As a leader at your company, helping employees grow their skillset is an important part of your job. Most professionals enjoy a challenge, want to learn new skills, and grow their career. When employees feel like they don’t have an opportunity for growth, it can take a toll on your entire staff, driving turnover and negatively impacting company culture. Some companies have limited resources so learning and development budgets can be tight, or opportunities for promotion are limited. So, how can you help provide your employees with exciting opportunities for professional growth? Here are three ideas to help leaders drive growth inside your company:
Listen to your employees’ career aspirations and provide guidance
As a manager or boss, it’s important to take the time to understand your employees career goals and aspirations. Ask collaborative questions such as: What skills and talents would you like to use more of? Which projects would you really like to work on? What do you need from me to help you succeed? Once you have a grasp on where they want to go, offer sound advice, and share career growth tips, like establishing a relationship with a mentor or attending a meetup or networking group. Demonstrate to them that their professional development is your priority. Consider bringing career coaches in-house—this could involve training sessions from local thought leaders or group learning opportunities taught by your leadership team. Find ways to drive fresh, new ideas and foster their passion to grow by giving them opportunities to gain skills, knowledge, and experience to inspire them to reach the next stage of their career.
Encourage questions and open dialogue
No matter how often you tell your employees to be open with you and ask questions, you can still find yourself confronted with nothing but silence. That’s normal! Understand each person is different and for some, asking questions can be intimidating. Invite your team members to be open with you by offering them different forums for feedback tailored to their preferred communication styles. For example, schedule 1:1s with each member of your team for a more personal setting or host team lunch-and-learns to open-up the conversation as a group. Consider establishing an open-door policy at your office to show your team members that you’re available to talk when they need guidance or have an idea.
Challenge them to learn
As a leader, it’s important to help your employees understand that they can always find ways to learn and grow professionally. While you can provide them with the tools they need, it’s their job to embrace new opportunities and challenge themselves to continually improve. Encourage them to be the best they can be and provide ideas on how they can get there. Keep their professional development top-of-mind by making it a regular topic in your team meetings and 1:1s. Acknowledge their successes and reward them for stepping up on a project or taking on a new task. Be sure to recognize them in a way that’s meaningful, whether it’s a shout out in a public forum, a private conversation, a compensation adjustment, or a title change.
Professional development not only increases retention, but it’s great for attracting new talent. Find out which other perks are the most valuable to the modern employee.