Professional development is the key to employee happiness, fulfilment and retention.
Not only that, but having employees consistently upskilling themselves will positively impact your company’s performance.
To help you build more of it into your organisational culture, here are 6 cost-effective ways to improve and encourage employee development.
You have a goldmine of talent, skills and knowledge in your very office. Don’t let it go to waste.
Get your employees doing company workshops on their areas of expertise. We do this weekly (over G&Ts on a Friday) and have found it incredibly valuable. Each week one of our team gives a presentation to the rest of us on an interesting area of their work, or a project they’ve recently aced.
If your employees all share the same skills and work, then talents like writing, sales, public speaking, time management and even meditation are valuable life skills for anyone to have – and you probably employ gurus in each of these fields.
If you have very segmented departments (and your creative team would rather die than listen to your finance department) you can keep it intradepartmental. However, don’t discount how valuable it is to keep all sectors of your company connected and aware of what the other departments are up to.
If you have internet access there is almost nothing you can’t learn.
We are lucky enough to have CleverClicks cover the cost our online learning efforts, but if this is not an option for your company, there are also myriad free courses available.
Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a great option. They offer a number of university courses for free, and you’d be surprised at the wide range of subjects they cover: from advanced SEO to architecture to actuarial science. All of them are based on certified university course material.
Check it out at http://mooc.org/.
If your team are putting in the effort to up skill themselves it’s very motivating to ensure they’re recognised and rewarded for it. Here are a few ideas on how to go about it:
Incentivising extra-curricular learning boosts participation rates, even if the incentive is just recognition and verbal reward.
Building a bring and share library is an easy and free way to encourage learning. It’s great if you can sponsor the office a few new books per month, or, if you have no budget to speak of, you can ask employees to bring books they’ve found helpful and lend them to a sharing library in the office. You can even start intradepartmental book clubs.
It’s also a really nice idea to get shareable Kindles that employees can borrow (or even rent) or stipend for book purchases on Amazon to help your library grow.
Once a month, get employees together to eat lunch and watch an educational video, TedTalk or webinar.
It’s so easy to organise and it’s great team bonding, gets people away from eating lunch at their desks and boosts participation rates – especially if you provide snacks.
Your employees work very hard and use a lot of brainpower to do their job each day. Adding intensive learning to the pile is great, but every now and then they deserve a break.
A lighter topic or even a non-work-related topic of interest should make its way into the curriculum. At Moz, they have presentations by employees on anything – not only work-related – so people can get up and talk about their travels or extra-curricular achievements or gender reassignment surgery (true story).
It’s still learning, but it’s multi-dimensional and mind-broadening, plus it’s great for team bonding.
Curiosity, learning and growth are key elements of a high performing business and happy company culture.
With our long do-lists and busy lives it can be difficult to ensure employees stay motivated to keep learning. The 6 tips above are easy, cheap and effective ways to ensure that employees are motivated to up skill themselves and they feel supported in doing so.