Taking an active role in the development of your team demonstrates your confidence for their future and the future of your organization. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to create a culture in which every member of your workforce can effectively reach their career goals.

How do you best make it happen?

Have a Conversation

Successful employee development starts with a single step: sincere, ongoing dialogue with each individual about their unique visions, plans and aspirations. Ask them:

  • How would you like to see your professional future unfold?
  • What do you need in order to grow and advance?
  • What skills and talents would you like to use more often?

Taking the time to show a genuine interest in your employees’ futures is one of the most economical and meaningful actions you can take as a leader. When employees know that their managers care about them, they go above and beyond to more engaged and productive.

Empower Your Employees

By nurturing your employees and helping them grow within your company, you empower them to be more confident, make better decisions and take on increased responsibility.

  • Training is an essential step. Assigning an employee extra tasks without adequate support is a formula for disaster. Training and guidance teach new skills and provide you with the opportunity to fully outline an employee’s duties and what’s expected of them.
  • Consider providing mentors. This fosters positive and productive working relationships, helping employees learn and gain encouragement in support of their careers.
  • Set expectations right from the start. Clearly share your business’s short- and long-term goals so employees can embrace their role in your plan. Monitor performance, especially during employees’ early days in new roles. Establish core metrics for evaluation purposes. This gives each individual a clear direction of what they’re working toward and what they need to do to achieve their goals.
  • Provide feedback. In order to grow, employees need specific, objective feedback on a regular basis. Create and implement development plans with goals aligned to their strengths, interests and experience, as well as your business strategy. Make regular two-way feedback part of the process.
  • Show employees that you trust them. Let them know your expectations by modeling the behavior you desire from them. Then trust your employees to do their jobs – and get out of their way. This gives them greater ownership and demonstrates that trust and credibility are important in your organization.

The Key Role of Managers

The manager/employee dyad is the building block of learning and development. Becoming a great developer of employees requires managers to expand their focus from “How can I get excellent performance out of my team members?” to “How can I get excellent performance out of my team members while helping them grow?”

Linking organizational performance and individual development is a hallmark of organizations where sustainable careers – plus loyalty and retention – flourish. Regardless of what you expect from your managers, facilitating employee development should be a non-negotiable competence.

Are you looking for better strategies for workforce and leadership growth? Consider partnering with the Talent Bridge team of experts as you source, develop and retain the best talent in 2015 and beyond. Contact us today for more information.