The number one reason why employees leave relates to lack of growth and development opportunities. Employees are often left to fend for themselves in developing their knowledge and skill which doesn’t always work. Plus – what about the exit of retirees? How are you filling the void with the concern of losing precious intellectual capital and experience?
Staff development doesn’t happen by osmosis. As a leader, you need to be diligent and intentional by making sure employees are trained and developed to perform at their best. In addition, what are you doing to hold employees accountable, ensuring that the training sticks and their behavior changes? It’s an on-going effort that should not be missed. It’s also a good time to look yourself in the mirror and ask – am I walking the walk by being a continuous learner and committed to personal growth? If the answer is yes – you’re on the right track.
1. Make Employee Development a HIGH Priority
I’ve worked with many leaders and managers who say “I don’t have time or money for this.” The truth is that you can’t afford to miss the opportunity to spend the time with your employees to make sure they get the support and training they deserve. Some might think performance reviews take the place of professional development and that’s simply not true. Performance Reviews provides a rear-view look at what’s happened and Professional Development looks at future growth and desired outcomes.
- Do you fall into the trap of “I don’t have time or money”?
- How important is it for you to make sure employee development becomes a priority for you and your business?
2. Schedule Regular Appointments
Create a cadence, rhythm and routine of meeting with your employees one-on-one. Especially in today’s world of Covid 19, you must connect with your employees. It’s very easy to fall into the trap – “out of sight, out of mind”. Especially with a more remote workforce, employees need connections and it’s very important that leaders be proactive in reaching out to their staff. Obviously day-to-day topics are covered; however, in addition, it’s critically important that you carve out time to discuss their role, growth opportunities, on-the-job training plan, etc. You might ask, how often should I do this? The answer is it depends. Use informal conversations to discuss development. In addition, you should at least be meeting with your employees on a quarterly basis to discuss ways that they can improve, grow and ensure that you are also tapping into their strengths.
- When was the last time you met with your employees to discuss their growth and development plan? If you did, GREAT and what’s been the result of this effort?
3. Work With Your Employee to Develop a Growth Plan
An Individual Development Plan provides a great tool with goals, action items and success factors. When I work with clients, I typically help them create these plans so they have a road map and guide to keep them on track and accountable. These plans are iterative and change over time. Another tip is to give the employee the responsibility of updating their own plan. When something is written down, you always have documentation to refer back to. Don’t allow your memory to keep track of everything the employee needs to work on.
- Do you use an Individual Development Plan when working with employees on their growth and development?
4. Communicate Expectations
THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT!!
Communicating expectations and also getting buy-in from employees on what they heard, understood and commit to is critical. This is where many problems occur – assuming your message was clear and accepted the way you had intended it to be. REMEMBER at this point, it’s important to dialog with the employee versus TELLING this person what to do. Unless you get buy-in and confirm commitment, you’ll get what you asked for – confusion and misinterpretation.
- Can you recall a time when an employee didn’t meet your expectations?
- Why do you think that happened?
- What responsibility do you need to take in this situation?
5. Provide Feedback
Feedback is a tricky thing for many people mainly because when you approach the topic of “I need to talk to someone and give them feeback”, it tends to be negative. In other words, you’re trying to fix a problem. For feedback to work, you must position it in a way that is supportive and constructive, not destructive. Leaders who get this right are good at having trusting relationships to begin with and build a culture where feedback both positive and constructive is the norm.
- How comfortable are you in giving positive and constructive feedback to your employees?
Keeping good employees is an ongoing, time-consuming and rewarding process.
BELIEVE IN YOUR EMPLOYEES AND THEY WILL BELIEVE IN YOU!
If you want to talk about ways to engage and retain good employees, reach out!
You can also request an Individual Development Plan Template to use with your staff.