There are a lot of business mentors and life coaches who say that the most important resource of any organization or company are their employees. Oftentimes, though, the efforts to harness their skills and talents are too focused on the institutional goals of the company. They seldom take into account how the employees feel about it, or whether there was something they wanted to do, which might possibly be done in the company premises on company time.
Employers can take a more proactive stance when it comes to the personal growth of their employees. For example, for employees who would like to improve their communication skills, you can help them find a college English course online. You can also help those who are interested in developing other skills and competencies. There are virtually no limits in how you can help your employees grow. Here are a few suggested ways for you to support your employees’ personal advancement.
1. Identify Common Goals
The first thing that any employer should do to help their employees grow is to identify common goals. You have your own goals as an employer and the employee has his or her own goals. For employers and employees to work together in a mutually beneficial way, they should identify their common goals.
To be able to do this, the employer should be able to make the employee see the importance of their role in the larger scheme of things—the overall priorities and goals of the organization or company. This would help the employee understand and realize the importance of performing their job well, and how this is to the overall effort to achieve the goals of the company. The employer, in turn, should have a one-on-one with the employee to know their professional and personal development goals.
2. Create A Personal Growth Plan
Once employer and employee have identified their common goals, a personal growth plan can be created for the employees. This should be based on the professional and personal development goals of the employee, but should also take into account the company’s goals. Ideally, the employee’s growth plan would be to gradually and eventually take on more and greater responsibilities in the organization or company as he or she moves up over time.
Keep in mind that your employees have individual goals and ambitions. This could be anything such as a promotion, getting a raise, or it could even be studying at night or on the side to qualify for a role that has specific educational or training requirements. Making your employees see and realize that they can achieve their goals within your company would be crucial to persuade them to strive to grow within your organization.
3. Promote A Culture Of Learning
The basic yet intangible elements of an effective and productive organization are the skill sets and competencies of their employees. You don’t really see their skills and competencies; you just see the results when they do their work. The better the skills of the employees in performing their respective individual roles, the better their job performance would be. The higher the level of their competencies, the higher their productivity and the more effective they become.
To be able to achieve this, you should promote a culture of learning in the workplace. Workers and employees should be given time to share their learnings, the new skills they acquired, and how they resolved issues and problems. Managers and supervisors should also have time to share their learning experiences with each other and among themselves. They should also be encouraged to cascade relevant aspects of these learnings to their respective teams and groups.
4. Give Employees ‘Growth Time’
Most employees pursue their personal development goals on their own. This is a good sign of their initiative and gives them a healthy space to nurture their individuality and passions. The company should celebrate these passions and interests. For instance, you could have a wellness program for those into health and sports.
Employees often enroll in further education such as graduate studies on their own, they learn new skills and competencies and pursue their passion in their own time. This often adds to their stress and pressure as the additional activities and tasks compete for their energy, attention, and time. But in the long run, their growth would eventually benefit the company.
Employers can give their employees ‘growth time’ to pursue their individual personal development priorities during company time. This would create an environment where employees feel the company’s support for their personal growth.
The company, in turn, can ask them to use their newly acquired skills and knowledge to solve company problems, or make suggestions and recommendations, as may be applicable. For instance, employees taking Master in Business Administration (MBA) studies could be asked to tackle company problems in their research papers or theses. In time, this would enhance the organizational competitiveness of the company.
5. Set A Timeline For Monitoring Progress
A crucial part of personal development plans is how to make those common goals and personal objectives measurable and time-bound. Employers should set a timeline to monitor the progress of employees on their personal development goals. This can include a feedback mechanism so they can make adjustments as may be needed from time to time.
Companies should give periodic and timely feedback to their employees on their personal development plans. These should be timely. For instance, team leaders and managers can give weekly feedback while the tasks, events, and activities are still fresh in their minds. While it’s important to have annual reviews, it’s also equally important to have weekly feedback sessions, monthly reviews, and quarterly assessments. This is important so that the employee can make adjustments based on the feedback that they receive.
6. Encourage Mentoring And Coaching
Employers should encourage a culture of mentoring and coaching within their organizations or companies. It could be a combination of formal and informal structures and venues within which the employees can share their learnings with managers, supervisors, and colleagues. For instance, an employee who received formal training on advanced skills and techniques could be given time to echo their learnings and share it with their colleagues. You can have these recorded in videos so that they won’t have to repeat it to several audiences.
This could also be done in combination with informal structures and venues. For instance, employees who have special knowledge and training in specific academic disciplines or technical areas could be asked to share some of their know-how during group lunches. You can do this in rotation so that everyone who wants to share their skills and competencies would have their time and opportunity to shine. Managers and supervisors should encourage the timid ones to take part.
7. Nurture Their Non-Work Passions
A lot of employees also have other passions and pursuits which are totally unrelated to their specific roles and responsibilities at work. For example, some of your employees could be into the arts. They might be painting or sculpting on weekends. Some of them might be bloggers and vloggers with an immense following. Some of them might be doing volunteer work for non-profit organizations thru outreach or blood donation activities.
You can tap into this enormous source of energy and passion by giving your employees the venue and time to share their talents, skills, and energy. For example, you can ask the employee who paints to showcase their talents by organizing an exhibit in the lobby of the company offices. You can also organize joint outreach projects with employees. With their permission, you can feature blogs and vlogs of employees in your company newsletter or social media pages.
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To be an effective partner of your employees in their personal development plans, your company should have a policy of nurturing and recognizing the individual efforts of your employees towards their personal growth. You can do this by identifying the common goals that your company and your employees have. This is crucial before you can create personal development or growth plans for your employees.