Employee Development: What Workers and Companies Can Do to Increase Their Skills and Strengths

Laura Baciu

Employee development is the ability to learn and apply the new knowledge by both the employees and the company. 

Techniques for a Faster and Easier Employee Development 

Companies hire and let go of people each year. This recruiting process takes time and money. People enter the stage, they use their skills and strengths in order to perform duties necessary for keeping the business successful.

Once they understand the essence of their job, they need to stay focused and to adapt to the daily, expected or unexpected situations. Besides skills and strengths, the employees need to have the ability to learn and to apply what is being learned. 

Employees learn at their workplace, that is a well-known fact. But employee development is more than simple learning. It is the learning process that is a part of the company policy/framework. It is a programme dedicated to employees that has a major effect on the productivity of the company. 

We prepared for you a lot of strategies for employee development inspired by the books The management and employee development review written by Kelly Graves [KG], and The quick guide to employee development by the McQuaig Institute [MQI]. 

What is Employee Development? 

Employee development is the process of developing the abilities of the people that work in a company. This illustrates the career perspective. At the same time, the employee development also drives the productivity and the profit of the company itself. This illustrates the market perspective. 

As we’ve already seen, there are two perspectives involved: career and market. The career perspective relates to the professional development of people. This perspective emphasizes the transformational journey within a company. This perspective answers the question “What is being done for the employees?”

The market perspective relates to the use of employee development to increase the productivity and the profit of the company. It emphasizes the relation between the new acquired abilities and the evolution of the jobs. This perspective answers the question “Why is there something done for the employees?”

Ideally, we may think that employee development is meant for the benefit of the workers. Of course, this assumption is partly true. Realistically, employee development is not supported just to benefit the workers. It’s also used for the growth and profit of the company. 

When individuals develop themselves, they perform better in an organization. Thus the organization increases its efficiency and profit on the market. Employee development is a theme that should be in the mind of both workers and managers. The entire process must have positive effects for both parties. 

What Does an Employee Do for His Development? 

employee development - what an employee can do
Source: OEDb

An employee from the age of 4th Industrial Revolution is aware of the technological and societal evolutions. She knows that not preparing means preparing to fail. 

He knows that the competitors on the job market hunt the same position. Only one can get the job at a certain point in time. He also knows that inside the company the skills must be updated. The strengths must be multiplied. An employee can do several important things for his development.

1. Evaluate the Current Skills and Knowledge

First of all, you have to know what your qualities are and how to cope with the flaws. There is no perfect employee, but one that can improve himself (just like AI does!).

Write down the best assets you possess. List some strategies for eliminating or reducing the most dangerous flaws. For example, if you always run out of time when the duty calls, try to make a calendar with Lumeer.

It will help you track all the general moves that you do in one day and it will help you to deal with each task separately. 

2. Ask for Feedback

We all sometimes think we got it right and we can master our tasks, especially if we are in the middle of the career. The truth is that people around us might see who we really are. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from the team members.

Their feedback is like a piece of intelligence. You can get access to useful information which can reveal an important side of you. Negative comments can increase the motivation to succeed.

Just like the following quote:

Positive comments will represent the recognition that fuels our capacity to move forward with optimism. 

3. Learn New Skills 

No one can learn one book in one day and apply it the next day. The key is to learn tiny new skills that help you deliver good results in a short amount of time. 

If you are part of the PR department for example, you could learn a few things about the front-end web development. This can prove useful in case you need to make some changes on the official website of the company. It helps you to understand a little bit about the clients that visit the website for information, shopping or entertainment. 

If you are part of the manufacturing department of a food company, you could learn more about the operational chain. This will give more meaning to your daily activities. 

Another top advice would be to ask yourself “How can I do task X in a simple yet clever manner?”. This creative exercise will help you to operate smart, thus you will not get stuck in the difficult situations. 

4. Build Experience and Share it with Others

If you are at the beginning of your working experience, add examples of activities that you have done and what skills you acquired after doing those activities.

As an employee with experience in the industry, you already understand the core of the job. You realize what are the goals of the company better than the juniors.

If you learned to adapt you can share your experience with the rest of the team. You can perform better when teaching someone else how to handle that particular task.

If you explain somebody how to do the job, you can also strengthen your ability to handle the tasks like a pro. 

5. Work Closely with the Team

Juniors, it’s your turn. The experts are not born. They are made in the labs of reality. One crucial way to develop as an employee is to learn from the team you work with.

Of course, solo time has its role to solidify your best assets. But only inside the team these assets will be tested for real.

Inside the team you will increase the confidence in your skills and strengths.

Take an example from the famous book by Austin Kleon: Steal like an artist. By working closely with a team you learn from those people in a friendly environment.

This might sound like a strategy outside of the employee development world. However, in fact, it is very useful.

By taking into consideration the trends you understand the global transformations. You also see the dynamics of the economic environment. Thus you will have different perspectives and find solutions to many problems. If knowledge is power, you better test that theory before it gets outdated. 

We have seen strategies that could be applied by the employees themselves. Next, it is the time to help the team leaders, the CEOs and the managers to select the best strategies for employee development as part of the company policy. 

What Can a Company Do for the Development of Its Own Employees? 

Each business of the 4th Industrial Revolution is aware of the market changes, technological progress and society’s major challenges. Each product must remain competitive while responding to the needs and desires of the customers. And products are made by employees with the help of the current technology. 

Developing the skills and strengths of the employees is important in order to create great teams, great products and great services. A company can do several things for the professional development of its employees.

1. Integrate Onboarding Portfolio into a Software

Recruiting is hard and costs a lot. But the harder situation is yet to come. The onboarding of the new employees is probably the first action from the field of employee development.

It is better to have an onboarding portofolio integrated into an app or a software. This way, the people can quickly get familiar with the company. They can understand the core tasks and the key performance indicators.

A good start will boost the productivity of the individuals. Their productivity helps deliver good products and services. 

2. Identify the Major Skills of the Teams and What Can Be Improved 

A company has to know what needs improvement. 

For example, if the members of one team don’t communicate too much with one another, things could go wrong. The leader needs to talk to the teams and find the reason behind this sort of problems.

It is clear that some communication skills need to be reinforced. In the end, certain solutions must be proposed. The feedback of the workers has to be integrated in these solutions. 

Robert Greene quote. The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways | Robert Greene quotes, Greene quotes, quote, Robert Greene
Source: Quote Fancy

3. Provide Support and Tools

The development of the employee won’t come out of thin air. Every company needs to prepare the right support for its teams.

This support includes includes physical assets (computers, telephones, machines), communication tools (chat app), documents (templates for frequent tasks).

Resources must be linked to the strategic objectives of the company. What’s more, resources need to strengthen the skills of the workers.

Besides buying new equipment when needed, the company has to maintain a high quality of the tools currently used by its teams. 

4. Train Both New and Existing Employees

Most of the companies assume that employee development is nothing more than classical training. Training is just one component of the development.

All the processes inside a business can lead to learning and applying new knowledge. The training hours should be scheduled according to a stable plan.

Aim for a friendly and informal atmosphere in these training sessions. These sessions should help the employees to achieve clear skills.

The training, done for both existing and new employees, is meant to link the new information with the expertise of the company as a whole. 

5. Create Real World Connections

Companies inhabit lively environments and markets. This is a great opportunity for workers to connect with the outer world for developing their skills and strengths.

Employees should connect with their job as well as with the industry as a whole (various experts, marketers, lecturers, couches etc.).

Managers should allow employees to participate in projects, programs, initiatives, working groups, contests, workshops, webinars, hackathons, accelerators, incubators, traveling sessions or themed weekends that connect their jobs with the rest of the industry. 

6. Ask for Feedback 

Leaders know that it’s vital to learn the opinions of other people. When using the democratic leadership style, a manager cooperates with his team.

People need to be heard. A lot of innovations started from listening to some brave ideas. Often, what they ask for is what they need the most to be productive and successful in their jobs.

7. Create Custom Development Plans and Self-development Surveys

This strategy should be applied by all the companies no matter of their level of maturity (whether it is a start-up or a highly recognizable brand).

The custom-made plans respond to the needs of each employee. The self-development surveys invite the employees to evaluate their development inside the company.

The employees can also propose actions for their well-being, evolution and cleverness in solving the tasks. When the company plans respect their personal opinions, the employees enjoy their work and become more productive. 

8. Create a Culture of Ongoing Development

This last strategy is what corporate dreams are made of. The technological players of the Silicon Valley started and perfected the culture of ongoing development. In those years, other companies still struggled to understand the interaction between the managers and workers.

A company wants to be competitive and to create good products and services. To do this, it has to learn and innovate on a daily basis. The ongoing development is not ongoing stress and evaluation. It is ongoing enrichment and passion for doing a job. 

How to Get Started?

Good employee development is one of the major goals in every business. Learning and applying new things takes time and effort. When done correctly, it drives each company towards a successful evolution of the services offered to the customers.

This article has showed us that the best way to succeed is to have both employees and companies working for employee development in a collaborative manner. This is where we can help you.

Lumeer is a collaborative work management software that can be used to gather all the employees and team leaders in one place. The business package allows you to have unlimited automations, the needed amount of team members, unlimited storage, customizable features, data backup and technical support.

Start employee development today: