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Supporting staff development

July 2, 2021

Employees are increasingly concerned about developing their skills and expanding their knowledge base. In fact 86% of employees in the workforce are concerned with developing new skills, according to a study by UiPath. So, should employers be supporting the desire for new skills? There are a number of reasons why an employer may want to be supportive in the quest for skills. Typically, employers believe that by allowing employees to develop their skills, they will benefit with better employee retention. Managers are often fearful of losing good employees and will do what they can to keep those employees happy. However the best view on employee development isn’t reactive to threats of leaving - it's proactive! Leaders should be encouraging their team to continually grow in personal and professional ways, as it can increase productivity and job satisfaction. Read on for some tips on encouraging and supporting staff development.


Start at the beginning 

This is probably a quite straightforward one, but starting at the very beginning is best practice for supporting your employees' development. Let it be known that there are opportunities for personal and professional growth and provide all the tools and resources necessary for success. This will start them all on the right foot for development through the company and on a personal level too!


Implement a coaching program

Managers should take on the role of mentor or coach rather than the demanding boss. A mentor/coach can really help with the development of an individual. This is because this type of management style focuses on communication and training which can create a very supportive environment. Being admired is a really great thing and managers should be happy to pass on their knowledge and teach their skills to their employees in pursuit of development. 


Use an LMS

A Learning Management System (or LMS) is practically essential for growth, building knowledge and upskilling. An LMS will allow you to deliver and manage comprehensive training. This is going to allow you to systemise and scale your learning programs, rather than implementing training manually or even on an individual basis. While a great LMS is going to be an investment in the beginning, it will be an invaluable tool for you, your business and your employees!


Focus on soft skills

People often focus on hard skills (which isn’t wrong!) but managers should be focusing on soft skills too. Soft skills are traits and non-technical skills that help you work and communicate with other people. Soft skills might include time management, listening and communication (but of course there are many other soft skills not listed here!) Some soft skills come naturally and others have to be learned. Managers need to recognise the importance of soft skills and help team members with the skills that they lack. You can do this by coaching and providing feedback to employees. 


Rotate roles

By rotating job roles and gaining insights into other roles and departments, your employees will be able to enhance and gain new skills. Varying job roles encourages cross-collaboration and thinking outside the box - particularly if the role is slightly outside of your team members comfort zone. Of course, we don’t mean putting a sales team member on the forklift in the warehouse - rotate between similar roles and give tasks that allow your employees to experience new challenges. By doing so you will have created a more well-rounded team that can tackle anything!


Today, most employees are concerned about growth, knowledge and upskilling. As managers, it's important to support your team’s desire to grow in both personal and professional ways. Not only for employee retention rates, but for overall job satisfaction and for productivity too.

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