The Ultimate Guide To Employee Development In 2023
When you hear the phrase "employee development," many questions pop into your head.
What is it? Why is it necessary? How does it help your business objectives?
You might not know the answers to these questions, but one thing is certain. You cannot afford to ignore employee development to keep your star employees.
Let's deconstruct employee development and the benefits it brings for an easier understanding.
What is Employee Development?
Employee development is the process of adding to the existing skills and knowledge through various employee development programs to support the organization's goals. Usually, firms put in place human resource management to increase growth. Moreover, doing so helps sustain a workable system with competent employees.
Employees are the building blocks of every company. To improve your company's profit margin, invest in your employees' skills and abilities. Suppose you are looking at the "how-to" part. In that case, it is all about offering a mix of training, eLearning, student aid support, etc.
Why is Development Important to an Employee?
Change is said to be the only constant in this world. If we take this as the stature, we cannot condone stagnation. To avoid stagnation, we have to evolve and develop through all the available means. And with the ever-changing corporate world, the development of employees has become even more crucial. Zoe Sharan, a leadership development coach, industry speaker, and HR of Amicus recently shared some critical insights on how learning and development have become significant over time.
In my experience, learning and developmental programs have evolved significantly with time. They once were an ideal-to-have. They are now a business imperative. I believe this is because, in L&D, we no longer assign learning goals. Instead, our L&D solutions assign program effectiveness goals that are measured by their ability to deliver business results. So, learning and developmental programs are essential for activating the company strategy through people which is significant.
This is even more applicable when it comes to encouraging employees to grow. It gives them the extra incentive to work harder and improve themselves. When your employees feel that you care about their career growth, they tend to be more engaged. It would also have a huge impact on their decision to stay with their current company.
The Necessity of Employee Development and its Benefits.
Companies often ignore employee development, despite it helping improve company structure. Leaders are often constrained by time and resources. The development of assets is usually not a priority for people focused on short or mid-term goals.
Many companies focus on speed over creating a strong foundation. Training and development of employees bring several benefits.
Here are a few -
1. Retains Employees
Retention is a great challenge for employers, especially since the Great resignation. Career development can help retain strong workers.
Training and development have become essential hiring components used as a competitive edge. Career development initiatives are an attractive offer for all employees. It helps employees establish a sense of value within the company and fosters loyalty. This results in increased staff retention and a 59% lower staff turnover rate.
2. Develop Future Leaders
Paying special attention to the potential for future leadership can be vital. It can help create a business for growth and evolution. New hiring can help with the acquisition of leadership talent. Or the development of current employees for leadership roles. Professional development programs help organizations focus on future growth by preparing promotable talent.
Professional development programs help organizations focus on future development by preparing promotable talent.
3. Empowers Employees
The feeling of empowerment enables leaders to influence employees and gain their trust. This leads to a rise in the sense of autonomy, value, and confidence in their work.
4. Boost Workplace Engagement
The feeling of boredom and discontentment can create a negative work environment. Finding ways to support engagement in employees helps improve the work environment. This can be accomplished via regular training programs. Also, workplace initiatives can prevent workplace idleness.
This, in turn, helps businesses establish a regular evaluation of their employees. The emphasis on planning will help influence company culture. It will also prompt the company to lean toward reviewing existing talent.
Furthermore, it evaluates growth and development opportunities internally rather than via recruitment.
5. Builds Workplace Relationships
Providing new topics to explore can be a great way to build workplace relationships. Doing so helps them improve their skills and knowledge through training sessions.
Experienced colleagues can help you learn new things and build work relationships. Research has shown peer collaboration to be the preferred method of learning. Employee development helps employees improve their skills and talents through comprehensive training opportunities.
It is easy to see why employee development and training matter with these benefits in mind. Investing in employee improvement is like a gift that keeps on giving. Suppose you decide to develop the different attributes of your employees. It will enhance performance, attract top talents, and reduce attrition in the long run.
Now that we know employee development is beneficial let's look at how to put it in place.
What are the Four Approaches to Employee Development?
Employee Development is not a one-way street. You have several options for how you want to support the development of your employees.
Here are a few of the most effective approaches:
1. Formal Education
Like everything else in life, education has become very expensive. Offering tuition reimbursement can help your company attract and retain talent. This can be highly beneficial, especially in a talent war.
According to a study conducted by AdAssist:
84% of employees cited tuition assistance as an important factor in joining their companies. 71% of participants rated tuition assistance among the best benefit offered by their employers after healthcare.
Allowing employees to continue their education can help them develop their careers. Further education opportunities are always attractive.
Companies that provide employees with the same are likely to attract top talents. These employees are likely to be more motivated to work. And ambitious employees can improve the company's human resources.
Constant study or work without assessment is like putting someone out to sea on a raft without paddles. You will be floating around without any direction or land in sight.
Regular assessments from peers, managers, and customers help assess employees' strengths or weaknesses. The evaluation needs to be shared with the assessed employee for the appraisal to be effective. The study results can help the company development training courses to help employees improve themselves.
3. Job Experiences
Experience is the mother of knowledge. An employee with more job experience tends to be better at handling problems than one with more degrees. This is because a degree often does not translate to practical problem-solving.
Getting hands-on experience does not only provide employees with the knowledge but also the practical how-to. This fact makes job experience a very vital part of the development of employees. Other strategies to improve that experience include options like
- Job rotations
4. Interpersonal Relationships
Professionally taught courses aren't the only way to learn. Interacting with coworkers and superiors can have a big impact on career growth.
Developing such social skills (soft skills) is just as crucial as having hard skills. Employees possessing patience, empathy, and integrity have the potential to take the entire team to new heights.
The approaches to the improvement of employees are followed by the stages involved in the employee lifecycle model.
What are the Stages of Employee Development?
The stages of employee development are best described as the employee lifecycle model(ELC). The ELC model envisions how employees engage with the company that they are a part of. The six stages involved in this model are:
This is the first stage of the employee life cycle. The company will fail if it cannot attract and keep the necessary human resources. This stage starts even before the company opens its doors.
The Following are good tips for building a reputation as a good employes
- Raising brand awareness
- Having a good employee culture
- Offering attractive bonuses and compensation
Recruitment is known as the second stage of this model. This involves seeking out and recruiting the best talents to improve the company's human resources.
An attractive recruitment plan offers
- An optimal candidate experience.
- Supports collaborative hiring centered around clear criteria and processes.
- Provides meaningful data that the company can use to improve hiring results over time.
Key factors that can include in the recruitment stage include
- Asking for referrals from the existing team.
- Trying out various recruitment platforms.
- Being clear on the requirements.
After the recruitment stage comes the onboarding process. The onboarding period is important to get new hires well adjusted to the institutional setting. And familiarize them with the performance aspects of their job.
In this stage, new employees are informed more about the expectations they have to meet. They are also made familiar with the requirements of their position during the onboarding stage.
Following are several ways for a smoother onboarding process -
- Having a clear job description.
- Discussing company values and visions.
- Outlining your expectations.
- Sending them a warm welcome letter with all the information they will need to breeze through the onboarding process.
- Assigning mentors on the new hires' first day.
- A presentation or quick overview of the company and its products to familiarize new hires with the new work environment.
- Doing regular follow-ups are several ways to make the onboarding process smoother.
The employee's training and development is the next step after the onboarding process. Onboarding new employees and leaving them alone to flounder about is a waste of their potential.
Companies that invest in employee education and development are likely to attract and keep more employees. Providing employees with training programs will make your employees more skilled and knowledgeable. This will help them to contribute more to your business.
Successfully onboarding and developing employees' skills is not enough if you cannot keep them. This is where employee retention comes in. Here, you have to focus on retaining top employees and ensuring they are happy and challenged to keep them interested.
Following are a few good ideas to successfully keep top tier employees:
- Hiring the right fit for your company.
- Cultivating a good relationship with them and also among the team members.
- Open communication about organizational missions and team aspirations.
- Seeking regular feedback and understanding of what motivates your employees.
The employee separation stage is the final stage of an employee's life cycle. Separation is an inevitable part of the employee's lifecycle. Be it for retirement, new employment, or personal reasons.
Making the separation process as easy and smooth as possible is equally important as the onboarding process. A team member leaving impacts the working environment and the other members.
HR professionals and managers are responsible for the smooth separation process at the end of an employee's life cycle. Following are a few measures that can help cut down any negative effects caused by any disruption.
- Asking for the real reason behind the termination,
- Remaining positive
- Asking for honest feedback and keeping up the morale among the rest of the team
How To Nurture Employee Development In Your Company
Creating an Employee Development plan is a large undertaking. It takes in-depth research and coordination and links many variables into a meaningful whole.
Following are the steps to create and put in place a development plan.
1. Keep in mind the company's business goals.
The development plan goals for employees should go with the business goal, not the other way around.
2. Have open communication with your employees
This will help you assess the situation and figure out how the business can help the employee grow.
3. Distinguish between readiness vs. potential
Showing potential does not imply fitness for the position. Being a good salesperson does not translate into being a good sales manager. Identifying this distinction is very important.
4. All types of training and development should be considered.
When it comes to development, the company should explore various options. Sometimes a practical approach might offer more learning opportunities than a standard course.
5. Create a plan of action for all stages of development
Every plan needs a structure. The same is true with a development plan, and goals need to be specific and timely.
Every step needed to be taken while implementing the plan must be clear to avoid uncertainty. After the training, it is also important to allow the employees to implement their skills.
A company's continued growth relies on employees since they are the core structure supporting its growth. The development of these employees is directly proportional to the company's growth. The long-term goal of the company should focus on developing its employees. It should aim to provide them with opportunities for growth and a good work-life balance.
Q. How can businesses assess their employees' development needs?
A. Businesses can assess their employees' development needs through performance evaluations, competency assessments, employee surveys, feedback from managers, and by conducting skills gap analysis.
Q. What are some common employee development programs?
A. Some common employee development programs include on-the-job training, mentoring programs, leadership development programs, online learning platforms, workshops, and conferences.
Q. How can businesses measure the success of employee development programs?
A. Businesses can measure the success of employee development programs by setting clear goals and objectives, collecting feedback from employees and managers, tracking employee performance metrics, and analyzing the return on investment (ROI).
Q. How much should businesses invest in employee development?
A. The amount businesses should invest in employee development varies depending on the size of the organization, the industry, and the specific employee development programs implemented. As a general rule of thumb, businesses should invest at least 2-3% of their payroll budget in employee development.
Q. How can businesses ensure that their employee development programs are inclusive?
A. Businesses can ensure that their employee development programs are inclusive by promoting diversity and inclusion, offering training on cultural competence, providing accommodations for employees with disabilities, and involving employees in the program design process.