How to utilise the strengths of your workers and offer growth and development opportunities.
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How this helps my business
Growth and development opportunities help both the employee and the workplace. Employees feel like they are valued and their career is supported.
Workplaces are able to get exactly the skills they need without hiring new staff. A highly skilled workforce is also better at adapting when employees take leave or leave the organisation - because there are people with that skill to fill the gap.
Employees who are learning and growing feel motivated and committed to their organisation.
Assess your workplace
Looking at the gaps in growth and development needs is important for any workplace. The template below is designed to help you to assess what skills individuals in your workplace have, and what skills are missing so you can see the areas where you need to develop the capability within your workplace.
(In Step 2 you will talk to your employees about their skills and development goals).
Talk with your staff
Ask your employee what skills their job requires, and what areas they are most keen to develop in. Use the Professional Development Plan template to note these and any other skills gaps.
It is important to remember that people skills can be just as useful to your workplace as technical skills.
Development isn't just about focusing on what needs to be improved: use the tips below to also talk with your employees about their strengths and how they could best use these in the workplace.
Promote your employees' strengths
Ask what employees think they are good at and what gives them energy at work.
Discuss how employees could use these strengths in their existing roles.
Discuss the drawbacks these strengths can have, and how to avoid them (e.g. being too kind could prevent honest feedback; being a perfectionist can make it hard to move through tasks quickly enough).
Follow-up with employees to monitor progress.
Make a plan
Growth and development opportunities can be much broader than just training.
Now that your employees have development goals, use the list below to help you to figure out how your organisation can support these goals in ways that match your budget and your workplace.
Ways to support growth and development
experienced staff training less experienced staff
formal training such as refresher courses, seminars, online tutorials, conferences, new technology skills (there is a surprising amount of high-quality, free training available online)
allowing employees to take paid or unpaid leave to study
mentoring or coaching with either an internal or external expert
'shadowing' someone else in your organisation
offering opportunities to act in more senior roles for a short time
offering opportunities to work in another department or area
offering opportunities for job sharing
being involved in research or innovation projects.
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