Why Employee Development is So Important for Retention

 In Human Resources

Workplaces and employer/employee relationships are changing rapidly, due in part to the need to respond to the threat of COVID-19. That’s why building a culture of support and showing your employees you care about their future is more important than ever before. Supporting your employees in their long-term goals and taking an active role in their skill development is one of the best ways to build trust and loyalty, boost productivity, and improve retention rates.

A lack of advancement opportunities at work is one of the main reasons good employees quit their jobs. Making employee development a priority in your organization reduces turnover by ensuring your employees know you’re invested in their success.

How Employee Development Impacts Retention

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace survey, only 15 percent of U.S. employees felt engaged with their companies. Add to that a global pandemic which prevents workers from coming into the office and engaging with peers and supervisors, and it’s unlikely that number has improved. Keeping your employees engaged, building trust, and ensuring they know you’re committed to their success and future is more important now than ever before. 

Employee development, also commonly referred to as professional development, is the process of training workers to improve their existing skills and knowledge and build new abilities. When implemented correctly, employee development boosts productivity and profits as well as employee satisfaction and retention.

black woman sitting at desk with laptop smiling

The strategy works so well because it’s mutually beneficial. The employer enjoys higher productivity and a more skilled and capable workforce that can be trusted to handle the tasks delegated to them. Employees benefit because they’re able to broaden their professional horizons, build valuable skills and experience, and advance their careers.

Making employee development a part of your long-term business strategy ensures that your employee’s skills and abilities evolve over time in accordance with your industry and organizational goals. It also builds trust and loyalty, limiting the chances your employees will feel unengaged or unappreciated and ensuring they choose to advance their careers within your organization.

How to Train and Develop Employees

Employee development is not just about optimizing your employee’s ability to complete their daily tasks. It’s about learning what fosters their growth and development in their career within your organization, and taking steps to help them reach their long-term goals. 

Especially with more people working from home for the foreseeable future, it’s easy for employees to feel isolated and unappreciated. Make sure your team members feel seen and heard, invest in their future, and make their development part of your business strategy.

1. Soft-Skill Development

Most training focuses on teaching hard skills like word processing, database management, or customer service. While hard skills are important, soft skills are too often forgotten when it comes to employee training. Soft skills have proven essential for success in just about every modern industry, and too many employers and employees forget their importance. 

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Leadership
  • Effective communication
  • Time management
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Critical thinking
man using touch screen ipad for employee training

Training your employees on hard skills teaches them how to complete tasks. Investing in their soft skills teaches them how to navigate their work and career and embody the traits needed to succeed.

2. Training Built Into Work Hours

Employees almost universally dislike being asked to attend seminars or take courses of training outside of work hours. These kinds of training sessions tend to be overly long and unspecific and try to teach too much information at once. Asking your workers to take time out of their evenings, lunch hours, or weekends can make them feel like you don’t respect their boundaries.

Instead, offer microlearning opportunities to your employees. Microlearning is exactly what it sounds like. It means training your employees by providing them with “bite-sized content nuggets” that they can digest easily, over a longer period of time. This allows you to build employee development into work hours and create an ongoing dialogue whereby employees feel like you’re invested in their training and development while their free time remains their own.

3. A Culture of Communication

Schedule regular check-ins with your employees to discuss their long-term goals. Ask them how they hope to advance their careers within your organization and help them understand what actions they need to take to reach their specific objectives, and how you plan to help them do so.

woman in virtual meeting with HR about employee development

These kinds of supervisor-employee meetings are especially important with remote workers. Since conversations about career development can’t occur naturally in a regular office setting when everyone is working from home, it’s important to make these check-ins as purposeful and consistent as possible.

4. Opportunities for New Challenges

One of the best ways to invest in your employee’s career development and training is to offer them opportunities to build new skills and knowledge that falls outside their primary job function. Give them chances to take on new tasks, meet and engage with new people, and adopt new responsibilities. Show your star employees that you trust them to grow and advance within your organization.

Implement Employee Development and Other Retention Strategies in Your Company

Are you looking for ways to build a loyal workforce and improve employee retention? At Rush Recruiting & HR, we understand the importance of implementing effective employee-retention strategies and the impact they can have on your organizational culture and bottom line. 

We’re responding to the evolving needs of businesses and workforces as a result of COVID-19, and we’re here to help you optimize and grow your business through innovative and comprehensive strategies. 

Ready to boost retention and productivity? Get in touch today to get started.

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