While talking to a freelance designer friend last week, it came to my attention that in her freelance career she switched many clients for various reasons.
When I asked what made her continue working with two of her long-term clients on different projects again and again, her answer was no surprise at all:
“They give me the opportunity to develop myself in the direction that I want to – they provide me with access to software that I couldn’t afford on my own, buy training programs for me and appreciate my work. I wouldn’t be able to learn all I know without them and this benefits us both.”
An employee that is engaged in their career and field is eager to learn more about it as well as develop their skills and competences. That’s why they LOVE training.
Employee development is not the simple process of training employees to do their job and keeping up to date with new industry developments. Employee development is the deliberate expansion of the exact skills and competences that will allow the employee to do a continuously better job in their profession and contribute more to the organization in different ways.
Everyone benefits from employee development – employees are happy because their career is going in the desired direction, and employers are satisfied because their staff applies what they learn on the job creating more business for them.
And an employee that seeks development will want more of it – that’s where motivation comes in.
It’s important to note that not every employee will be interested in developing their skills – the ones who have chosen the wrong career, or see their employment as a temporary job, won’t really care about development because they are interested in another company or field.
In the same time, not every employer should and will be interested in developing their employees – if relationships are short term (summer jobs, promotional campaigns, etc.) or the employer is afraid to invest too much in their staff, it might be that development is not on the agenda at all.
An entrepreneur that invests in the development of his staff sends a positive message:
You are here to stay and I want you to be the best professional you can become.
Employee development program ensure trust and show your staff that they are part of the company, not just an outsider that can go any time.
And, yes, even with good employee development programs people will leave your company, and that’s part of their growth path. As a business owner, you shouldn’t worry about that – everyone moves on and when people outgrow the employment you can offer them, it only makes sense for them to leave.
while they are on the job, training and development programs do miracles for their motivation.
Now, that you understand that employee development is key to attracting the most professionally engaged individuals that want to grow in their field, let’s look at some tips for employee development programs:
- Always work with each individual employee to design his or her development program. You can have a basic blueprint for each position but it needs to be their decision. Let them suggest trainings and workshops they would like to attend.
- Use in-house and outsourced training. There is only so much that an employee can learn within the organization. Providing them with opportunities to visit seminars, workshops and courses that are outside of the company gives them the chance to expand their expertise, create valuable network for your business, and the feeling of controlling their careers that increases motivation and commitment.
- Let them go digital. Online courses and resources are on the raise. Your employees do not need to go anywhere to develop their careers. Give them the opportunity to make use of innovative, interactive learning environments. An employer that provides a benefit before others is always a hero for his or her staff.
Going back to my freelance designer friend, I fully understand why she kept those two clients. They let her chose how to grow and gain competences that she wants to have and that they need. It’s a win-win, and she has never thought of breaking up that relationship.
The motivation of your employees depends highly on your ability to co-design their career with them, and one way to do that is employee development. Just make sure you hire the people who are actually interested in learning more about their field and are engaged in their profession.
Then you are all on the same page and employee development will produce amazing motivation results.
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