Breedlove's Briefing: What Employees Really Want: Put Them in the Driver’s Seat of Their Own Learning and Development

June 17 - Stephanie Breedlove

Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.

I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!

Is that list of business news and trending articles you’ve tagged still unread? I get it. Allow me to help. Take a couple minutes to read my summary of articles serving the most pertinent, actionable business topics. Or, take 10 minutes to read the full article, and put another brick on the foundation of your growing career.

This Week’s Must-Read:

What Employees Really Want: Put Them in the Driver’s Seat of Their Own Learning and Development

Who it’s for:

Everyone. Every founder, every executive, every manager, every employee.

Why it’s important:

All the employee talent you’ve ever wanted is right under your nose. That’s right: The future leaders of your organization, the innovative problem-solvers and the go-getters are as close as the nearest cubicle. We all know this, but it seems we need a constant reminder that it is more cost-effective and productive to retain high-potential employees than it is to start at the beginning with the recruitment process.

Ninety-four percent of employees say they would stay with their employer longer if the company invested in career development, according to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report. It’s time we listened to our employees and give them what they crave. (And in doing so, we engage in smart business).

But how to get started? Here are three ways your company or department can create an engaging, talent-development environment that aligns with business goals.

  1. Organizations first lay the groundwork, then let employees take the lead. The kind of career development that makes employees want to stay starts with the organization realizing they have a responsibility to help employees develop their skills, coach them, and aid in finding a successful career path. Because this work is in the best interest of the organization, it is best to approach this work as a non-optional exercise. Taking the time to ‘dig in’ at your employees’ side to guide their growth has tremendous payback.

    Useful Tools: The commitment to high-quality employee development starts with orientation. Organizations should design these programs to give employees the tools they need to be successful. Think budgeting tools for new managers - or teaching expectations and standards for preparing for a 1:1 meeting - as examples to kick off building your toolsets.

    Guidance: Once employees have tools in hand and are accountable for using them to their advantage, managers should be held accountable for guidance that leads to career growth. If you are a manager, have you encouraged your team to take on new assignments that will grow new skills? This should not only be encouraged; it should be expected.

2. Coaching: This is where the fun begins! Managers can take on the role of coach to support career development. A good way to do this is to tap into what the employee does well and hone those skills. Provide opportunities for employees to showcase what they do well. Then, progress to developing additional skills that are a natural extension of their ‘favorite areas.’

How employees can take the lead in effective career planning. Employees must be involved in the career development process. Equal dedication from superior and subordinate is mandatory for success. Here are some ways employees can take the lead in their development goals:

Stretch Goals: Employees can ask their managers to help them set stretch goals that move them just outside their comfort zone. These challenging assignments advance the acquisition of new skills.

Brush Up on Presentation Goals: When employees research and learn something new, such as technology, trends, and industry developments, it allows them to give a presentation to their team. Post the presentation to a Slack channel or company intranet.

Become More Visible: Assist employees with work on a cross-functional or cross-cultural team. Employees will discover new challenges and get exposure to other leaders inside the company.

3. Building a Pipeline That Rewards Everyone. The talent you want to hire is hiding in plain sight. Do you know how to find the talent that exists in your organization to promote successfully from within? No? Then it’s time to start building your pipeline.

Saba’s State of Succession Planning report gave a failing grade on the overall state of succession planning across 600 organizations. The findings clearly show that organizations are not doing enough to identify and develop talent to fill key positions. Here are three ways to cultivate a legacy of leaders:

Find the Rock Stars. To identify high-potential employees, look for people who have the desire and skills to move into different roles. Identify employees who represent the future of the company, and then go talk to them about their career dreams.

Development is Key for the Next Role. Start developing these folks for the next role. Training and development allow employees to be empowered as they create personalized career journeys. A lot is riding on this type of learning. It should be a core responsibility of each manager to provide continued on-the-job training, new project opportunities, and formal continued education.

Keep the Best. When people get promoted or move on, critical positions open up. When this happens, following a succession plan is critical. Moving your ‘best’ from within into new roles sustains company culture and builds loyalty.

Top Take-Away: Employee retention is within your reach if you can create an engaging workplace experience that builds a connected talent development environment aligned with business goals. It’s smart business. So why isn’t everyone doing it? It takes long-term, structured focus that requires deep commitment. Those that prioritize this investment in their department or company will experience the BIG WINS!

Interest piqued? Here’s a few more:

How to Create a Company of Owners and Why It Is Smart Business

6 Ways to Take Control of Your Career Development If Your Company Doesn’t Care About It

Steps to Create a Career Development Plan

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