Do you and your employees like to set New Year’s resolutions? January is a great time to leverage the New Year’s momentum to focus on employee growth and development in the year ahead. Not only is professional development a powerful way to increase your organizational potential, it’s an important part of any successful retention strategy.
“A key part of that retention is designing a career path that offers professional development and upward mobility,” a co-founder told Forbes. “So, in 2019, we really want to dig in and design long-term plans with our employees. We want to ensure that they will be able to grow professionally and gain new skills, and that they can envision what it looks like to go from an entry-level role to a top position.”
So, where do you begin if you’re tackling employee development in 2019? Here are three easy-to-implement suggestions that don’t require huge budgets or external resources.
Leverage lateral job movement
As you plan and evaluate staffing for the upcoming year, keep your current employees top of mind for any existing or new openings. These don’t need to be promotions—keep lateral movement in mind, too. Lateral movement within an organization is one way to help employees learn and grow without adding management or higher level responsibilities for which the employee may not be ready. Rather than feel stuck in a position, taking on a new lateral role supports employees in their desire to increase their knowledge and advance their career.
Identify ways to share internal knowledge
Employees don’t have to go outside the organization to obtain development—look for ways to reinforce coaching and mentoring relationships. These don’t need to be limited to managers and direct reports but can be powerful knowledge sharing opportunities when you match people with others they may not know inside the organization. Implementing even the simplest mentoring and coaching programs offer a powerful way to build and reinforce cross-functional relationships, as well as ensure you’re not losing internal knowledge when someone retires or leaves the organization.
Provide bandwidth for development opportunities
Development is not something you always have to drive. In fact, it’s wise to allow engaged employees to own their professional development process—they understand their strengths and challenges, and many will seek out the experiences in which they want to participate. But they may feel there’s not enough time to focus on development activities. One way an organization can empower this type of self-driven development is by setting aside time for employees to engage in workshops, online courses, or participate in other training content. Let employees know you encourage them to make time to learn new skills and then allow them to create a plan to do so.
Collaborate with your HR partner to look at how you could implement some of these approaches this year and be sure to ask employees what development opportunities they’d like to see in the year ahead. Proactively communicating about these topics demonstrates that you’re committed to taking care of your culture and people during the New Year and beyond.