Employee development programs are essentially universal. Every job requires at least some training, while some demand continuous learning. So, as long as it’s happening anyways, smart organizations provide the best development programs possible. If they do it right, they discover a lot more than just meeting the basic needs of the company.
Types of Employee Development Programs
An employee development program (EDP) is a general term for all of the learning and development initiatives supplied by HR to any worker. This includes the leadership development programs given to managers and executives (but not exclusively, in companies that have a growth mindset). Also, not every program occurs within a company. For example, when attending courses of higher education or technical specialties, employees are often not physically at the workplace, but their employer still pays for their studies. Here are some common examples of EDPs:
- Onboarding and orientation for new hires
- Soft-skills training
- Product and services training
- Career development
- Job enrichment
- Feedback programs
- Compliance training
- Hard skills
- Leadership development
- Mentoring programs
- Talent development
- Workplace skills
Investing in an Employee Development Program
The number and type of EDPs is practically endless, so HR/L&D people might wonder how much should be spent on them. Right now, the average global expenditure on L&D per employee is $1, 267. But keep in mind that this is still an average. An executive course for issuing IPOs might cost a few times that, while sponsoring an MBA student can go into six figures. On the other hand, employee onboarding is essentially free because it is handled internally. What’s more important is what you spend the money on.
Engagement and Employee Development
There are two main areas of employee development. The first is practical skills, which enable a worker to perform everyday tasks. These skills involve more than just knowing how to write a program or build a widget. In the modern workplace, soft skills that permit us to communicate and cooperate effectively are just as essential as nuts-and-bolts functionality.
The second area of development relates to an employee’s motivations and feelings about their job. We are in a time of massive disengagement, as organizations are seemingly losing the ability to impart a sense of “why?” to their employees.
This is because the truth about engagement is that workers need to feel a sense of purpose in their jobs. How does their role contribute to something positive? What can they do to help others succeed? It all boils down to an organization that:
- Contributes to society
- Has a culture that explains and imparts this value to employees
Rolling out EDPs that cover both areas gives a company the skills that it needs to prosper, and workers who are more engaged and easier to retain.
Two Key Elements for Effective Employee Development
In light of this, all EDPs should include efforts that build culture through leading by example, illustrating the big picture of an individual’s role, and enabling mutual support. There are two connected HR moves that can achieve this.
It’s up to HR to define if and how the company benefits the outside world. Hopefully, your organization provides value to society at some level. For example, being one of the wealthiest companies in the world might make Alphabet (AKA Google) a target for scorn. But Google employees give their company high marks when it comes to both mission and values.
Your company’s interpersonal relations are another sort of social value. Does it hire handicapped people, veterans, and other minorities? Is there an internal welfare system? Are there opportunities to simply help each other out, professionally or personally? Building a “family” culture is an additional avenue for benefiting humanity.
HR needs to lead initiatives that build culture through:
- Forming a mission statement based on the value that the company brings to society
- Explaining the culture to the organization and translating this to standards, goals, attitudes, and behaviors
- Publicizing any actions taken by employees that illustrate affirmative behavior
- Using role models, particularly executives, to show culture in action
- Building a list of skills and employee personas that support cultural goals
The lessons learned through these steps should be extended throughout the company. For instance, during recruiting efforts, HR should look for the personas it has defined. Similarly, during onboarding and post-onboarding L&D programs, HR might include elements that focus on the company’s culture. Finally, the organization should consider linking actions that support culture to promotion and compensation.
Build a GrowthSpace Culture
GrowthSpace was created with a mission in mind: to bring out the greatness in every employee. GrowthSpace understands that the key for any person to achieve their professional goals is to be given a chance to do so with L&D courses that match their dreams and skills.
So GrowthSpace set off – and succeeded – to design a talent development platform that enables any employee to get the skills that they desire and go as far in professional life as they want. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that GrowthSpace also makes professional life a lot easier for the HR team with a unified platform to handle all L&D administration.