5 Ways to Maximize Employee Development
According to the 2020 Talent Optimization Report by The Predictive Index, executives are most concerned about their employee’s productivity and performance compared to other challenges such as staying within budget, hiring the right people, and the economy. How can executives maximize employee training and development?
We recommend these 5 practices to maximize training opportunities and develop employees.
1. Ask employees where training would benefit them
First, make sure that you have regularly scheduled meetings with each member on your team. Beyond using this time to check up on current projects, take the time to ask them what skills they’re most comfortable with and where they would like to develop new ones. You can ask questions like what part of the job is most interesting, is there anything else you would like to be working on, or what areas are the most challenging for you?
Taking the time to listen and note where the employee would like to grow or improve will allow them to know that they have more control in building their human capital.
2. Look for on-the-job opportunities
Once you have pinpointed the skills your team members want to learn, look for opportunities to help employees build them. While classroom-style training can be an effective baseline, it can lose its power if it isn’t timely applied.
For example, imagine your employees are struggling to create powerful visualizations for a set of data that they are analyzing. Take the opportunity to show them the tools that you use yourself or provide resources on how to help them get their point of emphasis across. This way you are helping your team members practice and improve on their skills. Treating this challenge as an opportunity is critical to building an environment in which individuals believe they can grow in.
3. Mix up learning experiences
Not everyone learns the same or needs the same training. Think about factors like experience level, tenure, and adaptability when deciding what will best fit your employees' needs. Smaller opportunities where lesser experienced employees can rely on their more experienced peers are better for those team members that are still developing that skill. Whereas bigger opportunities with greater risks should be used for team members that allow them to test their skills more. Save the big presentations for the senior employees and the smaller ones for the new hires.
4. Provide continuous feedback
Feedback can be the most valuable aspect of the process. Providing feedback on what team members are doing well and where there are opportunities for growth can keep them heading in the right direction. It is important to be patient during this time. If an employee tried something new and failed, be sure to recognize their effort. People grow more when they aren’t punished for failure. Failure is the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t.
5. Be mindful of the time commitment
Employee development can be a huge time eater, especially if you have a lot of employees directly reporting to you. Take steps to avoid a workload that isn’t sustainable. Not all coaching needs to come from yourself either. Sometimes you may be able to distribute to other managers, senior leaders, or peers. Also be sure to consider the employees' available time, try to work on growing their skills when there is a lull in their schedule to allow them to dedicate ample focus to developing the new skills.
Great organizations develop their employees from within. Continuous investment and care in developing your employees will help you connect with and retain your most talented team members.
Does your organization need help to shape the learning of your employees and grow your business results? We have experience successfully guiding and coaching our clients with the aforementioned 5 practices.