Helping staff develop and grow into stronger, more productive, higher performing employees isn’t just crucial because it makes them more of an asset to your business. It’s also key in employees’ eyes.
At HR GO, we know through talking to candidates who are looking to move roles that someone who sees they’re being invested in and helped to reach the next level in their career will feel more engaged, valued and probably loyal in the long term. If proactive staff learning and development is baked into your company culture, it’s also a powerful recruitment tool to hook top future candidates.
Here are three actions you could explore to put you on the right path (if you’re not already doing them!)...
Performance reviews and annual appraisals have been part of the workplace for decades. Structured and dedicated one-on-one time is a chance to discuss areas that could improve on as well as new goals to strive for, plus highlight positive achievements and talk about career progress in general.
Yet some large employers - including City consultancies Accenture and Deloitte - are now ditching a formal, rigid appraisal process for frequent short conversations between line managers and employers.
However you format performance reviews in your business, make sure you keep communicating with staff on how they’re doing and ways they could grow. Recent research shows that although employees want more feedback on their progress and career path, 40% never discuss these things with their managers.
Talking about new ways they can develop needn’t wait for the next designated appraisal, either. Encourage staff to come to you or their line managers with how they’ve been using new skills and what they’ve been learning whenever it suits.
Classroom-based learning plays an important role in training staff, but digital technology like online webinars can also be massively helpful - as well as more convenient and cost effective.
It’s not always possible or convenient to go off-site for a pre-booked training course - or spend work hours in formal in-house training. So being able to access high-quality and relevant courses from work PCs or mobile devices is a powerful tool. This so-called ‘just in time’ learning means staff can consume short, bite-sized training modules at the moment they’re needed - at work or at home.
Learning and development is changing in other ways, too. As the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Learning and Development 2015 report highlighted, more and more companies are setting their sights on a ‘learning culture, with increased use of internal knowledge-sharing events, job rotation, secondment and shadowing, action learning sets and collaborative and social learning. A quarter anticipate greater use of user-generated content, reflecting the need for agility and flexibility in meeting bespoke individual needs.’
Mentorships with a manager, or coaching with a more experienced member of staff to pass on skills, are also good ways to help people develop.
Learning in a ‘real’ work environment with challenges and tasks specific to a particular role can be more relevant than a formal training course. Not to mention a faster way to take on new information.
Chances are, getting a greater insight into each other as colleagues - plus building up some strategic alliances - will boost your company culture, too.
These things can all be part of a plan to push employees forward and help them progress in their roles, bringing on your workforce as well as crucially your business in the long term.