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Encompass® Agency Insights

Talent Development

When it comes to advancing your business, one of the most effective tools at your disposal is talent development. Talent development helps your company stay competitive, address skills shortages and increase employee productivity. In addition, as Forbes points out, because many workers want to advance their knowledge and grow their skill sets, offering employee development opportunities can help with staff retention. Here are some suggestions on how to help your people grow.

Notebook page with the heading Professional Development Goals.

Individual Learning Opportunities

Individual learning opportunities allow your employees to hone in on specific skills they need to develop in order to perform better in their respective jobs.

  • Assign stretch assignments. These are assignments that enable an employee to grow by challenging his or her current skills or knowledge. Remember to provide sufficient support, as well as the appropriate tools, so the employee doesn't feel overwhelmed.
  • Offer personalized learning. On-the-job training or even employer-paid courses allow your employee to develop skills that are aligned with your business needs. For instance, if one of your employees is interested in a management role, you could offer to pay for an associate's or even a bachelor's degree ━ with the understanding that he or she will eventually advance to a management position in your company. Or if an employee likes coding and wants to develop apps you can use in your business, you could give him or her the time to pursue one of the many free courses available online.
  • Provide regular feedback. When delivered regularly and objectively, constructive criticism can be a powerful way to help an employee improve his or her performance. Make sure to point out both strong and weak points, as well as to offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Offer mentoring opportunities. Rework advises that almost 80 percent of millennials consider workplace mentorship ━ including peer-to-peer mentorship ━ critical for career success. You can arrange mentorships in the workplace ━ plus, you can tap into your professional network to connect employees with people who are more experienced in their field.

Team Learning Opportunities

It's also crucial for your employees to advance as a team so they become more skilled, resourceful and productive.

  • Use weekly meetings as learning opportunities. The Balance Careers recommends fostering a development mindset in your meetings. For example, inspire your team to come up with action plans together, as well as to learn from any mistakes they make. Be careful to maintain a non-judgmental atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable enough to contribute.
  • Cultivate a diverse team. As Inc. points out, a team that's made up of people of different ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds can share a multitude of new insights and perspectives. This can help them become more innovative and, as a result, perform better.
  • Encourage job shadowing. Allow team members to "shadow" one another every now and then so they cultivate a better understanding of each person's role and capabilities. Even in a virtual setting, this can help enhance their ability to assign tasks to the right person and maximize everyone's capabilities.

In addition to these learning opportunities, enable your employees to attend relevant conferences, seminars and webinars when possible. Last, but certainly not least, remember to acknowledge how your team members are growing. That way they're more likely to feel that all their hard work is being recognized ━ and that in turn increases the chances they'll do their best for you.

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