Nearly half of respondents to a recent survey felt that their place of work does not value employee development.
In the report from eLearning and training providers Instructure, 44% of 1,433 employees felt that their employer doesn’t value development enough to ensure they’re performing well. This was in addition to the 23% who feel that performance reviews are not taken seriously.
Being able to progress within a role and learn new skills is important for employee engagement too; over 70% of respondents claimed that learning opportunities affected their decision to take a job. 98% added that it’s key in deciding whether to stay with an employer or not.
Advantages of training and development
Training enables employees to be able to perform more efficiently in their role. This leads to increased productivity, greater creativity, a reduction in mistakes, and an improved reputation from having a knowledgeable workforce who can adapt to changes within the industry.
When employees are given training opportunities and able to progress within their career, they become more engaged with the organisation and their role. This will help the organisation too, who will now be able to both promote internally and lower recruitment costs as employees are more likely to stay on a longer-term basis.
An organisation that can bring all employees to a similar level of skill and knowledge can plug any skills gaps should they appear, and gives employees the ability to cover for each other as and when needed.
How to encourage employee development
A key purpose of reviewing performance within an organisation is to identify what staff training and development is required.
Employees must first be made clear about what is expected from them in terms of organisational standards. They should also be asked what their personal goals are within their career, and their manager should be willing to help them progress through appropriate training. These goals should be established and monitored through regular performance reviews.
Employees who have 26 weeks continuous service with an organisation that has 250 or more employees have the right to request time off for training if they believe this will make them more productive and effective at work. This is under the Apprentices, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009.
Employers have a duty to seriously consider any valid request, although they do not necessarily have to agree to such requests, or agree to pay the employee for the time taken.
Planning employee development
A widely used model for structuring employee development is the GROW model. This can be used to ask questions to raise awareness and responsibility in the person being coached:
Goal – Define and agree the goal or outcome to be achieved using SMART targets.
Reality – Examine the current situation (a ‘reality check’), such as existing skill levels and constraints to finding a way forward.
Options – Explore what is possible, with all the different options for achieving the goals. Help the employee to generate as many options as possible.
Will – Commit to specific actions and establish the level of motivation. Establish what is to be done, when, and by whom.
Training is also important to familiarise new starters with the organisation’s systems and processes, so on-going development can then be tracked and monitored. The new employee will be able to see that they can grow and develop in line with the requirements of the organisation.