One of the most important aspects of how to judge your ability as a manager is by judging the ability of your employees. Are they self-sufficient, naturally curious and willing to learn new skills that will benefit themselves and your employer? If so, you should definitely be encouraging them! Inspiring employees to learn new skills and deepen existing ones is a goal that all managers should have.
The Importance of Learning New Skills
Encouraging employees to learn new skills is good for your business because employees are able to use the new skills they learn to do better work for the business. Keeping up with new technologies and organizational standards is something that can benefit companies across all industries, and encouraging employees to learn new skills is the most important part of doing either of those things.
What You Can Do to Inspire Your Team
One of the best ways to encourage employees to learn new skills is to make it evident that the business supports their growth and development. There are several ways to accomplish this:
- Frequent constructive feedback
- Coaching opportunities
- Mentorship programs
- Skill-building workshops
- Informative conferences and webinars
- Encouraging membership in professional organizations
Another way to motivate employees to develop and grow professionally is to give them an incentive that they will receive after they successfully implement their new skills and desired goals are met. Having a specific goal and reward can give your employees a tangible reason to take the time and learn new techniques and skills.
Creating a Development Plan
Now, just telling your employees to go out and start learning new things isn’t exactly the best way to go about getting them to develop new skills.
We highly suggest you sit down with them and discuss creating a development plan. A development plan is an outline of what skills they will need to enhance and develop, classes they will want to take, and new responsibilities they may want to take on to thrive at your company.
- Determine their goals. Where do they see themselves in 3 or 5 years? What position would they like to be promoted to? Creating a development plan based on their career aspirations shows them that you care about their success.
- Determine what skills they will need to develop. Do they want to become a supervisor one day? Have them take a couple of classes on leadership. If they want to move into a more creative role, tell them what education they will need to enter that role.
- Give them the resources they need. You likely have access to information and resources that your employees do not. Whether that is the inside scoop on the best conferences or the ability to purchase continuing education classes, give your employees the best chance to succeed by sharing resources with them and supporting them as they continue their professional growth.
- Follow up on their progress. Follow up with your employees regularly to see how the development plan is going. This could involve a quick 20-minute meeting after they get back from a conference to see what they have learned. You can even put them on special projects with other team members to see if they are able to apply their new skills.
Improving Existing Skills
Maybe everyone in your business already has sufficient training. Another way to encourage employees to learn is to support them in deepening the skills they already have. Maybe there’s new accounting or design software that you would like to invest in.
You could ask a couple of employees to volunteer to test out new software or training courses and discuss with them whether it would be a good investment for the company.
Additionally, giving everyone in your company encouragement to stay up to date on best practices by joining professional organizations, attending and hosting conferences are great ways to increase the value your team brings to your company as part of a forward-thinking and highly-functional team.
Cross-training is one of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to training employees. The idea behind cross-training is that no one should ever be so crucial to the success of your business that the business would descend into chaos if something happened to that one person.
Whether someone slowly becomes jaded and resentful towards your company, wins the lottery, or has to unexpectedly take extended medical leave, you should never be left in the lurch while trying to get their replacement up to speed. Cross-training also improves empathy between departments; it’s harder for someone to think, “That other department has it so easy,” once they have a better understanding of what the other department actually does all day.
A cross-trained employee benefits by having a wider skill set that can be added to a resume when they decide to move on or, better yet, they can leverage themselves into a promotion within your company in the future.
If you want to create a dynamic and successful business, one of the most important parts of that is cultivating an environment where employees are encouraged to develop new skills and deepen existing ones. Investing in your employees in this way always provides a great return, in the form of better output and goodwill generated for the company in exchange for supporting their career development.
MTI Events has been recognized as one of Kansas City’s top small businesses. At MTI Events we specialize in incentive travel programs, meeting planning, special events, trade shows, merchandise incentive programs, team building and more.