12 Ways to Start Developing Employees Today

Individuelles Personalgespräch

Coaching and developing employees can take an organisation from good to great. In this article, we offer 12 tangible ways to start developing your employees today. In addition, we lay out the business case for employee development in today's world of work.

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What Does It Mean to Develop Employees?

Developing employees means taking an organisational approach to helping your current employees add, improve or develop new skills or adapt to new ways of working.

If you are looking into developing your employees, you are likely doing it one for one of three key reasons:

  • To improve employee engagement and satisfaction (to reduce attrition)

  • To increase overall business outcomes (for productivity's sake)

  • To improve your employer brand as a great place to work (to win top talent)

As an organisation, all of these reasons to take up coaching and developing your employees is valid. And, by focusing on development, you may be able to do all three of them at the same time.

Developing Employees Through 12 Unique Methods

Below we've outlined 12 methods that your organisation can consider to help making developing employees a priority...

1. Communicate Often

Frequently communicating with your workforce helps ensure that your employees feel supported as they explore opportunities to improve themselves.

It offers the chance to check their progress, celebrating what they’ve achieved and finding ways to strengthen areas in which they may need extra support.

From an employee’s perspective, this communication signals that you’re dedicated to helping them achieve their goals, leading to greater job satisfaction. 

2. Plan Feedback Loops

Feedback is fuel. Constructive feedback helps employees focus on weak areas within their skillset or conduct.

It also gives employees a chance to share their thoughts on action plans developed for their professional improvement and to have them adjusted to suit them better. 

Start by scheduling a one-on-one meeting with each employee to hear from them precisely what worked and what they’d change for the future. Use this information to improve your development programmes company-wide.

3. Remove Barriers

Rigid organisational structures can mean that employees are presented with fewer opportunities for dynamic growth. In fact, interdepartmental communication is important to developing interests that an employee has, as well as creating important connections that can improve your organisation from top to bottom. 

Bridging the gaps between departments encourages a more fluid approach to learning that can develop employees in more beneficial ways. For example, a sales employee can find they connect more with how the HR department is run and pivot their career goals in that direction. 

4. Enable Professional Development Opportunities

Create the expectation that your employees should actively work to improve themselves regularly, whether through continuing education, learning opportunities, workshops, conferences and other tools of the trade. 

While you don’t need to provide a precise list they must choose from, leaving employees to their own devices can cause them to lose their motivation for their professional development entirely as they sort through all the options.

To give your employees the best chance to grow, inform them about the development resources and tools available to them. Giving your workforce an expansive list lets them pick out the development opportunity that’s most likely to help them achieve their goals. 

You can also provide resources on how they can identify development opportunities themselves.

5. Create Individualised Development Strategies

One-on-one meetings with your employees can help you learn more about their goals and learning styles, which will help you create more effective development plans

These meetings help you tailor programmes to their professional requirements and needs, as not every employee will benefit from the same development opportunities. 

Additionally, it gives each employee more of a hand in deciding how they’ll reach their career goals. 

6. Be a Role Model for Your Employees

You can motivate your employees to continue improving by showing them that you’re also learning new things. If you’ve taken a professional development course yourself, tell others about your experience! 

Modelling the behaviour you want to see in your workers shows them that self-improvement is part of the culture and not just something they’re ordered or expected to do. 

7. Seek Out Seniority and Authority

Help your employees improve themselves by connecting them with senior members of your company or relevant professional groups. 

This support network of people, who’ve achieved similar career goals that the employee strives for, can offer actionable advice and other valuable resources. 

8. Provide Performance Metrics

Use performance metrics to visualise where an employee’s skills are and set a clear benchmark for where they need to be. 

The benchmark can be set higher and higher as they continue to improve until they’ve achieved their career goals. 

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9. Use Simulations

Build scenarios for employees that help them learn the desired skill through live simulations. Attending these simulations can be a valuable part of an employee’s action plan, and they can apply what they learn right away.

10. Let Them Perform Higher Level Tasks

If an employee is aiming for a leadership position, delegate some less critical tasks to them, so they can gain experience. This gives them invaluable hands-on experience that prepares them for success later on.

11. Have Clear Career Progression Guidelines

Career progression needs to be possible within your organisation to motivate employees to continue improving. Qualification for the following positions in the hierarchy needs to be clear and accessible, so your workforce knows it’s possible. 

12. Start Training Early

You should start preparing your employees for future success on their first day. Start off with a robust onboarding programme that informs them of development opportunities. Emphasise while training that professional development is core to your values as a company and a part of what they can expect while working for your organisation.

The Top Benefits of Developing Employees

Helping your staff develop new skills and continue improving themselves not only benefits them, but it benefits the company as a whole.

Listed below are some advantages you can expect from quality professional development:

Improved Employee Engagement

Employees feel greater workplace satisfaction when their organisation supports them. Helping them develop professionally demonstrates great consideration for their future in a way that encourages workers to connect to the company

Increased Employee Retention

Investing in an employee’s professional development is a small cost compared to training their replacements. In fact, it costs employers over £30,000 to replace an employee. Creating professional development opportunities in-house helps ensure these employees stay on long term. 

Cultivate Future Leaders

With employee development programmes, you have the opportunity to pick and train workers with leadership potential. While hiring leaders from outside the organisation is an option, promoting someone from within – and all the knowledge and experience they bring with them – can often prove more effective. It also signals to other employees that there’s an opportunity for them to move up within the organisation.

Draw Quality Job Candidates

Advertising your employee development programme can draw in higher-quality candidates who are seeking an organisation that will support them. Hiring talented job seekers means less time and resources are spent showing them how to perform their jobs. Additionally, star candidates are more motivated to go above and beyond in their responsibilities because they arrive motivated to do their best. 

Better Employee Performance

An employee development programme motivates employees to capitalise on their strengths and mitigate their weaknesses with further training. They’ll learn new skills and knowledge over time, making them better workers overall. 

 Frequently Asked Questions

What Does It Mean To Develop an Employee?

Developing employees means helping them fill skill gaps that might prevent them from accomplishing their career goals. This can be done through training opportunities, continuing education, trade shows, workshops, mentorship programmes and other means.

Why Is It Important To Develop an Employee?

Supporting employees increases their engagement with the organisation and, in turn, improves their productivity. Additionally, it helps ensure that they remain at your company long-term, as they see a clear track for advancement.

How Can Employees Be Developed?

You can use multiple methods to help your employees improve, such asg:

  • Setting clear expectations of improvement early on

  • Communicating with them frequently to check progress on their goals and helping adjust them if there’s a problem

  • Offering positive feedback where possible to keep employees motivated

  • Striving to improve your own skills to encourage employees to do the same

  • Creating individual development plans for each employee

What Are Employee Development Goals?

A development goal is a skill an employee would like to learn in the short term that pushes them closer to achieving their long-term career goal.

Develop Your Employees with Personio's Help

Developing your workforce is a long and intensive process but one that provides valuable rewards. Personio helps make your employees’ development a little easier with training features that give them direct access to relevant training courses.

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