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How to Help Your Employees Develop

Although some organizations argue that external training programs are the most effective, there are also plenty of advantages associated with internal training for both employers and employees. As executive recruiters, employers are always asking us what they can do to improve employee retention. If you’re already offering competitive salaries, the opportunity to do meaningful work, and exclusive benefits, the next step is to enhance your training and development opportunities. For instance, there are various informal methods that can be very constructive for developing talent internally. When it comes to talent development, sometimes it can be helpful to go back to the basics.

  1. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings. Talent development should be a top priority of any manager. Unfortunately, too many employers fail to learn what training their employees need to reach their short- and long-term career goals. The best way to learn is to ask them what they find most compelling about their current position, what tasks they find most challenging, and how they want to grow. Then, be an active listener and show them empathy during these meetings.
  2. Encourage job shadowing. Job shadowing isn’t only effective for potential job candidates. It can also be helpful for current employees so that they can view what life is like at many different levels of an organization. A growing number of employers are promoting take your coworker to workdays to improve engagement and create knowledge across company functions. It’s easy to start a program like this by asking employees to list a couple of different jobs they would like to shadow for a day.
  3. Assign formal mentors and coaches. Perhaps one of the best ways to develop talent is to assign formal mentors. However, be prudent when choosing mentors. Successful mentors will already have the requisite knowledge that enables them to teach new employees.  They should also be well versed in your work culture, honest, and have strong communication skills.
  4. Cross-train your employees. It’s essential to assume the next person-up strategy for those times when your key players are out of work due to vacation, retirement, or changing roles. Cross-training can be effective for building a team of employees with a working understanding across many different disciplines. Although it might cost you some short-term productivity, your organization will become more efficient in the long run.

The good news is that these talent development methods don’t require many resources or a significant investment, but they can still make a significant impact. Remember that most employees want to advance and there are many ways you can support them along the way. 


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