Employee development plays a much more essential role in business success than you might think. Studies show that employees feel happier and more engaged in the work process when their companies commit to employee development. Two measures of this:
A. Companies that offer opportunities for employee development have a 34% higher retention rate.
B. Organizations with happy and engaged employees earn 21% more profit than companies with a less engaged workforce.
Are you sure that you provide equal employee development opportunities? What steps and tools do you use for this? Let’s dive deep into what employee development means and why it’s vital for your company’s success.
Key facts about employee development
Employee development focuses on long-term skills your workforce can use throughout their careers and also apply to their personal lives. Research has illustrated that organizations with a strong learning culture outperformed their competitors. Therefore, companies must try to analyze what motivates employees to enhance their skills.
According to the training industry, employees become more motivated when they recognize the importance of their work. Training and onboarding can help employees examine how their work fits into the company’s structure, mission, and goals. However, mere motivation isn’t enough to cultivate a culture of employee development. To encourage management and employees to upskill, try to find and apply methods and tools to help you achieve needed results.
Employee development isn’t a solo journey but rather a partnership. Suppose you develop employees properly and update training plans. In that case, they’ll be ready to assume new roles and provide the best customer experience. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at what other benefits you have as a leader when developing employees.
Benefits and skills to develop a workforce
According to the World Economic Forum, knowledge evolves and accelerates both old and new roles in all industries. Therefore, active and innovative skills development and talent management are essential. These require an employee development strategy that quickly becomes more specific and takes place across all levels.
Why pay attention to employee development?
People analytics through skill matching. A company can quickly identify candidates best suited for an open task, project, or job using talent mobility practices and tools. Companies can use people analytics to optimize learning modes and resources, thus developing skills, productivity, business results, turnover, and promotions.
Increased employee involvement. In a nutshell, your employees will commit to an effective work-life balance if they know that their work isn’t in vain and there’s the opportunity to learn and develop both personally and professionally.
Succession pool development. The development of a pool of successors aims to improve skills and retrain the workforce. It helps companies save time and money on employee development, promote a culture of lifelong learning, and raise the overall professional level of employees.
Agile to upskill and reskill the workforce. Agile workforce strategy focuses on small team collaboration, fast product delivery, flexibility, and responsiveness. To achieve agility, you can tailor personnel and business decisions based on workforce data.
Tackling skill gaps. By investing in the development of your employees, you can overcome a lack of essential skills. This is an effective method to save money by offering your employees the chance to gain competitive skills in the market.
What skills to develop in your employees?
Imagine a creative and flexible team with an exceptional work ethic, ability to solve problems, be communicable, prioritize, and multitask! Everyone wins – both the employees and the organization.
Thus, the practical applications of professional development are huge. It helps organizations diversify the skills of their employees and solve problems arising from external talent markets, digital trends, and more.
Top 7 skills employers look for in candidates
Employers nowadays focus on such soft skills as:
- Leadership. These skills help motivate others and ensure team management’s rapid tasks to contribute to a project in a leadership position. Common leadership skills include active listening, reliability, providing and receiving feedback, and patience.
- Time management. Self-management skills ensure effective prioritization, concentration on professional growth, and contribution to the organization’s work as a whole.
- Fast learning. These skills are fundamental, given the ever-changing work needs and the necessity for employers to remain competitive when implementing new initiatives. Examples of fast-learning skills include collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Speaking about critical thinking…
- Critical thinking. Employees that apply critical thinking are reflective, independent, and competent. This skill helps them make important decisions, remain well-informed, and strengthen the knowledge economy.
As for hard skills, companies prefer to develop employees in such areas as:
- Digital literacy. 57% of executives highlighted the value of the need for flexibility that digitally literate employees can offer. Thus, digital literacy includes knowledge in using digital tools to solve problems, create innovative projects and improve communication.
- Data analytics. The more data (structured and unstructured) organizations collect, the more they need professionals to manage, process, and interpret it —widespread introduction of state-of-the-art technologies such as big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
- Data visualization. Data visualization is another vital skill that is gaining popularity in job postings. Data visualization professionals interpret info and organize it into meaningful dashboards, graphs, charts, tables, and more.
To discover external talent market trends, detect your workforce skill gaps, and use pro tools such as the talent marketplace.
Ways to structure your employee development plan
Of course, building hard and soft skills is a valuable idea in the first steps of employee development. However, it’s also vital to determine competencies you’d like to develop or find in employees.
Competencies include integrated knowledge and qualities people need to perform a specific job effectively. When determining competencies for each role in your company, you can tell your employees what knowledge the organization values and requires achieving growth.
Step 1: Outline the principles for your competency framework
Start with the basics and plan critical principles to your competency system:
- Engage employees
- Communicate with your team
- Use the appropriate competencies for the job.
Step 2: Design the purpose and structure of your future competency model
Define the purpose of your competency system by attracting the best relevant talent for new vacancies. Use the competency structure to fine-tune your curriculum or identify and close skills gaps.
Step 3: Create a project team and collect data
A variety of actions will give you key competencies, from the skills needed to hire candidates to the competencies critical to recruitment training and the strategic skills an organization needs.
Step 4: Draft a competency framework
Check whether you will include only competencies that you can measure or coordinate with specific experience levels, such as junior, middle, senior, or expert.
Step 5: Get ready for rollout
It’s essential to explain why you implement the employee development plan and how you’ll use it if you want to receive support from people throughout all levels of the organization.
Employee development methods and practices
Working on employee development pays off in the long run, and investing in training and upskilling your team leads to excellent results. It will shape a more qualified team for the C-suite, pave the way to a successful future of collaboration, expand new professional horizons, and energize them with competitive skills.
Employee development methods
Josh Bersin identified the 4 methods of corporate learning for employee development in organizations:
- Microlearning (short forms of training: videos, articles, microlearning programs, etc.).
- Macrolearning (e-learning courses, such as MOOC: mass open online courses, simulations with AR and VR).
- Miscellany of group learning (online conferences, innovation sessions, leadership development programs).
- On-the-job training (coaching, developmental tasks, mentoring).
Employee development practices
Well-established knowledge-sharing processes bring significant benefits to organizations. The best practices in knowledge sharing help involve employees from different levels and create a safe space for collaboration, questions, and answers.
According to Degreed, knowledge sharing promotes on-the-job learning. Plus, 55% of employees prefer to learn new skills from senior management. To implement effective knowledge-sharing methods, try the following practices:
- Set goals. Outline key benefits and treat your knowledge-sharing process like any other project, setting SMART goals with clear deadlines, goals, and KPIs.
- Be open to interaction. This will encourage employees to collaborate and share their knowledge with each other and with managers.
- Define your employees. Encouraging employees to create content on their behalf and providing rewards (cash, gifts, appreciation) help stimulate their employees to pass on knowledge.
- Build leadership. Investing in the leader’s development is also profitable; it increases competence and motivates other employees to develop.
- Power up your employee development with data. Combine all internal and external data and technology to develop your employees according to these external trends while aligning with the company’s internal goals.
- Measure the results. Measure subscriptions, downloads, likes, real-life implementations, time spent adapting, learning program gaps, and opportunities to improve these.
You can simplify knowledge planning and share resources with the proper practices and tools. Let’s consider how to best utilize tools.
Employee development tools to scale, plan, and train
All kinds of organizations: from small and medium-sized businesses to growing companies and corporate organizations benefit from employee development software that provides tools for creating, publishing, managing, monitoring, and facilitating the development of specially designed employee training and strategies.
How to choose employee development tools
When choosing employee development tools for your team, consider the interests of three groups:
- Your HR team that is seeking to automate the workflows and easily track & measure their results
- Your employees who want to see a real impact on their skills’ development
- Your business, talking the language of ROI, cost-effectiveness, and overall impact on business success.
Types of employee development tools
Knowledge management allows you to innovate, improve decision-making, engage, and retain your employees. Consider knowledge-sharing tools you can use to automate routine workflows, facilitate internal policies, and mentor:
1. Learning management system (LMS)
Learning management systems includes assessing skills gaps, learning pathways, and blended learning. It’s more lucrative than offline training and helps businesses create training programs for groups and individuals.
2. Skills management platforms (SMP)
SMP allows you to assess employees’ existing skills, identify gaps in skills, and develop an action plan to address these disparities. For employees, SMP tools act as centralized skills with career cards and training recommendations to keep pace with company growth and future jobs.
3. Knowledge base
The idea of a knowledge base is simple: it provides a centralized platform for storing and managing learning resources. Knowledge base tools provide search engine services with advanced and customizable filters, analytics, and content management features.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how quickly the world can change, both in personal and professional aspects. This volatility is why employee development opportunities are more important than ever.
Employee development programs require more than an annual “training day” or a sprinkling of seminars throughout the year. Your business should constantly be developing its existing talent through various tactics and strategies. By helping your talented team reach its full potential, you’ll keep your business competitive and agile.
Comprehensive software solutions and people analytics tools, such as Market Intelligence and smartPlan, will come in handy when you need to analyze employee skills and help talent climb the organizational ladder.
Check out some practical employee development cases from our clients as well: