You’ve been tasked with boosting employee growth. So, do you make sure they get their vitamins and eight hours of sleep each night? Not really (but it wouldn’t hurt). An employee growth strategy is all about a holistic approach to development; leading to engagement and retention.
What Is an Employee Growth Strategy?
The growth mindset is a belief that people – employees included! – are always capable of building skills and experience. All they need is the chance. Organizations that use an employee growth strategy enable workers to develop at every opportunity and in a variety of ways that encourage satisfaction and productivity.
What Isn’t Employee Growth?
For HR/L&D people, practically everything can be considered an aspect of employee growth strategies. Any activity that promotes the skill, experience, advancement, morale, engagement, and productivity of a worker falls into this category. It also goes beyond training and career development, as it touches on subjects like rewards and hiring practices. Even if you need to let somebody go, a good exit interview can teach you lessons that will boost the growth of other employees.
How to Build an Employee Growth Strategy
It can be helpful to conceptualize employee growth strategies according to the stage of the employee lifecycle.
Traditionally, the fastest stage of growth is when an employee starts off at a company. They need to learn about their particular job, get used to how their department works, and figure out the new personalities in their world. To acclimatize new employees, consider the following initiatives:
Onboarding – In a process that should last 90 days, employees are taught the basics of their new position. Their introduction to the organization as a whole often takes place in a classroom or workshop setting. Teaching the skills specific to the worker’s job can be handled with a job shadowing program, internal mentoring, and customized L&D.
Feedback – You’ll see this one again. Collecting feedback from both new employees and their managers is essential during onboarding. If the new hire isn’t fitting in, they’ll need immediate assessment and training. Otherwise, the problems seen in early stages will only get worse as time goes on.
Once the worker is underway, it’s time to plan for the long term. Here’s where a career management program comes in handy. It sets out a number of scheduled career goals, based on where both management and the employee set the best organizational fit. In this way, HR can prepare for the following:
Feedback and Reviews
At regular stages, it’s important to “take the temperature” of both employees and managers. Many companies notice positive effects when replacing the usual practice of annual or semi-annual reviews with on-the-spot feedback that goes both ways. HR can track these events through pulse surveys and frequent sit-downs with supervisors.
Almost always, employees could use a bit of L&D–regardless of how long they have been working at the organization. Going through a skills gap analysis is a great way to determine exactly what kind of training they need, for both hard skills and soft skills. But don’t forget that even the best plans need to be changed once in a while, including career plans.
Engagement and Retention
A good skills gap analysis, combined with a capable talent development program, will go a long way towards countering the number one reason for an employee to quit – a lack of development opportunities. But engagement is another issue, because it means creating a healthy level of interest in work, in addition to simply staying at your post. To this end, a compelling method for building engagement is through a job enrichment program.
But it’s not all up to the employee and their upskilling efforts. The organization must meet them (at least) halfway by ensuring that all of their hard work leads to upward movement, and that means internal talent mobility. In addition, both HR and executives need to coordinate the skills being acquired by employees with the strategy of the company. If your organization is using effective workforce planning, then this should already be in place.
Assessment and Rewards
Development programs need to be measured so that success – or failure – can be recognized. An informative but intuitive assessment method allows HR/L&D and management to understand if changes need to be made, and if the entire effort is paying off. But it’s just as important to morale. When a worker gets an official pat on the back for participating in a growth program, engagement is the result.
Employees should also receive tangible rewards for their endeavors. Beyond pay raises and benefits, HR can consider recognition programs like “employee of the week” and even automated award systems.
Outside the Employee Lifecycle
Even the most impressive employee growth strategies are not perfect, and you can’t prevent every employee from moving on. When this happens, make sure to conduct an exit interview and discover what might be improved when a replacement comes aboard.
But even here, an employee growth plan can pay off. Ex-workers might still be your brand ambassadors, and spread the word about the great time they had at your organization. This will make recruiting efforts all the easier.
Growth Is Our Middle Name
…and our first name as well. GrowthSpace is a powerful tool at all stages of an employee growth strategy. It’s the world’s leading technology for enabling learning and development at scale through customized talent development. No matter how complex your skill training requirements are, GrowthSpace puts it all together in a way that reduces the burden on HR while increasing benefits for the entire organization.