Most HR professionals would agree that employee growth and development is the “double whammy” of career management. With development, you get the skills that lead to seemingly endless benefits for the organization: greater engagement and performance, lower costs, training future leaders, attracting top talent, and so on. But growth adds more of the emotional connection between a worker and the workplace, which is also vital. When you marry the two, development and growth are a foolproof path to achieving your HR goals.
Development and Growth Are Not Synonymous
Development is connected to career planning, but growth is a mentality. The understanding that employee development programs have major benefits has been around for a while, and so they are a standard part of any HR to-do list. But the growth mindset is less so. This mindset is of the belief that people who set their minds to something can acquire almost any skill. What determines a person’s progress are mainly opportunities and emotions – does the organization give an employee the means to build aptitude, and do they want to? If the answer to both questions is “yes,” then a smart HR department matches their ambition with a growth and development strategy.
Gearing-Up for Growth
Of course, growth does not just happen. First, you’ll need to set up the right program by following best practices, including measurement. Then, you’ll go through an employee development process and arrange for the resulting job enrichment initiatives. If all goes well, you’ll experience many of the valuable benefits we’ve highlighted below:
In the post-pandemic world, engagement is hard to get. But a growth program seems to do the trick, which is only logical, considering that the top reason for employees to quit is a lack of advancement opportunities. By turning this situation around, and providing learning programs across the board, companies stand a significant chance of improving engagement. According to Glint, employees who are given these opportunities are 350% more likely to feel that their company supports their professional goals.
Engagement is also a factor in retention because employees who are more interested in their jobs are more likely to stick with them. Here too, growth plays a vital role – 94% of workers would remain longer at their current place of work if L&D investments were made on their behalf.
One area where development differs from growth is in job satisfaction. An employee who gets multiple L&D opportunities might have all the skills they need, but if they are not satisfied, they will leave the first chance they get.
Enhancing job satisfaction is a complicated mission. Through the combined effort of HR, management, and employees, job satisfaction leads to advancement through initiatives like:
- Promotion and opportunities for promotion
- Good interaction with coworkers
- Proper supervision
- The work itself (engagement and retention programs, awards, workplace feedback)
In fact, these features are based on the Job Descriptive Index (JDI). It’s interesting to note how closely real-life studies about job satisfaction mirror the JDI’s priorities. For example, these are the five “top drivers of job satisfaction” (out of 23 categories) from a Conference Board study:
- Potential for future growth
- Workplace communication channels
- Interest in work
- Performance review process
Most HR professionals are concerned with the goings-on inside the company. But there is an outside world where growth is also important. One of the ways to implement development programs is through a job enrichment initiative, which involves (among many other things) assigning employees to temporary customer service duties. By including complementary courses, such as empathy skills training, HR can get employees thinking more about the company as a whole and how they are part of something bigger than themselves.
This is a major goal of any L&D program, and clients notice it as well – engaged employees lead to a 10% increase in customer loyalty, on average.
Any type of professional development program needs to show value. Sure, growth initiatives will promote engagement, satisfaction, and even customer service. But what about the bottom line? Here too, employee development leads to positive outcomes.
Harvard Business Review studied the importance of employee experience in the retail industry (where customer service is definitely important). As a way to use employee growth factors in their assessment, Harvard looked at full-time workers who had spent years with the same employer, held various positions, and developed skills. They discovered that the 25% of employees nearest the top of the scale generated 50% more revenue than the lowest 25% of employees. So, the next time you’re discussing ROI with management, keep that in mind.
Make GrowthSpace Your Go-to Growth Solution
You can’t fit a round peg in a square hole, and you shouldn’t send employees to L&D programs that don’t match their needs. Remember that employee motivation is critical for any growth initiative, and that means personalized courses that fit their goals.
But don’t worry, because organizational goals are just as important. That’s why the GrowthSpace process starts with the skill targets that your company wants to achieve and continues by setting up employees with exactly the experts that they need. Add customized learning experiences and a universal assessment system, and you’re looking at a new, effective, and much more HR-friendly L&D platform.