How to Encourage Employees to Make Time for Skill Development

Employee skill development encouragement

Even the best possible product can't do for a company what qualified and engaged employees can.

An extensive study conducted by John Kotter and James Heskett revealed that companies that value people above all else often experience significantly higher revenue growth than ones without a culture of performance enhancement..

Skill development is a crucial factor in organizational success. But in order to create that culture, there needs to be active input on the leadership side. A good leader knows that a perfect employee doesn't just knock on the door but gets sculpted with good management, the right tools, and an open mindset.

It serves both sides for the employer to bring out of the employee their highest potential and help them become their best possible self. That's why leadership should continually brainstorm innovative ways to encourage employees to make time for skill development.

Create a Learning Culture in the Workplace

A learning culture is an environment that encourages employees to partake in the continuous pursuit of knowledge. If you decide to put emphasis on skill development, the first thing you should think about is the overall approach to learning within your company. 

Not everyone is driven by watching themselves improve. Some people will never want to go beyond the minimum of their responsibilities, and it's an important thing to take into consideration when hiring new staff. People's curiosity, goals, and diligence is what will take your company to the top.

When it comes to skill development, a time clock for employees can help keep things organized. It can bring greater clarity by highlighting data on how work is performed, what can be improved, and what aspects of the work process require closer attention. This information is very useful in determining team development goals that contribute to the bottom line. 

It's also a good time to rethink the way your company works right now. Think about all the areas that could be improved. Do your employees treat learning as the company's core value? Are they a team? Do they help each other and share what they learn? Do you lead by example, implementing the idea of continuous learning into your own workflow? 

Invite and Implement Employee Feedback

You can assume or try to guess what your employees want to learn, but it will never be better than asking them directly.

Skill development comes in many forms, and in order for your employees to feel motivated and eager to acquire them, it needs to be something they personally consider valuable and want to learn.

Discuss openly their strengths and weaknesses. It will give you an overview of what skills they already have, which they could work on, and which ones they need. Then, you will be able to adjust what you can offer them accordingly.

Many companies have successfully driven learning initiatives by providing their employees with a list of relevant professional certificate programs and allowing employees to pick out the ones that best match their own personal and professional development goals. 

Statistics show that employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. Listening and responding to feedback from employees increases the chances of experiencing great results from whatever training you put them in.

Give Employees Tools and Resources to Grow

When you know both what you expect from your employees and what they expect from you, it's time to start thinking about the tools and resources that you need to provide for them.

If you really want to encourage your employees to make time for skill development, you can't wait for them to find ways of learning on their own.

While discussing the learning plans on a public forum, you can collect ideas of all the tools and resources they know, recommend, or are interested in trying. But don't rely solely on that. Take the time to search for the best possible options available.

Aim not only to provide adequate information but also be interesting and fun, to make learning a pleasurable experience. Experiment with different mediums - in-house speakers, courses, tickets to conferences, programs. One size doesn't fit all. Don't be afraid to invest because by investing in people, you invest in the future of your company.

Provide Opportunities to Apply New Skills

Acquiring new skills should lead to achieving a clear goal that an employee has set. Learning should serve some kind of purpose, so a skill needs to be used. Otherwise, it would be quickly forgotten and become nothing but a waste of time and effort.

Provide a chance to put knowledge sharing in the workplace into action. If the employee becomes the office expert on something, gets asked for help, and feels appreciated for his skills, it's a motivation boost unlike any other. 

Employees also feel valued when they actively participate in brainstorming ideas on a public forum and when they get asked for their insights by superiors. 

Another way of putting skills into use is by offering employees more responsibilities. Any opportunity that gives employees a chance to use what they learn is worth implementing into their workflow, as it makes the learning process even more meaningful.

Recognize and Reward Accomplishments

When it comes to working, one of the first thoughts on the sound of the word "reward" is a financial one.This is completely valid. Employees feel appreciated and able to focus on their job when their paycheck proves they are valued. Considering a raise for an outstanding performance or even something as small as a gift card can be a nice touch and recognition. 

But it doesn't have to be limited to just that. From time to time, everyone needs some verbal praise and an acknowledgment of their achievements. Taking time to say a nice word about an employee or commending them for finishing a course on a public forum can be just as appreciated. Hosting an employee appreciation day is also a great way to show your employees that you appreciate them.

Another chance to recognize employees' accomplishments is by providing them with regular feedback. According to the statistics, 98% of employees will fail to be engaged when managers give them little or no feedback. It's something worth having in mind. 

Final Thoughts

There is no perfect way to encourage employees to make time for skill development. However, step by step, any company can implement these methods to make their workplace a more efficient place full of qualified and cooperative people. Skill development is an ongoing process that starts with the right mindset. When that's in its place, everything else is just a matter of will.

Author Bio 

Roli Edema is a personal development author and digital marketer. She is passionate about continuous learning, psychology, and practicing the 80/20 principle to see greater results in life. Through her work, Roli provides individuals with useful tools to enable them to reach their personal, career, and business goals.

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