Employee Development: 4 Reasons It Can Help Engage Employees
According to research, in an average organization, only about 15% of the employees are engaged. There could be a multitude of culprits behind this alarming figure, with the obvious ones being an absence of good leadership and inadequate compensation. However, there’s another thing that might be becoming a roadblock in the path to engagement – a lack of focus on employee development.
A Gallup report revealed that 87% of millennials considered employee development as a critical part of working a job. Considering that millennials have already outnumbered Gen-Xers, as a workforce, it’s high time that employers started focusing on this matter.
Offering training and development can do wonders for employee engagement. In a way, one could even argue that they both go hand in hand. For example, training our employees by giving them access to Credit Karma, a credit management service, can teach them to better handle their finances.
Here are 4 reasons why:
1. Employee Development Helps You Give Due Attention to Your Workforce
As mentioned above, disengagement can happen due to a number of reasons. One common reason is a lack of individual attention given to employees.
As an employer, you have to understand that your employees look up to you. They want your attention just as much as any other colleague. However, that’s easier said than done. Giving attention to individual teams, let alone individual employees, is difficult.
Nothing says ‘attention’ like offering employee development opportunities to your workforce – especially when paired with an employee performance plan.
With a training and development program in place, you can:
- Show your employees that you care about their professional wellbeing
- Understand the goals and challenges of your employees in a better way
- Focus on your workforce individually
Remember to design your employee development program in a way that allows for one-on-one interactions between the management and employees.
2. It Equips Employees with the Skills to Do Their Jobs Well
Another reason that could lead to disengagement in the workplace is a lack of the tools and skills necessary to do the job. When employees are forced to work on a project or a task that’s way above their capabilities, requires certain tools that aren’t at their disposable, or both, they can get frustrated. This ultimately makes them feel disengaged.
With an employee development program, you can equip your employees with the skillsets they need to take on new responsibilities and projects. The end-goal is to push your employees to the point where they’re challenged just enough that they find their jobs interesting, but not too challenging that it affects their emotions in a negative way. With the right skills – developed through training – you can find that sweet spot.
3. It Promotes Communication Between Employees & Management
A side-benefit of implementing formal employee development and training programs is that it promotes two-way communication between the management and employees. When the entire team is engaged in training, it automatically prompts employees to open up about their shortcomings and achievements and share their progress with their supervisors.
This, in turn, provides managers with an opportunity to share their feedback, in a safe environment, with the employees. Ultimately, this would result in both groups creating a bond of trust, leading to a highly engaged workforce.
4. Bring Employees Closer to One Another
Last, but not the least, engaging in training activities, such as workshops, lectures, assessments, etc. can bring your employees closer to one another. This can help in creating bonds based on mutual respect and trust, which can help engage them.
Being a part of a culture that promotes the spirit of teamwork and coordination is a benefit in itself, and offering a formal training program can help with that.
Steps to Create an Effective Employee Development Program
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for creating an employee development program.
However, here are 2 critical steps that should work for every company:
Identify the Training Needs of Your Employees
First and foremost, you have to identify the actual reason why you need to offer training. This could be the initiation of future projects or simply keeping up with the changing demands of the market.
For this purpose, the best way is to create a custom survey that gauges the existing capabilities of your employees, and taking action accordingly.
Deciding on the Format
Next, you ought to decide on how you want to offer training. Here are some common options:
- Offering training via online lectures (by leveraging a cloud-based learning management system)
- Arranging workshops and inviting industry experts
- A combination of the above
Make a decision after considering your budget and your culture
In addition, employee development can help employees consider engagement and the importance of it, themselves. This can ultimately turn them into genuine assets for your company.