The only way your company is going to do better is if your employees are consistently learning and growing. You need smart, hard-working people behind company walls if you’re going to succeed. At times, it’s beneficial to be willing to step up and help your employees and invest in them, in order to see positive changes occur. There’s a lot you can be doing to give them a boost in the right direction. This doesn’t mean you should sit back and dictate what your staff should be doing. You need to be more involved and hands-on if you want to see results worth raving about.
Require them to Set Goals
The only way your employees are going to make progress and sharpen their skills is if they set goals first. They need to be aiming for specific objectives and not simply hoping they’ll change their ways without any effort. Work with them, so you come to an agreement on which goals are right for certain individuals. Have them document their goals so they can review them daily and be reminded of what they’re striving for. This way sharpening their skills becomes a priority and is always on their minds.
Budget for Professional Development Opportunities
You have to be willing to invest in your employees and spend money on activities that are going to help them work on their professional development. You can’t be cheap and then expect them to prosper. Consider allowing them to take online courses, attend in-person conferences and check out industry networking events. Once you request that your employees sharpen their skills it’s likely they’ll come to you, asking to take part in these opportunities. Be prepared to answer their calls and provide them with the training they need to improve.
Challenge them Outside the Workplace
Not all developmental opportunities happen within company walls. Consider implementing more teambuilding opportunities outside the workplace like going out to lunch as a group or participating in an escape room team building activity. Employees will be challenged to communicate, use their creativity and put their problem-solving skills to the test as they try to make their way out of any one of the different escape rooms. These sorts of outings are perfect for companies looking to sharpen the skills of their employees and get them outside their comfort zones.
Set A Good Example
You can’t expect others to improve and get better if you’re not doing so yourself. Remember to also work on yourself in the process and sharpen your own skills. Take classes, invest in training made for your level and attend industry conferences that keep you updated with the latest innovations. Your employees will see you going to great lengths to invest in you and will want to follow in your footsteps. It’s not very motivating for employees when they see you barking orders about personal development and not doing anything about it yourself.
Ask them to Run Meetings & Take on Leadership Roles
Be good about delegating and assigning employees to roles outside their normal job responsibilities. They likely won’t take the initiative, so it’s important you step up and shake up their daily routine a bit. Rotate who leads your team meetings and assign stretch projects so people are using different skills than they typically would on a daily basis. They may be reluctant at first, but don’t let that stop you from pushing them to be better leaders and take on work outside the scope of their position. This is the kind of guidance they need to sharpen their skills and not fear change.
Assign Each Employee A Coach / Mentor
What’s going to help your employees learn and grow is having a coach or mentor to teach them. Make sure each person has someone who they can go to when they’re feeling stuck or need some direction. This is also a good way to keep your employees accountable for the goals they set without you having to babysit everyone. Talking with someone who’s been through this growth process before and is continuing to develop too will help each employee along in their own journey. Make sure people are holding to their word and meeting consistently regarding their coaching sessions.
Provide Consistent Feedback
Your employees need regular feedback if they’re going to sharpen their skills. Praise them when they do a good job and give pointers when they make mistakes. Create a company culture that embraces education and learning, so everyone is always striving to be and do more than what is expected of them in their job description. Use trust and mutual respect to make sure everyone feels comfortable talking about their strengths and weaknesses. Ask questions of your employees and have them problem solve to figure out the answers on their own without you telling them.
Give them Time to Work on Themselves
The tricky part about sharpening your skills sometimes is finding the time to do so. It does require a little extra time and effort to work on yourself. Make sure no one’s workload is so heavy that they don’t have the chance to sharpen their skills like everyone else. It’s even a good idea to let people leave the office to attend conferences or designate time on Friday afternoons to take online courses. Be willing to be flexible with people and schedules if you want them to truly stretch themselves and develop new abilities.
Your employees are only going to take their professional development seriously when you do. Teach and guide them, so they know exactly how to sharpen their skills, with the goal to succeed at the company and in their careers. Be an active participant in their journey to self-improvement and observe how everyone and the business benefit from you doing so. Be patient and know that change takes time. Continue to encourage those on your team and help them to be their best selves, so each person is able to contribute to the best of their ability and is satisfied at work.