All successful companies, irrespective of their industry, have one thing in common. Motivated and highly productive workforce. And contrary to popular belief, a lot of effort goes into making them so. It takes well thought through development initiatives for employees to perform up to their potential. The more time, money and efforts they invest on employee development, the more they are going to reap the benefits.
Managers must treat individual contributors as their assets.
Each employee needs to be developed according to his aptitude and attitude so there can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution. There have to be a variety of initiatives that cover different aspects essential for developing employees.
A few guidelines to set the ball rolling for employee development:
Employee development and training programmes:
Training is important at all stages and departments for organisational success. New recruits need to be trained so that they have the necessary skills and are equipped to work at the best of their abilities. Existing employees too can be trained to bring them up to date with newer technologies. They can learn new skills that increase their responsibilities and contribution. This is a big boost for their career growth as well.
Training and employee development programmes should not be seen as a cost but rather an investment. It makes sure employees are working to their highest capabilities.
Stop spoon feeding
Let employees make mistakes. Don’t let them repeat these though.
Employees can have many doubts while executing their responsibilities. It is essential that managers do not dictate solutions when they are approached. Spoon feeding solutions makes them dependant on their managers for all unseen problems.
Instead, managers should ask employees questions and encourage them to come up with solutions. Effective managers instill problem-solving abilities to ensure less time is lost and productivity is not hampered.
Challenge your employees
Make sure your employees are given challenging assignments from time to time. It keeps them on their toes. Having to do same mediocre work can make employees complacent. When work becomes mundane, they may get bored and start looking for other interesting opportunities outside the organisation.
Though these assignments should not be extremely difficult or impossible. And guidance should be provided whenever necessary. Employees are developed to surpass their abilities and take on bigger responsibilities thereby increasing productivity.
Delegate authority to your employees. Make them accountable for their roles and responsibilities.
When you know how to make your employees accountable, you inculcate a sense of ownership in them. Accountable employees know that failure or success of their tasks depends only on them and strive hard to accomplish their objectives .They are motivated to take initiative and seek creative solutions.
Practice performance management techniques such as OKR or MBO.
Having a clear understanding of individual objectives and how they impact the bigger picture helps employees know what is expected from them. They know how their objectives are aligned with their team and overall organisational goals. Reviews are held frequently, sometimes monthly or quarterly, that are crucial to determine employee’s progress.
Setting goals help develop employees by charting a precise path that ensures optimum productivity and operational excellence.
Importance of frequent feedback
It is essential for employees to know if they are on the intended path they set out on. It may not always be clear to them from their standpoint. Thus, feedback are necessary to identify strengths and weaknesses and can be given by employers, peers or even customers. They provide a third person perspective.
Employees can be guided and/or trained to overcome these weaknesses. Understanding their strengths is crucial as they can capitalise on these to improve their overall performance.