One of the keys to success, in any industry, is employee development. Companies that are able to be strategic when it comes to employee growth will be able to improve productivity, employee engagement and reduce turnover.
Without a process in place that encourages employee development, both the workers and the company can suffer. It can become a source of frustration and hinder the growth and productivity of the business.
Importance of employee development
There are several benefits that companies can get if they make employee development a priority. These include:
- Stay competitive. The competition involves more than just the battle for customers. Businesses also need to stay competitive to attract good talent. People want to work for a company that will help them grow and develop their skills and abilities. They see this as a way of staying competitive with others in their industry. Companies that build a good reputation for employee development will be able to attract quality workers and keep them for longer.
- Manage a skill shortage. In several industries, there are skill shortages, which can dampen a businesses’ ability to grow and increase productivity. Recent statistics indicate that about 70 percent of employers are dealing with talent shortages. That is three times higher than it was just 10 years ago. Helping employees develop new and valuable skills can help a company overcome skill shortages in their industry.
- Changing business structures. Organizations are constantly evolving to be leaner and more productive. By focusing on employee development, companies can successfully adapt to changing business structures and models.
- Engaged employees. A recent report uncovered that just 19 percent of employees were engaged at their office. In addition, researchers noted that nearly 64 percent of employees surveyed may leave their jobs this year. Workers that know they are valued by their employer will be more productive. One of the best things that managers or executives can do is help employees reach the next level of development. Investing in employee development will cultivate a higher level of engagement at the organization.
- Lower turnover. Losing employees is expensive. It can cost a company money and also reputation. Consider the time, energy and money spent on advertising to find new workers, the interview process, and onboarding a new employee. Organizations may also have to pay separation costs like unemployment compensation as well as having to do exit interviews. When it is all calculated, turnover costs can be thousands of dollars. Yet, with a thoughtful employee development strategy, businesses can often avoid this expensive process.
- Organization goals. Employee development should align with the overarching goals of the company. For example, if there are a high number of workers that are nearing the age of retirement, a company could look to expand the skills and responsibilities of those workers in hopes of encouraging them to stay on the job longer by making work more interesting and challenging. Alternatively, succession planning will also need to be a focus for the company. This will allow the more experienced employees to pass down their knowledge and skills to younger workers.
Employee development through mentoring
Workplace mentoring programs can be a powerful tool for employee development. Mentoring programs must have:
- Strong matching process. Mentor-mentee matching is one of the most important pieces of an effective mentoring program. Mentoring software is designed to make the matching process more efficient and effective.
- Goal setting. A central feature of mentorships is that the mentee develops goals they want to accomplish through the program.
- Set time commitments. Ensure that participants understand and are committed to spending the time needed for a successful mentorship.
- Monitoring of the mentorship. The mentoring program manager should monitor the mentorship to be sure that it is going well. Software, like Together, has easy-to-use features that help simplify the monitoring process.
To be successful, employers need to create an employee development strategy that fits with the organization’s goals. This way everything will be moving in the same direction. One of the best ways to encourage employee development is through workplace mentoring programs. Companies can easily integrate employee development into mentoring in many ways, including:
- Model it. Mentoring should become ingrained into an organization. That means everyone, including managers, should participate in some form of mentoring. This can include having employees from different departments participate in job rotation activities. Helping employees understand how different parts of the company fit together may open up some new skill opportunities for them. Leadership can also benefit from participating in mentoring, which can include having a mentor as well as being a mentor.
- Connection. Developing an authentic connection is vital to a successful mentoring experience. Building a good mentorship is like building a friendship. It requires trust and a positive connection. There are steps that mentors can take to help cultivate an authentic connection, paving the way to a successful mentorship. Once the connection is effectively established, mentoring can become a powerful tool for developing employee skills.
- Understand the mentees’ strengths and weaknesses. To successfully develop employees’ skills through mentoring, it is important to understand what their strengths and weaknesses are. Mentees need to understand their strengths so they can build on them. They’ll also need to accept they have areas of weaknesses. This will help them develop ways to overcome them.
- Develop trust. There is a high level of trust that develops in successful mentorships. It becomes a safe space for employees to set and reach goals. This type of trusting connection is key to using mentoring as an employee development tool. But, it takes time and patience.
- Aim high. Encourage employees to stretch themselves a little bit further when they set goals. This kind of challenge can help workers to develop new skills and a sense of accomplishment. Mentors should be prepared to motivate mentees to aim higher. During the mentorship, it is helpful to create a career plan and set milestones along the way. Doing this can keep the mentee motivated to go further.
Using mentoring as an employee development tool allows companies to improve productivity, increase employee engagement and reduce turnover. It is important to remember that employee development can have a direct impact on business growth.