How great would it be if every single person you ever hired was the perfect fit, worked tirelessly for your business, and never left because your company is just thatgood? Sounds like the dream, right?
Well, while there’s no way to guarantee that your employees will stick around until retirement, you canhelp employees feel more fulfilled by helping them grow and develop at work. When you bring someone into your company or onto your team, you’re investing in them and their future — and when properly supported, those employees will be more inclined to stay and engage better at work. LinkedIn even reported that 94% of employeessay they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development.
So, now the question is, how do you incorporate employee development into your HR strategy? We break down all the key points below, get comfy and let’s get into it.
What Is Employee Development
Employee development is the effort a company makes to help their employees develop new strengths, skills, and knowledge through professional training and learning opportunities. There are all kinds of hard skills and soft skills that employees need or want to develop, including leadership, formal education, or job-related aptitudes.
Sometimes, employees know that they want to improve or grow in some way, but they aren’t sure what opportunities are out there or how to access them. Which is just fine! Employee development is not just for developing skill sets for a particular role; instead, it includes continued learning that helps them progress along their individual career paths. Seeing employees as individuals and supporting their journey shows that their company sincerely cares about their success and wellbeing.
HR can help create an employee development program that facilitates both internal and external learning opportunities. This means you may hold trainings or seminars internally, or form external partnerships for access to courses, trainings, or other forms of education for your employees. Doing so helps your team members’ skills continue to evolve in accordance with industry trends, as well as their personal goals and needs. Creating and managing such opportunities would all fall under an employee development program!
Why Employee Development Matters
We touched briefly on these benefits at the start of this article, so let’s get into some of those details.
Boosts productivity and profits
First off, supporting your staff’s interests, needs and goals can drive up employee engagement. Especially when people express interest in growing, you benefit from helping them! Engaged workers make a huge difference for business — one study found that highly engaged teams are as much as 21% more profitable. So, better development, better engagement, and better results!
Another big benefit to employee development is that it helps keep your staff around. SHRM reports that 29% of workers identify lack of growth opportunities as a reason for wanting to quit, and 49% expect their employers to lend a hand with career development. If you deliver these opportunities, you reduce the risk of losing employees. At the same time, you’re giving people skills that can help them become better at their current jobs while potentially developing as a future leader at your organization.
Helps employees reach their full potential
It’s not feasible that every single hire you make will be the perfect fit — it’s very rare that someone new to your company is going to manage their role perfectly from the beginning! Instead, invest in driven employees who are eager to learn, improve, and unlock their potential. Reward ambition and find new ways to help individuals increase their skills — this is key to talent managementand a huge part of HR’s overall vision. In fact, 74% of workersare eager to learn new skills or retrain if it means staying employed. With development, you can not only keep talent within the organization, you help them advancein their careers.
Attracts top job candidates
The benefits of employee growth don’t end with your current employees. A company that helps develop employees is going to cultivate great industry leaders, which is attractive to potential hires. You can be a more appealing option for the top talent in your field by offering development opportunities — and people will show interest because they know they will be more successful at your company. Making an employee development program a part of your primary offering is a great talent acquisitionstrategy.
How to Create a Robust Employee Development Program
It’s undeniable: employee development is a huge bonus to your business! So, here are four basic steps to help you create an effective employee development program.
Step 1: Determine your employees’ long-term goals
The first step to creating a plan is always evaluating your starting point. You have to first look at where you currently sit and what your employees want from a development program. So, gather feedback! How do people currently operate? What works about that? Where are the gaps? You want to make sure you have opportunities that help with individual aspirations, business objectives, and leadership development.
Step 2: Create employee development programs tailored to your workforce
Next, make an employee development program that suits your specific employees and the goals of your company. Not every program looks the same or offers the same options, so make sure you communicate with people on an individual level and have plans in place for them specifically. Managers can help lead their employees while HR can primarily facilitate and offer useful programs.
Step 3: Provide professional development opportunities
Employees definitely benefit from organizations that find opportunities for them to hone their professional skills, so whether those trainings or internal or external, find ways to help people succeed even more in their current (or future) positions. You can find online subscriptions or seminars for general skills, or if someone comes to their management or HR with a specific skill in mind that they would like to develop, you can find unique courses or opportunities for those individuals too.
Step 4: Evaluated your efforts and solicit feedback
It’s always important to continue learning as a company and find out what has worked well with your current efforts, so we’ll say it again: gather feedback! Use employee benefits surveysto see if people are satisfied with the opportunities they currently have to really evaluate how your employee development program has worked and make improvements from there.
Different Types of Employee Development Programs
There are several employee development areas that your company can offer employees to create a successful overarching program. Here are a few big ones:
- Mentorship Opportunities.Having a reliable mentor who can help answer questions and give advice is something we could all benefit from — and people looking to develop their leadership and teaching skills can also benefitasa mentor, so both can partners benefit from these programs. They can take place within departments, across the company, or even outside of the organization.
- Job Shadowing.Job shadowing is a great way to get hands-on experience and gives your employees a chance to learn from one another. Seeing problem-solving and troubleshooting happening in action is an awesome way to learn and gain experience. As a bonus, it can help employees who are disengagedbecome more engaged.
- Lunch-and-Learns.At these company-sponsored events, individuals can share information about their line of work, new developments in their field, and how their work impacts other teams. This can boost collaboration between departments and increase someone’s understanding of their industry.
- Professional Training.It’s always a good idea to have training seminars and certifications that people can get to make themselves more adept in their current job and more competitive in the industry. It also ensures your most skilled employees don’t get bored or feel like they’ve plateaued in their careers.
- Rotational Program.You can incorporate a rotational program that allows employees to work on various projects across departments for a specified time period, usually a few weeks or months. This gives individuals in the company a better glance and what happens in different departments or stages of your organization, which is a great way to grow as individuals and aids in organizational development, too.
Development Through Wellness with Gympass
Your employees need opportunities to be their best selves — we know it sounds corny, but it’s the truth! Offering an employee development program is going to put your company ahead of the competition, create an amazing work environment, and create influential leaders in your community.
Another way to give your workforce opportunities to grow is to ensure their wellness needs are addressed. To really improve at work, employees need their physical, mental, and emotional health taken care of, which comes in the form of work-life wellness. Gympass is a great benefit you can offer employees that gives them the flexibility they need to take care of themselves and ultimately reach their potential. Talk to a wellbeing specialistto learn more!
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.