Reflection is a key part of personal development, so it’s vital to provide a dedicated space and time in which your employees can openly discuss and evaluate their experience of work.
Without a serious channel in which to openly air problems or sticking points, employees will find it impossible to stay motivated, eventually becoming disgruntled or burnt out. This is not a form of sabotage on the part of the employee but a symptom of not being heard. It can go completely unnoticed, leading to under-developed employees and stunted business progression.
Opening up a forum of this type takes courage, tact, and responsibility; it also requires diligence to continue these sessions, even when things seem to be going well. Without it, you may be surprised to find your employees deciding to develop elsewhere. Opening a discussion can reveal new ways to move the business forwards.
A stable and clear organisational structure
The chain of command is important to establish. It’s a healthy a business practice to have in place, particularly during times of crisis or delegation, but it also serves another purpose, as the business hierarchy is also the roadmap for success to your employees. An employee’s career journey should be straight-forward, with upward movement regularly enough that the opportunity to move in to a more senior position feels like a reality. This alone will provide employees with the motivation to develop themselves.
As with personal development, there’s no such thing as too much professional development.
Of course, in the back of an employer’s mind is their most common conundrum – if you provide your employees with enough training they might seek promotion elsewhere; provide them with very little, and you won’t want them to stay.
This business trope is only true if you’re not willing to let an employee progress quickly. If a member of staff is eager to learn, soaks up training and develops rapidly, the only real response is to recognise this and consider a promotion or pay rise. This is the cost of great staff, and it is well worth paying.
In order to develop, employee’s boundaries will need to be pushed - this is the heart of professional development, but often gets confused with simply increasing the workload. Giving employees more responsibility incrementally will give them the opportunity to reveal skills that might be have been impossible to showcase in their current role.
By Alistair Hardaker, content writer, Portfolio Procurement