Focus on Career Development
The market continues to evolve on a constant basis. In order to be successful means that you need to embrace change. Having a long successful career is no longer about doing the same things and staying in the same role for your entire career. What is does mean is understanding individual passions, strengths, and skills and finding the best way to apply them to answer the market’s needs and strengthen the company. HR can provide the necessary support to gain access to training and coaching for transitioning into the careers that will fit our changing world the best.
The more time you invest in giving opportunities to employees to continue to grow and learn the more valued they will feel. Rather than limiting growth opportunities and career development to only employees who show high potential and your senior employees, you should invest in your rank and file staff as well.
The following are three effective ways that career development can be encouraged:
Provide managers with training in coaching skills. What coaching does is focus on growth instead of a traditional results approach. It focuses on using the passions and skills of employees to maximize satisfaction and positively impact both the organization and the individual.
Provide cross-training and mentoring programs. Those programs promote company connections and closer relationships, while at the same time enhancing positive impact, opportunities, and skills.
Encourage employees to continue to develop their skills through shadowing and networking opportunities. Shadowing and networking are similar to mentoring experiences and offer cross-department collaboration in addition to individual development.
Help Bring People Together
Whenever employees are able to make personal connections with their managers, teammates, and co-workers, it provides them with a true sense of belonging which results in higher engagement. Whenever managers stay holed up in their offices and interact with employees only to talk about work-related issues, people start feeling disconnected and de-humanized. Make help available so employees feel that should they feel stressed or anxious they can seek advice.
The coaching skills that we previously discussed – where the focus is on asking questions instead of just giving answers – can help managers connect on a more personal level with employees.
When people are able to engage personally with others they are much happier. Incorporate this level of engagement into your corporate culture. Along with making connections between managers and employees, the following are three things that can be done to help employees connect with one another.
Host all-company events that bring different levels and departments together. Promote virtual donut meetings where employees drink coffee or eat donuts and talk about personal things like their next vacation or their children.
Encourage employees to take breaks with their peers. There was a story in the New York Times a while back that showed that employees who took their cigarette breaks together were happier and more effective. It wasn’t the nicotine that did it but talking with their fellow co-workers. Following a break, employees were more productive, more creative, and more refreshed. Encourage employees to quit smoking but keep their breaks. Don’t worry about productivity being lost due to breaks. They will make up for this time with increased engagement and energy.
Make Contributions To The Greater Good
In addition to employees completing the tasks that are associated with their individual jobs, they also want to feel like their work has a purpose and they are contributing in some way to something greater. This need can be met by philanthropic pursuits, and also provide another outlet to bring people together from various levels and areas within the company. Individuals can share their talent, like providing a non-profit with graphic design or business analysis, run a marathon to raise money, or sort goods at a food bank.
Encourage employees to offer suggestions or start committees for philanthropy projects that can contribute to a cause they are passionate about. Provide time off to employees who volunteer.
Making an investment in employees can yield very high returns. When a few selected steps are taken it can reward the company with increased levels of performance, engagement, and energy. So what is the first step that you are going to take?