We bet you don’t employ the entire range of employee development methods. In fact, however, you can get truly creative and step away from your typical L&D initiatives. In this blog post, we’ll uncover employee development strategies you can try to get instant results and reinforce employee engagement.
7 ways to develop a modern approach to employee development
There’s no silver bullet to devising your employee development strategy. For example, small teams might benefit from job rotations and training, while enterprise organizations think in long-term perspectives, and see fit to heavily invest in leadership development. Further on in this article, we’ll present common handy employee development methods that can enrich most organizations and teams.
1. Leadership-driven employee development
Gallup’s research discovered that not only does strong leadership impact employee engagement, but employee development potential as well. The future is leadership-driven. Here’s why: skilled leaders and managers positively influence employees’ development through mentoring, timely promotion or rotation, constructive feedback, recognition of achievements, and more.
On the other hand, lack of strong leadership negatively impacts business by causing high turnover rates, poor motivation, low team morale, etc.
Thus, by developing your leadership, you create a foundation for future leaders and a robust internal talent pool.
2. Succession pool development
The succession pool (or internal talent pool) is one of the typical employee development methods. It allows for employees to take on new roles and positions without prior training. For example, if an organization suddenly opens a Head of a Marketing department vacancy, the succession pool can ensure that there’s a trained specialist available who can quickly replace the previous holder. Don’t confuse succession talent pool with time in bench, though – the latter option implies a paid salary even during an employee’s time-out, and is aimed at simply retaining an employee during temporary project shutdowns, switching roles, etc.
Succession pool development, in turn, aims at upskilling and reskilling the workforce. As a result, it helps businesses save time and money on workforce training, promotes a continuous learning culture, and improves the professional level of employees.
Whether you’re an enterprise or an SMB business, it’s never too late or too early to start building your succession talent pool and increase your talent mobility potential.
3. Delegation of authority
Delegation of authority is one of the simplest and most straightforward approaches to employee development. You can also kill two birds with one stone: lessening the workload of intensively involved employees while also empowering other employees with more complicated and creative tasks.
The rule of thumb is to delegate steadily and gradually, so you don’t overwhelm employees with tasks they aren’t trained for.
This technique works best in small and medium teams, where you can track employees’ ability to perform delegated tasks and quickly provide feedback.
Delegation of authority perfectly fits into a paradigm of an Irresistible organization (a term coined by Deloitte). Irresistible organizations engage their employees through meaningful work, hands-on training, a positive working environment, and self-directed learning opportunities.
Traditionally, employees build their careers from top to down. However, careers often don’t follow this set path. In fact, employees often pursue horizontal career moves and geographical relocation. Moreover, employees sometimes even settle for lower positions, just to achieve a work-life balance, move to a new location, etc.
Rotation provides flexibility in career development, aids in employee onboarding, fosters internal talent pool, and helps avoid conflict situations.
Secondment is another variation of rotation that implies rotation outside the company. For instance, an employee might join a company’s branch or a subsidiary, or temporarily join another company.
As a part of your employee development strategy, it’s paramount to promote a culture of mentorship and peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing.
Mentoring is a popular employee development method because it’s a two-way street. Studies show that mentees get promoted 5 times more often than their colleagues without mentors. Mentors, in turn, increase their own chances of promotion chances by 6.
By involving experienced colleagues in becoming mentors, you boost their engagement and empower them with knowledge-sharing. Mentees master new skills more willingly and quickly compared to traditional training approaches since they develop career confidence and a rapport with their senior colleagues.
Some companies implement mentoring programs with a twist. For example, General Electric launched a reverse mentorship program in 1999 that connected senior and junior colleagues. In this program, junior-level employees taught their principal peers new technologies and tools. General Electric isn’t the only one that launched a reverse mentoring program – in fact, companies like Target and Cisco run similar initiatives to bridge the gap between senior and junior peers, improve knowledge-sharing, and boost diversity in the workplace.
Long-term training and workshops are becoming a thing of the past as the business environment becomes more dynamic. That’s when microlearning steps in. The concept of microlearning is simple: you deliver bite-sized pieces of training to train your workforce right here and right now.
Some microlearning benefits include:
Despite all the tangible benefits, microlearning isn’t suitable for cases that require substantial knowledge and focus on the bigger picture. It is, however, great for short-term goals and situations that require on-the-spot training.
“The very first thing I tell every intern on the first day is that their internship exists solely on their resume. As far as I am concerned, they are a full-time member of my team. For all the negative stereotypes about millennials, you would be astounded by how hard they work when they believe their contribution matters.” – Jay Samit, serial entrepreneur.
The concept of an internship isn’t new. Since the medieval era, artisans would commonly take on apprentices to share their knowledge and prepare future craftsmen. Today, many companies opt for internships as a part of their employee development strategy, where students and undergraduates play the role of modern apprentices.
Having an internship on a CV is one of the key differentiators for future hires. For example, companies operating in software technology, IT, and consulting are more likely to hire employees with internship experience rather than hires without the same track record. At Facebook, a whopping 80,2% of employees are ex-interns.
Internship opens many doors for your employees:
- Networking with professionals that interns wouldn’t have the chance to meet otherwise in their usual environment.
- Provides the ability to test the waters and explore potential career paths.
- Facilitates a smooth transition to a new job role with the proper training.
To make the internship a mutually beneficial venture, support your interns at every stage within the company. Help them find a mentor, socialize with their peer colleagues, and provide frequent feedback and performance reviews.
Employee development is a process that doesn’t have a defined start and finish; it’s one that needs to be constantly engaged. While there isn’t an employee development method that fits everyone, try different approaches individually with each employee or team. Set goals and analyze results to figure out what works for your organization and what doesn’t.
To foster employee development initiatives, you’ll need employee buy-in. Explain the tangible benefits they could receive outside of new knowledge and skills: the opportunity to be transferred to a new position, a raise, peer recognition, etc.
Do you want to learn more about the best employee development strategies that can enrich your business? Drop us a line and our consulting team will get back to you promptly.