To remain successful, organizations need to innovate and grow. Hiring top talent is essential to growing your organization, but promoting internally is a win-win for both you and your happy employees who can move up and fill vacant positions.
One of the best ways to ensure your organization continues to evolve is to invest in employee development plans that equip your current employees with new skills and experiences so that they can move up and you can focus on hiring entry-level employees.
In this article, we’ll explain why your organization needs to invest in employee development plans, why professional development matters to your employees, and how employee benefits can help.
What is employee development?
Employee development is when you support your employees’ professional development through training programs, learning opportunities, or promoting hands-on experience. It also involves making your employees feel appreciated and supported so they can continue to grow in the workplace.
Employee development activities can help workers establish career goals, develop new soft skills, and provide new opportunities at your organization.
How does employee development affect employees?
Improving your employees’ skills and experiences helps create a more motivated workforce. Your employees can become more productive at work, helping you reach your goals.
When your employees feel appreciated and supported thanks to your employee development activities, they’ll have higher employee satisfaction. This can lead to improved employee retention.
Most importantly for your employees, providing them with tools and access for personal development helps them achieve their personal career goals, including moving up in your organization.
Many employees feel that professional development is essential to reach their full potential. According to a survey from ClearCompany1, 74% of employees said a lack of employee development activities keeps them from their full potential in the workplace.
Failing to provide ample career development and growth opportunities can result in these employees leaving for an organization that offers growth opportunities.
How does employee development impact your organization?
You’ll ensure your current workforce continues to grow by providing development opportunities to your employees. This allows your organization to stay up-to-date on or ahead of industry trends. By continuing to grow your workforce’s skill sets, your organization can innovate and become an industry leader.
If your employees become highly skilled and specialized, your organization has a greater competitive advantage.
Prevent skill shortages
Especially in the technology and manufacturing sectors, investing in your employees can reduce any skills shortages you might face. This allows your employees who already understand your company culture, management, and goals to move up to specialized positions rather than focusing your resources on hiring someone from the outside.
Reduce employee turnover and increase satisfaction
Employee development programs also reduce your employee turnover rate. That’s because employees value career growth. According to a 2021 survey by Monster2, 45% of surveyed employees said they’re more likely to stay at their current jobs if they were offered more training and development opportunities.
A ClearCompany1 survey also found that 94% of employees would stay at an organization longer if their employer invested in their career development. They also found that retention rates are 34% higher at organizations with career development opportunities.
Additionally, our 2022 Employee Benefits Survey Report found that 61% of surveyed employees value professional development benefits in the workplace. However, only 40% of employers offer them.
Establishing a development program will give you a competitive advantage in hiring and allow you to better attract and retain employees.
How to create an employee development program
If you’re thinking about employee development plans for your organization, you’ll need to consider the unique needs of your organization and your employees. This ensures that your employee development activities are tailored to your specific industry and skills.
Think about the skills critical to your industry and how you can create a robust employee development program that caters to all learning styles, preferences, and skill levels. If your program doesn’t appeal to your employees, they’ll lose interest in it, preventing them from developing valuable skills.
We’ll outline a few steps you can take to create robust employee development plans that promote longer-term employee retention.
Evaluate your goals
First, you’ll need to consider your goals for the program. Is your primary goal to reduce employee turnover by offering additional perks, or is it to help your employees grow into their roles and advance in the organization?
You’ll also need to consider how your program relates to your long-term goals and business strategies.
Once you have an idea of your goals and objectives for the program, you can start designing the individual employee development activities.
Provide a wide variety of development opportunities
Next, you’ll want to ask your employees what skills they’d like to develop to help them with their career paths and current positions. You should also ask about their preferred format for these activities and opportunities.
Skills that your program might address include:
- Communication skills
- Project management skills
- Leadership skills
- Cross-training with other departments
- Training on advanced tools and programs
If only a few employees are interested in a specific skill, you can purchase an online course or include on-the-job training if possible. If many of your employees are interested in a skill, you could consider seminars or lunch-and-learns to reduce costs.
Your program should accommodate all types of learning, and unique employee needs to attract and retain employees successfully. You may need to offer a combination of classes, seminars, online courses, and hands-on training.
Your program might include:
- Mentorship opportunities
- Job shadowing with co-workers
- Seminars and lunch and learns
- Online courses
- Project rotation and job enrichment
Additionally, you’ll need to provide your employees with the opportunity to take on tasks or switch roles that help them grow their skills and find value in their work. By promoting from within, you’ll continue to grow company loyalty and promote a culture of learning and growth.
Offer employee-specific training
While your employee development activities will go a long way toward creating an engaged workforce, you won’t be able to touch on every aspect of professional development. That’s where personalized, employee-specific training comes in.
By listening to your employees’ constructive feedback on their work, what interests them the most, and what their goals are at your organization, you can better tailor tasks and opportunities for each employee.
Encourage your employees and their direct managers to meet regularly to discuss their career plans and opportunities for trying new skills or tasks. This can lead to greater employee performance and engagement.
How employee benefits can help you invest in your employees
Establishing employee development programs can take a lot of time and valuable resources. While there’s no replacement for hands-on training with co-workers or giving out job enrichment tasks, there’s an easier way to provide your employees with access to online courses and tools.
Personalized benefits allow you to provide your employees with a monthly allowance for the expenses of your choice. Your employees can then use their allowance on the eligible expenses that matter most to them.
For example, you can offer a taxable continuing education employee stipend that allows your employees to use their funds or get reimbursed for education-related expenses, such as online courses, college classes, and other resources like textbooks.
You could also offer your employees a tax-free education fringe benefit for their college courses that will help them improve their skills and qualifications for specialized roles within your organization.
This allows you to focus on growing your organization and aligning tasks with employees’ career goals while they can choose how to spend their education allowance.
Other employee benefits can help you invest in your employees’ success
It’s not just education benefits that can help your employees’ talent development. Other types of personalized benefits can support your employees so that they can focus on their work, all while making engaged employees more likely to stay at your organization instead of leaving for a competitor.
Personalized health benefits such as a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) or health stipend allow you to reimburse your employees for their qualifying medical expenses up to your monthly allowance. This not only helps you retain your employees, but it helps them live healthier, reducing the number of times employees are out sick.
A wellness stipend can reimburse employees for their wellness expenses such as gym memberships, home exercise equipment, devices and wearables, and mobile apps.
With health and wellness benefits, your employees can focus more of their time on advancing their careers and growing their skills without having to worry about their health and wellness expenses.
A remote work stipend can be an attractive benefit if you have employees who work from home. This allows you to reimburse your employees for their home internet access costs, cell phone bills, and home office setup costs, including any tools necessary for their role.
Offering a variety of employee benefits alongside your employee development program is a great way to ensure that your employees stay satisfied with their work.
Employee development is a great way to improve the overall skill set of your organization while promoting employee engagement and reducing turnover. By upskilling your workers, you’ll be able to reduce recruitment costs and better achieve your business goals.
To ensure your employees remain engaged, you’ll need to offer more than just continuing education benefits. If you’re interested in expanding your benefits package, PeopleKeep can help. Our HRA and employee stipend benefits administration software makes it easy to set up and manage your health, wellness, and remote work expenses in minutes each month.