In as much as employees need to constantly develop themselves, in my experience, employers need it even more. This is because though you want to get the best out of your employees, you also want to make sure you actively and constantly create an atmosphere for their development, and this ultimately grows your firm.
I remember vividly mid 2014 when I was working at a real estate firm, a colleague of mine in the digital marketing department wanted to attend a real estate training. So, she wrote a letter for a 2-days leave; in hope of getting a positive response, she was disappointed when her request was turned down. In fact, the only reason they could give was that “she was attending too many trainings”.
Mind you, that was her second training. To the company, they felt they were exercising power but sadly, they failed to realize that for every new skill or training she acquired, it made her better equipped to market and sell more properties for the company.
As an employer, especially in this time of constant change and rapid development in ICT, there are few ways you can better equip yourself and encourage personal development of your employees, these are some of the ways we believe you can do it without over exerting resources:
- Be approachable: You must learn to listen actively e. to understand and not to respond. You should practice an open-door policy, this nudges your employees towards you especially when they have ideas they believe might work for the benefit of the firm. Imagine a firm where the employees are scared to talk to the management about their fears, ideas or thoughts. That means that management is stomping the growth of the firm and creativity and innovation will be buried. Also, if you’re not approachable to your employees, you will lose some good ones.
- Encourage Innovation: Champion it, equip yourself with the latest trends and ideas “listen to the news, get the latest savvy apps that aids development g. tinder, kindle, YouTube etc. and consider how it can help your firm increase your bottom line.
Create room for new ideas, methods and strategies by setting up weekly or monthly strategizing sessions and carefully assessing them before selection. A firm that never accepts ideas from its employees or is found to most often turn down innovation is stomping on the personal growth of not just its employees but as well as the firm.
Listen to the ideas brought forward by your employees, there are no “stupid ideas.” It’s understandable that as a firm you should have your laid-out Mode of Operation, but what happens if its old or simply isn’t the best in town, those methods shouldn’t be written in stone.
- Remunerate Staff Accordingly: Learn to encourage your employees by celebrating their successes, even if the firm can’t afford to do something elaborate, do something little, just to show that you notice their efforts. Assuming an employee updates her CV by getting an MSc. or develops an idea that turned out to increase the firm’s monthly earnings by 30% or more, even less. A firm that encourages personal development would give a raise or bonus to those employees respectively. When employees are rewarded for their efforts, they would double the efforts they put into achieving more on the job and this would reflect positively on the firm in the long run.
- Teach that failure is okay: Learn to accept unfavourable outcomes. Accept that all ideas won’t work. Some will perform beyond expectations while others might fail woefully. Your reaction when an employee brings up an idea that ended up failing matters; “Do you hold a meeting and begin shouting and hammering on the incompetency of that employee? Or do you just try to spread positivity” by explaining that all investments don’t always work out and failure is a necessary part of life. Mind you, some of the greatest inventions in the world today happen by failure of some ideas, e.g. sticky notes.
- Work-life balance: Learn to balance your work and life outside of work; what I have been able to learn in the past few months is that some of the greatest ideas come to us when we are not in the work environment. Encourage your staff to work hard with example and, let them go home once it’s past working hours. Show them that they need to also create a life outside of work. You can further buttress that by closing office hours a little earlier on a Friday so that everyone can go see a movie at the cinema.
These are just a few ways you as an employer can encourage personal development among employees at your firm.