There are many ways to encourage employee growth, but not everything relies exclusively on HR. Growth initiatives are a team sport. Without employee and manager buy-in – the goals you’re going for just won’t come to fruition. That’s why everyone must understand their role in the process. What human resources can do is keep tabs on all the stakeholders to ensure they are not letting their responsibilities slide.
It Takes 3 to Make Growth Go Right
Look at it from a glass-half-empty point of view. If the critical players in development and growth programs aren’t doing their part, then there’s little chance for success. Specifically:
- Employees are the focus of growth initiatives. If they’re not available, engaged, and enthused, then the work won’t get done.
- Managers are the true enablers. They must not only clear schedules, but also support, advise, and commend participants.
- HR is the address for the entire effort. They coordinate critical learning programs and all the other parts of a growth strategy.
Now, let’s have a look at some of the specific moves that our trio can take to gain the benefits of growth programs.
Employee burnout is indeed on the high side right now. But don’t forget that part of burnout is a lack of engagement. When somebody believes that their efforts won’t lead anywhere, they lose the energy to continue.
So, step number one in encouraging growth programs is to get the absolute buy-in of employees. This process starts with a career development plan, where workers give their input about which professional direction they want to take. This is the time for HR to break down exactly what that means in terms of commitment and effort. After all, a growth program goes far beyond most L&D courses because it seeks multiple high-level goals and will probably last a year. Employees need to understand this level of dedication.
During the program, the employee will face many challenges in addition to acquiring skills and experiences. Put simply, they might find that their professional and even personal lives are busy. To enable workers to handle the stress and stay positive, HR can help through courses dealing with:
A final commitment that employees should understand is the importance of honesty during reviews. If they haven’t made progress, the issue is not one of blame. Instead, it is about what needs to change for progress to occur. After all, seeing mistakes as learning opportunities is the core concept of the growth mindset.
According to Statista, the second biggest challenge for an L&D department is that employees lack the time to participate in courses (the first is the small size of the L&D team). But how accurate is this claim? Many employees spend around 3 hours each day doing stuff not related to their jobs. In light of this, managers need to encourage employees to be a bit more efficient. This will allow:
- Program participants to get more of their regular tasks done
- Managers to more easily find temporary replacements for participants
- Workers taking part in job enrichment to find the time to get the experiences they want
Another task for managers in a development program is providing feedback and taking part in assessments. Busy bosses might not invest that much thought into this aspect of the program. It is HR’s role to reinforce the message that learning and development programs will benefit them too because they will end up with more skilled and engaged employees.
HR can help to simplify the task by explaining precisely what to look for in the participant during the course. For example, if the current goal is better communication skills, then the manager should only focus on that aspect of participant performance for the time being.
Finally, managers are probably the most valuable people in your company for giving the recognition and praise that are an important component of development. Both in formal reviews and on the spur of the moment, managers can give compliments that are meaningful and motivational. As for HR, they should in turn reward such managers for their support.
Like a mother hen watching over her brood, HR is the central stakeholder for growth and development plans. Regularly, they need to check if employees and managers are doing their part.
Plus a lot more. At the end of the day, all L&D programs need to serve the interests of the organization. Engagement and retention are important indicators of employee satisfaction, but they also mean greater productivity and lower employee replacement costs. In the bigger picture, HR/L&D ensures that the skill needs and strategic personnel requirements of the company are fulfilled by growth programs and similar initiatives. Here are just a few ways for this to happen:
- Coordinating organizational strategy plans with career management programs
- Keeping track of the latest skill requirements and including them in employee training courses
- Sourcing trainers, mentors, and coaches who are experts in their field
- Ensuring that the results of growth initiatives are measurable while taking steps to optimize them
For Efficient Growth, Bring GrowthSpace Aboard
Many leading organizations actually have a fourth “stakeholder” for growth and development plans.
Companies with large numbers of employees and skill requirements need a way to handle all the moving parts while ensuring that L&D programs meet organizational goals. GrowthSpace matches workers to a global network of experts with proficiency in exactly the areas that you require. With GrowthSpace, HR departments achieve measurable growth program results with less effort.
Let GrowthSpace be your proven partner for all your L&D initiatives.