Keeping your employees happy and ensuring they feel supported to grow in the organisation is essential to the success of your company.
Employee retention, productivity and your company's reputation can hang in the balance. Any CFO worth their salt knows that if you are not keeping employees happy, you will lose them. Likewise, if an employee is not feeling appreciated or challenged by their role, they will become complacent resulting in a loss of productivity and general morale.
This discontent can spread through the company, ravaging a once healthy work culture, and breeding a general dislike of and disenfranchisement with the company.
That is why it’s essential to support your employee's growth and create an environment where they can thrive. Try these seven ways to support your employee's professional development.
Everyone needs to feel that their work is appreciated, and your employees are no exception. Say you have a motivated, hard-working employee who stays late and comes in early going above and beyond to get the job done.
If you are not acknowledging the extra work that employee is putting in, they will stop going the extra mile very quickly. The employee is going to start to feel as though they’re being taken advantage of, as if no-one appreciates the extra effort they put in and they are going to start to wonder why they do it at all. This can lead them to looking for another more fulfilling role or just becoming complacent.
A simple thank you, or an email acknowledging the extra work they have done, offering a day in lieu if you know they’ve done a lot of extra hours or praising their work in the company newsletter can really go a long way to shifting their perception on the situation. From ‘I’m being taken advantage of by the company’ to ‘I do important work that makes a difference to the company, and I am appreciated for it.’
Similarly, if you have an employee working hard and they’re just not quite getting the job done the way they need to, providing constructive feedback can make all the difference.
Constructive feedback can be difficult to navigate while maintaining an employee’s morale. If given incorrectly you can demotivate an employee rather motivate them.
Try the sandwich approach. This is a technique where you sandwich the piece of constructive feedback between two positive performance notes you want to give. This helps the employee to feel as though they are not doing everything wrong but just have something to work on.
And remember to keep constructive feedback constructive. By that we mean provide actionable feedback that will improve their performance. Be clear about what can be improved and if applicable offer resources to help your employee learn. Constructive feedback coupled with access to additional mentoring or learning resources will help them feel supported to succeed.
You should be adapting your management style to your individual employee’s learning style. If you have an employee who is a visual learner, you’re not going to get through to them with lengthy documents about a project. However, graphs and a visual presentation might help them to understand what the project goals and plans are.
Obviously, this isn’t something you can do all the time but when dealing with specific employees and training them, it can be helpful to adapt your style. This will ensure that your employee gets the most from your meetings and training sessions and feels individually supported.
An LMS or a Learning Management System can be a real game-changer for your company’s professional development program. These systems can be installed software or web-based applications and they can be used to monitor and track learnings for your staff.
It can take the pressure off your HR department by automating some of the administration and data entry involved. It gives your employees the ability to take responsibility for their study and complete it in their own time frames. You can learn more about different LMS systems here.
It can be in house, or you can set an employee up with an external mentorship program but encouraging employees to engage in mentoring programs shows you are invested in their future and their professional growth.
Mentorship programs have a number of benefits for your company and your employees. They help employees to gain confidence, and refine their career path, while providing a helpful outsider perspective to their day-to-day operations.
Mentoring staff can be great for your higher-level employees as well. It helps to build and refine their leadership skills; it can build out their professional network and elevate their professional standing in the industry.
It’s not much use telling employees you want them to grow in the company and pursue professional development and then not giving them the time and space to do that.
Facilitate your employee’s professional development programs by offering them allotted time each month for PD. Open a dialogue with them and ask them directly what they need to complete their professional development activities and work with them to set them up to succeed. Employers should place great importance on their employees learning and development.
Your people are your most valuable assets. They make or break your business. So, cultivate employees that love to work with the company, that are passionate about the work you all do and want to do better every time.
Treat your employees as people. Talk to them about their hopes and dreams, their passions and plans and find a way to make their role more rewarding for them. If they are passionate about data analysis and currently work in administration, help them to achieve their career goals by organising professional development courses in data analysis and giving them more data related tasks in their role.
Your employees are going to give 110% if you offer them the chance to do work that they find meaningful and that supports their overall career goals.