How to cultivate your employees’ potential
An important responsibility of any manager is to help their employees grow and spread their professional wings. Here’s how to do it.
Finding talented employees is difficult; keeping them is even harder!
Unless you continuously invest in developing employees so that they attain their full potential, you risk seeing them jump ship. You then find yourself stuck in a vicious circle of perpetual recruitment—a far from cost-efficient situation for any organization.
To keep ahead of competitors, a business must have a plan for developing the talents and skills of its people, to keep them engaged but also motivated to contribute to the organization’s future.
A development strategy
The first step in helping your employees to grow is to work out a development plan.
Meet with each employee individually to explore their particular interests and professional goals.
With this information in hand, you and your employee can identify the activities, projects and training that will enable them to evolve at work.
It is essential to set up a performance management system. Clear, quantifiable objectives help employees understand what they need to do and how much time they have to do it.
Encourage them to surpass their objectives, to give them a sense of achievement.
Feedback is not criticism nor belittling in disguise.
Your role as a manager is to guide your employees and help them advance in their careers. Although more uncomfortable for the employee, when feedback is seen to be clearly aimed at improvement and positive change, and is given in a constructive manner, it can help boost performance.
It should be provided regularly and not just once a year at the performance review.
Employees are keen to hear your opinion on how they are doing. Spontaneous and affirmative feedback helps them with how they view their career.
Positive comments make all the difference, by acknowledging and motivating employees.
Break down walls
Companies with rigid organizational structures and processes are unlikely breeding grounds for employee development.
To encourage knowledge acquisition, managers must decompartmentalize administration and conventions.
The new generation of workers is eager to advance in a working environment without walls, in companies that are moving forward and that will allow them to explore their potential without holding them back.
A multidisciplinary team
There are other ways to learn and contribute to the company’s overall success, not just by performing the tasks assigned to a specific job.
To work for a company that utilizes the full breadth of their talents, employees need to understand the bigger picture—how the organization operates beyond the employee’s particular duties and responsibilities.
Involve your employees in projects which allow them to learn about how others fit into the company.
Understanding the roles of other employees helps improve multidisciplinary teamwork.
Why not share your address book of contacts with your employees? Put them in touch with other professionals who can help them in their specific field. After all, you’re not the only one able to coach them!
Encourage your employees to become members of professional associations, to develop their network.
The wider their network, the more employees will feel they can rely on the advice of others who understand their job.
The benefits of ongoing training are unequivocal.
No matter how much time and effort you spend on employee training, the investment will always pay off, particularly when the training is done on the job and while the employee performs an actual task.
Constant investment in employee development is key to becoming a clear leader in your sector of activity.
Be an inspiring leader
Manage by example. When you invest in your own career development, you inspire your staff to do likewise.
As an ambassador for your company, send the message that professional growth and continuous improvement are crucial to employee fulfilment and the company’s strength.
Give others the courage they need to become key actors in their own professional development.