The top reason people change jobs today is career growth opportunities. Employees must have opportunities to acquire new skills, work with different people, or experience greater autonomy to see a path forward in your organization. Developing your employees needs to be at the heart of every decision you make as a leader. A company with a culture prioritizing professional growth and development will ultimately increase its profit and decrease turnover. So why don't more companies do it well? Today's podcast discsuses how the best leaders help people grow, the barriers preventing leaders from successfully developing their teams, and how you can start developing your team immediately.
"Effective leaders are, first and foremost, good teachers. We're in the education business."
- John Wooden
Why should companies invest in employee development?
Why aren't employees being developed?
Their company/boss is not investing their time or financial resources into development.
Their company/boss is not investing their time or financial resources correctly.
1. Training for the wrong cause
You can have the best training program, but if it is not connected to a business need, your employees will not improve.
What to do: Make sure to review your organization's strategic issues and link your training needs to the objectives of your organization.
2. Not giving your employees the reason for the training.
Leaders are often more worried about their team's compliance with training than their team's engagement. If your team does not understand why the training is relevant to their position, they will not be personally invested and will not retain and apply the information.
What to do: Your employees need to know what advantages they could acquire from the training on a personal and professional level. Explaining "why" will convince your employees to buy in to the training.
3. Seeing training and development as a one-time event.
Holding a one-time training and workshop session for your employees is unlikely to help them develop a long-term habits. Changes as a result of training and development do not come overnight.
What to do: Create follow-up reinforcement that can help the training process and habits to stick.
4. You don't have time!
Having enough time isn't the real reason people are skipping out on training. It's just another way of saying the training isn't valuable to them. Do you want the pain of turnover and lack of engagement? Or do you want the pain of developing your people?
What to do: Training doesn't need to be complex or expensive or take a lot of time. Focus on what is realistic and consistent.
Q: Which of these pitfalls does your company fall into? Describe the last group training your team received. What was the topic? Was it relevant? Was the team engaged? Did you remember the information and implement it? If you could go back, what would you do differently?
How to start developing your employees today:
Share what you're learning: Modeling the behavior you want to see encourages others to be life-long learners and makes your request seem more credible.
Share opportunities: Leaders often have opportunities their teams do not. We are often invited to meet with people and go places because of our position in the organization. Take people with you or send them on your behalf! Expand their world every chance you get.
Provide challenging work: Hands-on experience helps people grow the most. Give them assignments or projects that will stretch them. Help them through the project by giving them autonomy and letting them know it is okay to fail.
Q: Describe a time when your leader helped develop you. Did they use one of these strategies? What about their efforts impacted you most? What would have happened if they did not help you develop yourself?
Set up personal development goals for each of your employees. Ideally, this goal will bring together the skills they need to succeed at their current job and the skills they need to move toward their career goals. Decide on this goal with your employee and help them find a relevant book, training, or conference, depending on your organization's budget and needs. Set up a time to check in on this goal and discuss what they are learning.
Ask your employees what they would find challenging. Sometimes your understanding of an employee's needs is incorrect! Work with them to find a challenging opportunity to contribute to the team in a new way. This may require you to find someone who can support them from outside your department or facilitate connections between them and other leaders.
Make personal growth a part of your culture. First, make sure that you are working on developing yourself. What books, conferences, or training are you using to develop your skills? Then, start sharing what you are learning. You could simply reference something you were reading that is relevant in a regular meeting or you could set up a time to share what you learned at a work conference with your entire team. Finally, don't forget to ask questions and show genuine curiosity. As you do, you will start cultivating a culture of curiosity and personal development on your team.