An employee development program focuses on the progress of employees over time to strengthen your company and their career prospects.
Does your company have an employee development program? This type of program focuses on the progress of the individual over time, while an employee training program is designed to teach employees specific skills in a set amount of time. A company can create an employee development program as a stand-alone effort or as part of a larger training and development initiative.
These development programs are designed to improve employees’ current skills and teach them new skills and abilities. Any program should make them better in their current jobs and better prepared for promotions. Implementing such a program not only benefits the employee, but also benefits your business. In fact, businesses that use employee development programs experience higher employee satisfaction and reduce employee turnover. They also can save money and achieve business goals faster.
Developing your employees can help prevent burnout. That’s incredibly important since 74% of employees report experiencing burnout sometimes, according to Gallup. Workers are less likely to burn out when their employer cares about their well-being and their personal and professional growth. To help you achieve your business goals and keep your employees happy and healthy, this article will cover how and why you need to implement employee development programs.
Benefits of employee development in the workplace
One of the best things you can do for your business is to develop your employees. This is because, according to PRNewsWire, up to 82% of employees would consider quitting if there were no advancement opportunities. In other words, if you want to reduce employee turnover, a powerful tool is an employee training and development program. Additional benefits of employee development programs include improved employee satisfaction, increased employee engagement, better job satisfaction and the ability to locate and reward high-performing employees.
up to 82% of employees would consider quitting if there were no advancement opportunities. In other words, if you want to reduce employee turnover, a powerful tool is an employee training and development program.
Find high-performing employees and recognize potential
An employee development program will prompt you to identify high-performing employees. After all, you will want to make sure that the program includes and accommodates them. And as you watch the progress of other employees developing existing skills and learning new skills, you can recognize potential in them. When your employees have a wider range of skills, you’ll have an easier time finding new managers and team leaders so that you can promote from within.
Improved success and productivity
Business success and employee productivity go hand in hand. When your employees can do their jobs with ease, they have more time to think about innovation and problem-solving. This will help your company stay ahead of competitors and meet business goals faster, which could translate into increased profitability.
Improved employee satisfaction
When you provide employees with training in key areas, like communication skills, leadership skills and task management skills, you show that you care about their professional growth. When you offer mentoring programs, formal classroom training and online courses, you get engaged employees. They appreciate that you are investing in their career development and personal growth.
Increased employee retention
When you recognize potential, provide training in hard and soft skills, and show employees possible career paths, you will most likely decrease turnover and improve employee retention.
Examples of employee development needs
When you think about employee development, you may wonder what your employees need. Your human resources department should be a go-to source for this kind of information. You probably can’t miss by starting with better communication skills, better task-management, and goal-setting skills, and conflict resolution.
Communication is considered a soft skill because it cannot be easily measured. However, it is a critical skill. A business can’t function without it, and it reigns supreme in customer service and vendor relations. Communication also involves more than speaking. It is verbal, nonverbal, written and digital. This means your training program needs to address all these forms and the best methods for specific types and settings.
Task-management and goal-setting
If your workforce cannot manage their tasks and set goals, they’re not going to be very productive. This training should focus on teaching how to set goals and break those down into smaller achievable tasks with deadlines.
If you’re not sure what your employees need, you can always ask by providing an employee development survey.
In a collaborative environment, conflicts will arise. Departments and employees within a department may disagree with each other. Customers may disagree with employees, and vendors may disagree with purchasing managers. The trick to remaining successful and moving forward after a disagreement is being able to handle that conflict with understanding and professionalism. It means teaching your employees how to listen and empathize while finding a mutually agreeable solution.
If you’re not sure what your employees need, you can always ask by providing an employee development survey. These surveys can request that employees list and rate the skills they have and ask about what skills they need in order to do their jobs better and achieve their career goals.
Employee development program strategies and methods
HR managers and other business leaders usually start by defining what employees need to learn and deciding on the most efficient and effective way of delivering the training. Here’s a look at 3 popular options.
Implement a mentoring program
Mentoring programs involve pairing less experienced employees with experienced, knowledgeable, and respected employees. These are most effective for new employees during the onboarding and probationary phases and when an employee is getting ready to start a new job in the company due to a promotion.
Offer formal classroom training
Formal classroom training can help your employees learn key skills. For example, your local university or college might offer classes on business communication, general computer skills, and business management. You might even be able to work out a deal for your employees to take classes in exchange for goods or services to save money. You can also offer tuition assistance and/or reimbursement for employees who wish to get bachelor’s and master’s degrees that relate to your business.
Create online courses
For more specific training on your company’s policies, procedures, software, and machinery, you could create online courses that employees can take at work. For these programs, you could find the most knowledgeable person in your company to give demonstrations of the software and/or machinery. Then, you would post these courses to your employee learning portal.
Tips for creating an effective employee development program
- Incentivize coaching and mentoring for managers. Help your managers and supervisors coach and mentor by ensuring they have enough time to do their regular work as well as provide guidance to others.
- Make training in new skills an ongoing process. Technology is always changing. This means that your employees will need to increase their skill sets and learn new things often. Make sure your training programs provide the knowledge your employees need to remain current.
- Let employees manage their career development at their own pace. Provide flexible structured programs and create opportunities that employees can take advantage of when they need them.
- Provide plenty of learning opportunities and options that are flexible. To reach every employee that needs a particular class or training session, you may have to provide it in multiple forms. For example, if your HR managers are hosting an early morning class at 7 AM, not every employee is going to be able to make it. To give everyone a chance to view the class, record it and post it online or hold the class again in the evening.
The importance of employee development programs
Employee development programs are essential for companies that wish to attract and retain the best talent so they can remain competitive. This means providing training on essential hard and soft skills, listening to employees’ needs, and providing a variety of training and learning opportunities. For more information on how to better develop employees for continued success, check out Zenefits’ articles on Workest.