Throughout the course of our lives most of us will have several different jobs. These may be with the same company but in different positions, or with different companies altogether. Some people may even have several completely different careers in their lifetime.
As we grow older, we learn from our personal lives, our jobs, and our experiences. We change, evolve and pick up knowledge and skills along the way. As we do, we typically desire to use those skills and knowledge and continue to learn more. But how do we do that?
As managers and supervisors, we should be constantly encouraging the growth and professional development of our employees. This will help foster a positive work culture, where employees feel valued and want to contribute to the success of the company. Yes, sometimes this will mean that we have invested time and resources in them, and they take their new knowledge and skills to another job, but that doesn’t mean that we will not get a great return on investment in the meantime.
So, what are some ways to assist with employee’s professional development?
Talk to your employees: Find out what their goals and dreams are. What are they passionate about? Employees who enjoy what they are doing are more likely to succeed in the long run.
Be constantly on the look-out for opportunities: Which employees are showing potential? What positions may open up in the future that you can start grooming employees for?
What are some ways for employees to gain more experience at work: Are there training sessions they can attend? Can you get them involved on the safety committee? Are there projects that they can assist with or processes they can have input in? Teams/committees they can join?
Help them set goals and keep them accountable: What steps can be taken to help them learn a new skill, gain knowledge or experience? Make sure to follow up with them to see how they are progressing.
Look for transferrable skills: Does the employee have skills they may be able to use for a completely different position within you company?
Remember, getting a new job does not necessarily mean quitting your job and looking for work with a different company. If employees are happy at the company they work for, they will first look to see what the potential opportunities within the company are.
Employee’s goals may exceed the needs of the company or may not align with the opportunities within the company, but that is okay. Don’t limit the employee’s goals just because there may not be the right opportunity for them there. Encourage the employee to work towards all their goals even if it means they will one day leave the company. The result will be employees that have a passion for what they are doing will bring their best self to work and will always be striving for bigger and better things for both themselves and for your company while they work there.