The Importance Of Investing In Employee Development

19 December 2013 / by Ashley Freeman


“Leaders must develop the capabilities of employees, nurture their careers, and manage the performance of individuals and teams.”

‘Make Talent a Strategic Priority,’ The MacKinsey Quarterly

You hired your latest team member for their talent and potential, right? Well how do you expect to maximize that talent and potential without developing and nurturing it?

Learning isn’t a one off. It doesn’t stop once you have satisfactorily initiated a new employee and familiarized them with the requirements of their role. Learning and development must be an ongoing thing if you are to maximize potential and employee engagement.

Unfortunately, many leaders are falling short of providing the teaching and encouragement needed to develop their best team members. Time management issues and financial constraints often prevent us from executing effective employees development strategies.

It is doubly important now as the economy recovers from a major recession, and the upcoming workforce are consistently written off as ‘lazy’ and ‘unprepared’ for the modern world of work.

Studies have proven that organisations that invest in ongoing development programs are rewarded with improved overall performance, greater employee engagement, a higher percentage of internal promotions and a better chance of retaining talented team members.

We all know we should be doing it, but how should you go about it?

Start by acting as a role model. If your team sees that you, as a leader, are still learning and developing, and that you have vulnerabilities, they will be more inclined to embrace development themselves. Create a culture whereby learning is celebrated as a valuable outcome of a project.

Team members should be able to link their daily activities to a bigger picture. This means recognizing how their efforts help meet organizational goals, but also how they bring themselves closer to their own, personal goals. Give your employees a sense of where they can go within the organisation. Provide them with an idea of how developing their potential might help their ambitions and career path.

And remember…problems aren’t just problems. They are opportunities for learning and developing. Allow team members to make mistakes without feeling like they may cost them their job or slow their climb up the career ladder. Help them to see problems as an opportunity to develop, not as a threat.

If you identify an area of weakness in an employee, think about how that weakness could be remedied. Try pairing the team member in question with another known for their strengths in that area. Maybe encourage them to enroll on an online course, or fund them through a day course.

Are you asking your employees – “What have you learned today?”

Are you investing time and company resources in developing your best talent?

No? You should be.

If you’d like any further advice on how to develop talented employees, please give us a call!