Improving employee development is not as attractive as boosting sales or landing a new client, but it is an absolutely critical pillar of any business. Bettering your employee development is a long-term project, and you will not see success or results overnight. Even though improving employee development is a long-term project that doesn’t have all the flash of new sales, it will undoubtedly improve your business overall. Investing in employee development isn’t the most thrilling expense, but it is well worth the time, effort, and money. All the benefits of investing in and developing your employees may not show on a spreadsheet, but there are many ways that employee development can improve your whole organization. During these crazy times, investing in your employee’s matters even more, so here are a few tips and suggestions to improve employee development within your company.
Start With The Basics
Before you start creating new development or training programs, double-check with each employee to see if they are missing any training elements they should have received by now. Many managers promise training that never materializes, and employees simply find ways to do their job without any guidance or official procedure. So before you look to develop your existing staff further or start making training programs for new hires, make sure they have all the development they need and ask for suggestions. Most of the time, the person putting together employee development isn’t the person who will use the materials. Talk with your staff to see what suggestions they have for new training materials or areas they want to learn more about specifically.
If you want employees to do a job a certain way, you must explain that to your employees with clear instructions. Use instructional design consulting to ensure the training materials are as useful as possible. There is an art to writing instruction, training content, and other technical documents, so using a professional who is well-versed in the best practices is a worthwhile investment. If possible, once your new content is set, post your training and employee development materials online in a portal that all employees can access. Do not restrict employees only to receive training or development from another person; managers get busy, and people forget, so give your employees the resources to learn by themselves.
Encouragement And Feedback
Once your employees are working steadily, it is time for the next stage of development. Now that the fundamental aspects of the job are covered, you can work on developing employees in more specific ways. This is also the time when feedback becomes critical. If you want an employee to change something or do something differently, you have to tell them. Your employees cannot read your mind, and they will not know they are doing something right or wrong unless you tell them. Encourage and compliment employees who are going above and beyond. Offer constructive, specific, and personable feedback to employees who aren’t quite nailing it yet. Feedback should not be an attack; it should be a kindly delivered suggestion. If you make an employee feel bad for unknowingly doing something wrong, you may get the result you want in their work, but you will crush any positive culture or working environment. Employees should not be punished for mistakes, and feedback should stem from encouragement to get it right rather than anger the employee got it wrong.
Open And Honest Communication
Most employees are more than happy to take on new training and development, but they will not repeatedly ask for it. The burden to pass on industry skills and knowledge lands on managers, but that requires managers to take a few minutes every week to talk with their staff. Ask simple questions once a week to check in with staff and see if there is anything they need or want to learn. All it takes is three questions every so often to make employees feel heard and valued while also opening the door to more training and development opportunities. Ask these simple questions and take your employee’s answers to heart:
- Are there any obstacles you are facing, and how can I help remove the issues?
- What would you like to learn that could help you in your role?
Develop Soft Skills For Everyone
A lot of priority is placed on quantifiable skills, and that is only rational, as everyone wants to make sure an employee has the technical skills to do the job before they are hired. Still, soft skills are just as important if often overlooked. You can build a team around hard skills and technical ability, but that might not be a fun team to work with or a team that communicates well. Soft skills are what let coworkers work well together, communicate, collaborate, and work in harmony. Soft skills like emotional maturity and collaborative problem solving might not be bullet points on a resume, but they are invaluable when it comes to actually working with a team.
Developing employees is a long process that involves many different aspects. There is no one way to improve your workers because it takes a combination of efforts to achieve properly developed employees that provide more value than when they started. Ensure the basics are covered, and no one has holes in their training, then you can start developing new skills and traits. Use clear instructions, constructive feedback, and encouragement, along with good communication to slowly better employees.