Why Wouldn't you Want to Improve your Workforce?

I am amazed at the number of organizations and/or managers who say they don't think it is important to provide development opportunities to their employees. Yes, training and employee development cost money and take time, but the payoff can be huge for the organization and for employees.

Generation X and the Millennial Generation in particular are looking for ways to improve their skill set, to grow as individuals and to contribute to their organizations.

Some managers say that they don't support employee development because, if they provide training, then the employee will have improved skills they may take to their new employer. This is so shortsighted! It is more likely that your good employees will leave you anyway if you don't provide development opportunities; so why wouldn't you want to improve their skill set for the time they spend with you?

If cost is the issue, and it certainly is for many organizations in our difficult economy, there are highly cost-effective ways to provide training. Have you considered using subject matter experts (SMEs) in your own organization to share their expertise with others in the organization? This doesn't cost much other than time, but be sure the SME is provided some help to develop their material so that there is a good transfer of valued knowledge.

Another very cost effective way for developing employees is to provide a mentoring program. This can also be a morale boost for selected mentors and a retention technique -- people selected to be mentors don't typically resign their positions while mentoring others.

Mentors should be carefully selected, or if volunteers are selected, consider providing training or coaching for mentors and, please, don't expect mentors to take their own time to mentor -- provide them time to prepare for their mentoring sessions and if possible, reward them either through a bonus or highly visible recognition.

For more ideas on providing employee development opportunities, see Chapter 23 of The Big Book of HR. Go to our “Reports” page for a roadmap for creating an Individual Development Plan.


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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.