The most valuable resource of an organization is its people, and it is essential to provide employees with the opportunity for continual professional development and skills building. Staff development activities empower employees to use their current abilities more effectively, pursue innovations, and better execute organizational initiatives with a higher understanding of how broader work challenges are addressed. All members of your team must have opportunities for growth and exploration for your company to thrive.
What is Staff Development?
Staff Development is a process of improving someone’s skills, experiences, competencies to make them better employees so they can take on greater responsibility at work.
The purpose of developing staff is to make them more valuable and productive within the organisation.
The development of staff can be achieved through career pathing — which is a structured system that identifies how employees move from one level to another within an organization.
It can also be achieved through developmental assignments such as rotational programs, training, coaching mentorship and feedback.
The role of the manager in the development of staff is to be a facilitator and coach. A manager can help employees develop skills, self-awareness, and confidence that will make them grow to become more productive members of your team.
The best staff development ideas are those that are tailored to the individual’s needs and team requirements.
You can’t just put all employees in a seminar or training room and expect it to work for everyone in your team — because every employee has a different set of needs which should be addressed individually.
Here are 15 ideas for staff development that will expand their skills:
1. Create Explicit Career Paths
First create explicit career paths where people know what they will have to deliver at each level and when promotion opportunities arise (even for those who don’t want promotions).
2. Give Your Staff Opportunities to Present their Ideas
Give everyone on your team an opportunity to present their idea for improvement and then vote on which one is the best. All your team members must have opportunities to grow their careers and explore new things for the team to thrive.
Your staff members’ perspectives and opinions about their work practices and environment.
3. Free some Time for Staff to Pursue their Passions
Provide time for staff to work on creative projects and pursue their passions. Let your staff members spend a few hours per week working on something outside of their current job description or department — like working on a project unrelated to their work at all.
Read also: Top 14 Personable Skills of a Good Employee
4. Create a Mentorship Program
Create a mentorship program matching less experienced with more experienced employees. It will provide the less experienced team member with an opportunity to learn from a more experienced employee.
Mentors can answer questions, share their experience within the workplace or company and its culture.
5. Create an Internal Blog
Create an internal blog where employees can share ideas and discuss topics with each other.
The internal blog is a great way to keep employees informed about any changes coming down the pipeline, share ideas with the staff who might not be aware of its existence, and create an open forum for discussion.
6. Get Rid of One-size-fits-all Policies
Let people find what works best for them. Whether it’s their way of conducting team meetings, solving problems, or office arrangements — let your staff choose the policies that work best for their personality and professional needs.
7. Establish Monthly without Meetings
Establish monthly “no meeting” days, where employees are encouraged to get creative and take care of themselves without distractions from meetings or email.
You can also initiate a trial period for “no meeting” days to see if employees are more productive or happier without the stress.
8. Identify Individual Strengths and Weaknesses
Create a list of your staff members’ strengths and weaknesses. Then encourage staff members to create their list and then tackle them one at a time.
It will help you identify the areas where they need additional training or support — both in terms of skills-building and opportunities within the organization that could inspire career growth.
9. Find out What is Meaningful to Each Employee
Ask each employee to write down their three favorite things about working at your company.
You need to know what gets them excited to come in and work each day? What are they most proud of accomplishing while at the company? And, what makes their position unique or special?
Read more: 9 Good Examples of Work Performance Goals
10. Identify Existing Opportunities within the Company
Review existing opportunities within the company for continuing learning such as training programs, seminars, conferences, which can be tailored to your staff roles.
And ensure all employees get the opportunity for continual professional career growth.
11. Get your Staff to Identify their Development Needs
Get your staff to identify their own professional development goals from an area they are already interested in or good at doing. It will also give them the opportunity for growth if it’s something new or different from what they’ve done before.
So, let them define their own professional development goals rather than assigning pre-determined milestones.
12. Offer an Opportunity for Employees to take on New Challenges
Allow your employees to switch jobs with another employee who has experience in their area of interest but different skills.
Encourage everyone on the team to share what they know and help others grow so that more people can do a wider variety of tasks.
Also, ensure all staff members have opportunities to learn new roles on an as-needed basis.
13. Create an internal careers site
Create an internal careers site and update it every day so that people can see the different job opportunities or roles they might be interested in.
And the specific qualifications they need for those jobs so they can start to work on their skills.
14. Allow your Employees to Interact with Others
Allow team members to spend an entire day with other teams and see how other colleagues work and learn new experiences.
It is an opportunity for your staff to become knowledgeable about different work practices — it helps them grow when they see the work others do in other departments.
15. Give Employees Opportunities to Explore new Areas
Give your staff members opportunities to explore new areas by assigning them tasks not related to roles outside of their own — even if it is only temporary.
If you don’t encourage your employees to try new things, they are never going to develop.
16. Provide Formal Training Programs
Provide formal training programs for all staff members, with courses tailored according to their interests, different levels of experience, or responsibilities. These should be consistently updated so that they stay relevant and current.
17. Create Opportunities for Cross-functional Collaboration
Let your staff members to work with people from other departments on projects. If you want to develop your employees, then give them cross-training opportunities.
You’ll find that the more they know about different departments, the better they will be at their job.
18. Direct Employees to free Online Courses
These days, employees have access to online training to develop skills and grow their professional careers. So, encourage your staff to take advantage of the many free online training courses available for developing skills.
It will have a positive effect not only on your organization but on their growth as well.
The development of staff is fundamental to any successful business. Every company needs highly skilled individuals who can adapt and grow with the changing environment.
So, an employee’s skill set should be aligned with the company’s goals for that position. When you invest time and effort into your staff members it helps them grow and become more valuable and productive to your team.
Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all mold for developing staff. It takes patience, understanding, and a willingness to help employees meet their full potential.
What is your role in the training and development of staff? Share your thoughts in the comment below