Professional development is a frequently discussed yet often overlooked part of the job. In an ideal world it would be prioritized, but with heavy workloads it tends to fall to the wayside. Some companies are excellent about holding trainings, but maybe they aren’t specific, and employees see them as time wasters instead of beneficial.
As an employer, you should do everything in your power to encourage your employees’ professional development. If you make it a priority, they will begin to adjust similarly. Try the five steps below to ensure your employees are continuing their educational growth while working for you.
1. Create Individualized Plans and Set Goals
Telling an employee they need to seek out more professional development opportunities isn’t nearly as effective as designing a plan just for them. Set up a meeting where you discuss their career goals and skills they’d like to acquire to assist them in their job. Develop a plan to help them achieve certain goals, like three webinars a month and one outside training. By having some specific and measurable steps to reach, plus the roadmap to get them there, you’ll notice your employees pursuing professional development more.
2. Make It Easy
Don’t set standards for professional development and then set up roadblocks for why it isn’t possible. If an employee requests a day to attend a training, approve the time off. If there’s a fee associated with a beneficial conference, find a way to get the training paid for – without putting the burden on your employee.
3. Be an Example
There’s a reason ‘lead by example’ is such a common phrase used to describe being an effective manager. Your employees want to follow someone who practices what they preach, instead of seeming like a hypocrite. Hold yourself to the same standard of professional development requirements and make sure your employees see the effort you put in, as well.
4. Monitor Their Education
Because you have a plan with goals, you can easily follow up with your employees and see how everything is working. Not only does this help you ensure they’re pursuing professional development, it also makes you a more engaged manager. Talk to them about their plan and readjust as necessary to make sure they feel they’re benefiting as much as possible.
5. Provide Feedback
If you see their professional development paying off, let them know! This is another way to show you’re paying attention and care about their growth. If you feel they aren’t attending relevant training sessions or maybe aren’t retaining much, talk to them about issues and work to find solutions.
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