive the changing environment and fierce competition at the workplace.
Employee development process begins from Day one when an individual joins an organization. You really do not have to wait for annual appraisals to implement the employee development plan. Induction and orienting new employees are also effective ways of employee development.
Managers ought to give regular feedbacks to employees. Performance appraisals or promotions should not come as a surprise to employees. Be very transparent with your employees. Give them a clear picture of their current performance and growth chart in the organization.
Employee Development Planning Process
(i) Professional Growth
Such employee development plans are created to help individuals in their career growth. In such a plan, a team manager sits with his team members and designs growth plans with specific deadlines as to when the development goals can be accomplished. It is essential to give deadlines to employees for them to take trainings and employee development activities seriously. Employees are encouraged to attend training sessions, seminars, conferences to acquire new skills and knowledge.
Managers design a performance improvement plan also called as PIP and create an action plan to help employees improve their performance. Employees are trained not only for their professional development but also for their personal growth. Initiatives are taken to improve behavioral skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills which would help them in the long run.
(iii) Proper training
Training presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of all employees, but many employers find the development opportunities expensive. Employees also miss out on work time while attending training sessions, which may delay the completion of projects. Despite the potential drawbacks, training and development provides both the company as a whole and the individual employees with benefits that make the cost and time a worthwhile investment.
An employee who receives the necessary training is better able to perform her job. She becomes more aware of safety practices and proper procedures for basic tasks. The training may also build the employee’s confidence because she has a stronger understanding of the industry and the responsibilities of her job. This confidence may push her to perform even better and think of new ideas that help her excel. Continuous training also keeps your employees on the cutting edge of industry developments. Employees who are competent and on top of changing industry standards help your company hold a position as a leader and strong competitor within the industry.
(iv) Moniter progress
Proper monitoring involves always reiterating to employees what must be done to achieve specific goals. Employee monitoring helps you to stay abreast of employees’ progress; it can also assist you in finding solutions to problems that are affecting the organization’s growth.
Employees can monitor whether they are meeting goals and deadlines laid out in a project plan, make notations within checklists, and report to the manager at regular intervals. Activity logs are diaries that employees can keep, noting contemporaneously exactly what they do all day, including breaks and interruptions. Each time the employee moves on to a new activity, he is asked to note the time and the new activity he is turning to.
Companies Strategies used for developing employees
Finding great talent is hard, but what’s even more challenging is keeping the talent you have engaged so they will stay. Unless you continually reinvest in developing your employees with successful on-boarding and ongoing training—helping them reach their full potential—they may leave and you will find yourself back at square one trying to procure more talent. This process can be a time-consuming, stress-inducing cycle. Despite this knowledge, it doesn’t seem that organizations are making a lot of progress in this area.
Research also suggests that having effective managers can improve employee engagement. Organizations rely on talented and inspiring managers that have the ability to keep employees engaged and that help staff achieve strategic imperatives. But not everyone who is promoted to manager has these skills. Gallup research also revealed that only one in 10 people have an existing talent to manage. Others may possess a few manager-level qualities, such as making decisions, building relationships, creating clear accountability, being assertive, and motivating others. But, the qualities that are missing can make a huge difference in employee engagement.
Here are eight ways to develop employees, keep them engaged, and increase the probability they will remain with the organization:
Create Individual Development Plans: The first step in developing employees is to create a development plan. It is important to sit down with the employee and discuss individual interests and career goals. This conversation will help identify the development activities that individual should be undertaking. After all, not everyone shares the same goals or has the same perspective about what they want to achieve in their career. Still others may be unsure about what they want to do. The development plan should provide a roadmap for the employee that includes measurable goals and a realistic time frame for achieving each goal. Taking time to discuss and add detail to the employee development plan or blueprint will increase the likelihood for a return-on-investment for all involved.
Provide Performance Metrics: It is essential to set specific quantitative metrics to help an employee understand where they need to be or what they can realistically achieve. Then, as these performance metrics are met, the bar can be raised so the employee feels a continued sense of accomplishment. Before running a marathon, a runner first sets shorter goals and then works their way up, running further and further and building the muscles and power needed to eventually get them to that marathon goal. A manager work with the employee to decide where he or she is now in relation to achieving key performance objectives that will eventually lead them to where they want to be and need to be. Measuring progress also provides evidence of how these activities are working. Furthermore, performance metrics help drive accountability when paired with effective leadership as taught here.
Provide Opportunities Outside of Job Function: Today’s organizations have become so compartmentalized that employees believe they can only operate within their department or function. However, to truly develop an employee for a larger role in the company, they need to understand how all aspects of the organization work. Create opportunities for an employee to take on new responsibilities outside their job function. This cross-training will increase their awareness and knowledge of the organization and help them work more effectively with others because they have a new understanding of what other employees do for the company. The additional responsibility will put them in new situations, add challenges, expand skill sets, and encourage them to think on their feet, which will also improve their chances for success in any future roles they take on. This type of development also creates energy and excitement in the workplace.
Give Constructive Feedback: Feedback does not mean criticizing, chiding, or disapproving. Instead, it should be constructive in nature and include specific recommendations for further improvement and development. Feedback should also be delivered regularly and tied to data or examples such as the performance metrics or the individual development plan. Only using feedback for employee reviews can result in missed opportunities to guide an employee through the professional development process. Employees want to know how they are doing. If feedback is used as a tool for growth and recognition, and not a tool to knock the employee down, it will make a measurable difference.
Remove Barriers: Many organizations are rigid in their organizational structure and processes, which can make it challenging to implement some cross-functional development and facilitate dynamic growth and high-performance training. It’s up to leadership to bridge silos, knock down walls, and design a system that encourages a fluid approach to learning and working. Today’s generation of workers are used to change and enjoy open work environments that let them explore. Take the barriers away and watch people flourish.
Link to a Professional Network: Help employees access additional contacts that can help them grow. Introduce them to other professionals that can serve as mentors or coaches, sign them up for professional industry associations, send them to training courses and workshops, and create and attend networking events. Getting them connected to a network offers a way to get additional support, advice, and information on how to grow professionally and personally. It also gives the organization another ambassador for the business.
Outlay Resources: From day one, an employee is an investment that the organization is making and from which it expects a return. To get the most out of employees requires making further investments along the way. Although many of the tactics on this list do not necessarily require dollars to implement, resources are still being used in the form of time and focus. Other employee development activities, including training, online learning programs, and coaching are well worth the monetary resource investment dollar. Whatever the resource, this additional investment is necessary and valuable when it is thoughtfully aligned with the organization’s strategic goals and the individual development plans designed around key talent.
Set the Example: An employee will see the value of the development process when they see their current leadership continue to develop personally and professionally. By modeling this behavior, leaders build credibility and the trust necessary to encourage employees to participate in development-building activities. It shows employees that development is part of the organization’s culture. It sends the message that it’s important for, and expected from, everyone in the organization to be part of a continual improvement process that nurtures from within. If you want to compete with big brands, you have to emulate big brands.
These eight employee development tactics can be implemented within any size organization and will work effectively to shape a company’s future leadership. Whether an organization leverages a few or all of the tactics listed here, it is critical that each is used consistently, communicated clearly, and championed by leadership.