One of the best things a manager can do to keep their team motivated is investing in their professional development. When you recognize your staff’s achievements and reward them accordingly, you’ll gain their contentment, trust, and loyalty. Yet for some reason, professional development tends to get pushed to the side when managers sort out their priorities.
If you’re the type of manager who hypes up their team, you’re doing the right thing, no doubt. But if you don’t hype them up as much, but don’t discourage them either, then you might need to rethink your leadership style. A good boss or manager, after all, isn’t just one that’s friendly and communicative. They also encourage their staff to go beyond their limits and discover their hidden potentials.
That said, here are the ways to pave a promising career path for your employees:
1. Build Trust
Before your employees talk about their development with you, they need to know that they can trust you. They have to be sure that you won’t use it as a sneaky way to get them to admit their weakness. After all, career development doesn’t necessarily eliminate or improve a weakness. Rather, it boosts strengths and enhances skills.
Start by building trust with your team. Establish yourself as a trustworthy manager that supports their development, and inspires a motivation to succeed. Show that you’re just as invested in their career advancement as they are.
2. Turn Interactions into Learning Opportunities
Many managers only discuss career development annually or leave it to HR to work on. But your employee’s development starts with you, their immediate supervisor, or department head. As such, they count on you to turn your regular interactions into learning opportunities.
Each time you check in with your team, ingrain a developmental mindset into them. Let them know that every meeting, evaluation, feedback, and check-in are chances to develop their careers. Don’t just entrust it to the HR; you know your team better, so if anyone can see whether they have the potential to be promoted, it’s you.
3. Give Suitable Developmental Assignments for Your Team Members
A developmental assignment, or stretch assignment, will definitely hone your employees for growth. Find out your team members’ strengths and career aspirations to determine the opportunities they’ll likely take. And instead of choosing only the qualified employees for a specific assignment, find the right assignment for your employees.
4. Help Expand Their Network
If expanding your network has helped you succeed, it will do the same for your employees. Hence, as they excel more in their jobs, start introducing them to industry experts, prominent personalities, and mentors. Expanding your employees’ developmental network will remind them that while you’re there to support them, it’s them who’s ultimately responsible for their professional growth.
5. Create Development Plans For Each Employee
Some companies require a personal development plan for each employee, so they can see the path of their career progression, and determine what needs to be done to reach the next steps. By having such a plan, employees at every level will know that you value their continuing development.
Once you place the development plan for your employees, discuss it in every meeting and check-in. Hold them accountable for progress toward their goal. Again, you are to support them, but at the end of the day, it’s your employees who will put in the work for their own development.
6. Consider Supporting Their Pursuit for Higher Education
Many employees hesitate or skip higher education because they fear lagging behind their colleagues. While they invest their time in studying, their co-workers are already gaining experience and income. And a post-graduate course isn’t cheap, so an employee has to sacrifice a huge chunk of their income to pay for it.
But employers can sponsor their education. If your company can do it, consider recommending helpful courses to them, such as CPD (Continuing Personal Development) online learning, or anything related to their fields of expertise. If your employee proves that their higher education will be an asset to your company, then they definitely deserve your sponsorship.
However, make it clear if your company has greater regard for higher education. Not all masteral or post-graduate degrees are financially-beneficial to an employee, after all. Some employers are indifferent to higher education, while others may recognize it, but not necessarily require it.
But the UK Commission for Employment and Skills has predicted that by 2022, roughly 15%, or 1 in 7 jobs, will likely need a post-graduate degree. So if your employees are seeking higher education, 2021 might be the perfect year to let them have it.
The road may have been rough for your company last year, but that’s a reason to make 2021 fruitful for you and your employees. Invest in your team’s growth, and they’ll multiply whatever you give them.