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How to foster the development of your team

Posted by Laura Nelde on May 4, 2017

We asked what you really want as an employee. Now we want to share our insights along with some tips and suggestions over the coming weeks.

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How to ensure professional development and keep your employees

Especially for the younger generation of employees, professional development is one of the key factors in determining satisfaction with their current position.

Nevertheless, day to day business often seems to take over and while an outlook on the company’s future is mostly still kept, the employee future is often neglected. This can be detrimental to the organization. Highly talented employees naturally want to advance. They are looking for the next step in their career. If you do not offer support in their quest, they might look for other opportunities and leave you, effectively costing you much more than providing the time and options for additional training.

Currently, only one third believes that their boss fosters their development sufficiently. 50% wish for it to be more.

And it doesn’t even have to be that difficult. There are a few simple steps to foster employee development as a leader.

  1. Listen to your employees

The most important thing is listening. What are your employees looking for in terms of development? What are their professional goals, their needs, their desires? Only once you have understood their aims and truly gotten to know them, you will be able to identify the best way for them to reach their goals.

  1. Make yourself approachable

You can only listen if your employees like to talk to you and share their thoughts. Make yourself as approachable as possible and follow up on the promises you made. If they know they can trust you and you will help them, they will come to you.

  1. Follow up on training outcomes

Your contribution does not end once the employee has completed a specific training. The new skills the employee has acquired need to be put to good use and applied to form habits and truly sink in. An employee attended a presentation training? Give them the opportunity to show off their new skills and let them give more presentations. Remember that the employee also gave up part of their time to work on this and that should be honored and appreciated as well.

  1. Help your employees build their own network

A well-rounded network has become a crucial factor for professional success. Chances are if you are leading a team, you have managed yourself to build up quite a strong network. Leverage your own network and help your employees. If someone is new to the team or the company, taken them to meet people. Take them along to an event or a lunch date and give them a couple warm introductions. And keep in mind: strengthening your employees means strengthening your own network as well.

  1. Enable your employees to take charge of their own development

Work gets busy, we all know that. And while it is still absolutely crucial for you to invest the time into your employees development, you should also help them to take initiative on their own as well.

Make sure that they set their own goals and are able to track their progress. This includes a map on how to achieve this, how to measure it and how to stay accountable. Check in with them occasionally and offer help in identifying whom to reach out to.

  1. The role of the Organization

The challenge of employee development to increase employee retention and avoid costs does not stop with the manager. The organization itself must empower both employees and managers to take care of learning and development. This includes setting incentives and allowing and encouraging everyone to take time to pursue their goals.

As the necessary skills are changing faster than ever before it is important for organizations to constantly adapt their offerings and listen to the demands.Additionally, learning styles are as diverse as needs for skills. Make sure that the offerings reflect these differences as well.

This also means offering flexible solutions that are easy for an employee to participate in.

Informal learning opportunities such as brown bag lunches or other chat formats have become popular for a reason. They require little effort from the employee but can still provide a great learning and networking opportunity. Additionally think about various resources you could offer the employee could access at all times: e-learnings, digital libraries, monthly book, podcast or tedtalk recommendations? Establish an environment conducive to learning and development at all times.

The bottom line to all of this is: take the time and make it a priority to support your employee’s development path.


Next up in our series: Satisfaction

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