Last Updated on September 25, 2021

One of the very best ways to retain employees and to have a happy workforce with employees who feel engaged is to ensure that employee growth is given some value. Help employees to continually develop their skills set, to improve and to grow and the result can mean productivity and reduced staff turnover. So what are the ways to help employees grow? Here are 10 ideas for you!

Employee growth and development

1. Allow Employees to Move Laterally within the Organization

Actively being open as a company to allowing and helping employees to move laterally with the organization can be great for allowing those who are ambitious and interested, to learn and grow within the organization.

This lateral growth is also a great way to develop future managers, who can benefit from understanding the different roles that exist, particularly within a given department.

For other employees, laterally movement within the company can fit in perfectly with their career path and development needs.

Another role that exists, for example, might better suit their longer-term goals and their development goal.

This lateral growth can help you to keep key employees whilst helping to accommodate their development needs and helping to keep staff motivated and happy.

2. Job Rotation and Cross Training

Job rotation

Job rotation offers employees another wonderful opportunity to expand their own skills set and to develop their understanding of different job roles.

Do not be afraid of challenging your employees to train in different roles and to rotate jobs, particularly where staff are keen to do so.

There can often be a temptation to keep people tied to their roles. Why complicate things right?

Introducing employees though to new roles through job rotation has the effect of:

  • Giving them a better understanding of their colleagues’ roles and the challenges colleagues face
  • Bringing out new ideas and solutions to ways of working as the employee doing the job rotation might find ways that the roles can better work together (her/his role and the job they are trying)
  • Keeping the employee motivated in terms of learning and new experiences

The balance though needs to be met in that some employees can feel overwhelmed with being pressured to learn other job roles. Job rotation, I would suggest, works better as a voluntary thing and is not suitable for all staff.

3. Make Personal and Technical Training Programs Available

One of the easiest ways to directly help employees to develop and thrive is to make training available to them both for:

  • Skills that relate specifically to the person’s job role
  • Personal development skills to help their career path and personal growth

Job Skills

It might seem obvious perhaps to suggest that proper on-the-job training should be provided for employees. Yet it is so often the case that the right training is simply NOT provided.

By offering job/technical training not only do you, as a company, benefit from a better qualified and skilled workforce but the employee themself benefit too.

Action: Do you have in place a policy for each role and specific training that a new employee can do? In fact, do you also have an onboarding strategy (induction training)? Develop and make available training programs for personal and technical growth.

Personal Development Training

Classroom lesson plans

Personal development training in many respects is just as important as job skills training!

Whereas job skills training deals with the immediate needs in terms of the work itself, personal development training is concerned with the longer-term benefits for the employee and the business.

Imagine a scenario whereby you have provided excellent job skills training but have failed to provide personal development training for the person. That person might feel under-appreciated within the business, i.e. because of poor management in terms of making all employees feel included. They could decide to take their skills elsewhere.

To avoid this you can provide career development opportunities and self-development training is a great strategy to build team unity and a stronger workforce.

A great example of training that you can offer your employees as a team (more cost-effective than 1-on-1 training) include:

4. Offer Mentorship Opportunities

Workplace shadowing

Offering mentoring partnerships is a fantastic option on many different levels.

Firstly, it offers younger and newer staff the chance to learn from the much more experienced employees. This learning helps the learner to develop their skillset. It is great for employee growth.

Secondly, mentorship is also a great work for getting different generations working more effectively together, as it tends to offer an opportunity for respect building between younger and older workers to develop.

For the mentor, whilst it can sometimes take up valuable time, many workplace mentors that I have talked to and trained, very often state that they love to mentor because it makes them feel valued and because they enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience.

Some mentors have explained to me that another added benefit is that the learner, in many cases, has actually helped the mentor too, with the fresh and new ways of looking at things, i.e. new ideas. This has proven often to give the mentor a fresh outlook.

Likewise, it is not unknown for the learner to actually be a great asset for the mentor, i.e. a great help.

As a company, it can be extremely worthwhile putting in the effort to push mentorship because of the positive ways in which it builds rapport, respect, and more skilled employees.

5. Offer Job Shadowing Opportunities

Shadowing is when one employee follows around another member of staff, with the shadower observing, watching, and learning from the person being shadowed.

Shadowing can be extremely insightful for the shadower and can be quite an easy way to learn new skills and to gain a much greater understanding of other people’s roles.

6. Make the Workplace Inclusive

One key element to consider when seeking to promote employee growth and development is to work towards having an inclusive workplace.

It is quite common in many workplaces to find that certain employees will not come forward, speak up, or take opportunities such as training or mentoring because they do not feel truly a part of the team.

Inclusive Leadership training can be a great idea, particularly for managers.

It is the managers and team leaders who need to generate an inclusive environment so that each employee feels that they have a voice and confidence to step forward.

You can click on the image below to read our post on how to create an inclusive workplace for all employees.

Making your workplace more inclusive

7. Hold Seminars on Topics of Interest

If you read our recent post on employee engagement, you’ll have already read this idea but it is also pertinent to employee growth and development.

Holding a range of seminars can be an inexpensive and fairly simple way to offer employees ways to develop their knowledge, skills, and expertise.

Furthermore, one cost-effective way is to give employees themselves the opportunity to hold a seminar or workshop in something that they are knowledgeable about.

This does not need to be related specifically to their job role but it should be useful in some way to work and lifestyle. You might find, for example, that:

  • Peter the I.T. guy is also qualified in nutrition and healthy eating
  • Lillian from the marketing team might have a certificate in nutrition
  • Peter from I.T. might also be interested to do a seminar on basic I.T. security
  • Fabio from sales might be a meditation expert in his spare time and be interested to teach about workplace wellness

You might want to allocate a one-hour-a-week session to these workshops and invite employees to volunteer to teach. A simple incentive, such as a £25/$25/Euro25 Amazon voucher, often acts as a nice little reward.

8. Make the Development Opportunities Known

There is little point in having some amazing training programs in place, mentoring and shadowing options in place, and the funds for employees to choose their own training, if no one is aware these opportunities exist.

A key to creating an employment growth plan is to make the provision of information known and easy to find.

The staff Intranet is a great place to include a section on Staff Development.

Likewise, sending a simple email once a month to your team with just a sentence and then bullet points to outline where to find out the latest information on what they need and what’s available, is a good idea.

Also, include in the email anything that is new for the coming month, i.e. new workshops, new training programs, new funding offers, and so on. Communicate these things in one basic email every month.

9. Job Enlargement

Job Enlargement is another definite possibility when it comes to employee growth and development.

By expanding employees’ responsibilities within their current jobs, you can help them to increase their knowledge and skillsets.

The idea of job enlargement will not suit all staff but it is certainly a good option for an employee who is ambitious and who clearly wants and is happy to take on new duties.

Increased responsibilities for an employee can give them the impression that you trust them and that they are valued within the company.

10. Provide Career Path Planning

Staff who lack motivation and are bored tend to be less productive and are more likely to leave (meaning costs to rehire and train new staff).

One way to help employee growth and to avoid this stagnation is to work with each employee to ensure that they have a career plan.

As a part of your regular meeting (perhaps annually) with each employee, a part of this should be looking at what career progression they are interested in. You should try and find out:

  • What are the personal career goals for a given employee
  • What can you as a company do to help them work towards their person career goals
  • What path through the company could the employee work along and what learning could help them?

Here are some other good articles online:

Employee training PowerPoints and materials

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Dr Valeria (Lo Iacono) Symonds

Valeria has been involved with education for over 16 years. She has taught in the UK at the University of Bath and Cardiff Metropolitan University (where she got her PhD), in addition to working as a researcher at Exeter University. Valeria additionally has several years of experience of also working with Ofsted and Cardiff University in management roles & is she is the founder of Symonds Training.