Do you know what is important to your employees and how you can help them achieve their goals ?
Many managers and business owners might look at the title above and wonder why they should care, especially if they have really good employees who are doing a decent job in the role they are employed. But this is exactly why you should care! Talented professionals want to work for a company that will help them develop existing skills and acquire new ones so they can advance their career. If this is unlikely to happen then they are less likely to hang around and go and work in a business that does care about their future.
Those businesses which help employees achieve their career goals will reap the rewards of highly motivated and engaged employees, all of which will have a positive impact on productivity.
In this article I will explore how you can find out what’s important to your employees and their careers and how you can help them achieve their aspirations. **Spoiler alert, this may involve some realism as to whether employee aspirations can be met by your business and if not, it is not an excuse to not bother!
Firstly, how do you find out what is important to your employees?
This starts with you – take a personal interest in an employee’s goals and aspirations. It is so important to communicate with employees on all manner of things and, as such, good quality 121 time needs to be set aside to focus on their development and for you to find out how they envisage their career progressing. Based on this information you can help them visualise and understand what their career pathway might look like for them. This will include possible timeframes and understanding of where any gaps might exist currently and how they might be bridged.
A useful output could be to produce a ‘development contract’ that both employee and manager sign up to – it is important to remember this is a two-way process and unfair to expect either one party to deliver it all on a plate. Once the ‘contract’ is signed and a plan agreed, it is vital to monitor progress against the plan and to have regular catch ups to discuss whether any aspect needs to be adapted.
How can you help the employee achieve their goals?
It might feel somewhat daunting once you have agreed a development ‘contract’, how on earth can you help the employee achieve their aspirations – especially if your training budget is a bit tight?! Well, the good news is that it isn’t all about training, yes it plays a part but there are plenty of other, often more effective, options. Here are some ideas:
1. Establish a mentoring programme – this type of programme isn’t just reserved for the big corporates; they can work just as well in a SME environment. Mentors can provide a mentee with guidance, motivation, emotional support as well as useful nuggets and insight into their own career development.
2. Work shadowing – this can be really helpful as it enables an employee to gain a better understanding of a particular role or level they might aspire to.
3. Job rotation – this can often be useful to an employee, as it gives them a broader understanding and experience of roles which are related to their core job but require a different skill or competency or perhaps requires a different focus. A job rotation programme can often upskill employees in a time efficient manner thus accelerating progression towards their aspirations.
4. Create succession plans – this will demonstrate to employees how you see them evolving within the business in the future. This can be a powerful message to your employees and shows you believe they have a long-term part to play in the business.
5. Training and development – this always has a part to play and it needn’t be expensive. There is a whole wealth of free materials online, whether it be through webinars or podcasts, so it doesn’t always need to be an expensive training course. Also, the beauty of online offerings means the employee can often pick and choose when to do their learning so it doesn’t always have to impact on peak times, thus giving them more control.
6. Manager support – employees will be better placed to reach their goals if they have support from their manager. But it is also important for managers to encourage employees to have a work life balance to avoid the employee burning out or just having a sole focus on their career. Remind them a healthy body and mind is essential to meet the demands and challenges of a demanding career, plus it will also help them to work efficiently with a clearer focus.
As you can see there are quite a few different ways in which you can help employees achieve their goals. If you need help putting any of this into practice, please contact Treenhill Consulting to see how we can help!