5 Ways to grow employee skillsets

    April 28, 2017

    As a manager, it’s your job to provide your people with opportunities to advance their skills. This not only helps them develop professionally; it also makes them feel more engaged, which can improve their performance. So how can you make sure your team get the chances they need to grow? Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind.

    • Do establish individual development plans for each employee. Together with each team member, go over the operational objectives for upcoming months to pinpoint interesting tasks and challenging assignments that will help him or her grow.
    • Don’t go easy on any underperforming employees. As Suzanne Lucas reminds us in her article titled “Need 6 Strategies to Promote the Growth of Your Employees?” for The Balance, these are precisely the people who need to be challenged. Determine what’s holding them back—lack of training, confidence issues, or something else—and find appropriate stretch assignments to help them grow.
    • Do establish mentoring and reverse mentoring programs. Whether it’s about sharing years of knowledge with a younger colleague or helping a mature coworker navigate a new digital platform, mentoring gives employees of all ages the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and improve their communication skills.
    • Don’t penalize employees who make mistakes. Learning is a process, and making mistakes is an important part of that process. Workers who are afraid of being penalized are going to stay safely within their comfort zones—which unfortunately won’t teach them anything. To effectively support your employees in their professional development, you need to challenge them while simultaneously never putting them in the position that one of their mistakes could have truly serious consequences for the company. In other words, you need to monitor their work, step in when necessary, and have a good safety net in place.
    • Do allow your employees to suggest their own opportunities. When your employees are happy and engaged, they might come up with ideas and projects of their own that will both help them grow while simultaneously benefiting the company. For example, an employee could suggest a new cost-cutting approach to a business process or a team member might want to create a series of webinars to enhance the company’s brand. Always give them the room to discuss these types of opportunities, and if an idea is viable, provide the support and guidance the employee needs to make it a reality.

    Keep these do’s and don’ts in mind, and you’ll soon see how your people will begin to advance their skills and knowledge. By doing this, you’ll also increase their—and your—value to the company. And that’s often what makes the difference between a good manager and a great one.


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