Personal development

13 ways to regularly support the personal development of your employees


One of the most important things you can do to develop and retain talent is to provide them with opportunities for personal development. It can encompass anything from leadership training, to learning a new skill, to simply pursuing a passion that inspires an employee in and out of the workplace.

But personal development is not universal: In a Forbes article, Joe Folkman writes that most personal development plans fail because they are not motivated by the individual and his or her interests.

Members of Forbes Coaching Council share 13 ways managers can support their employees’ personal development initiatives, while giving them the autonomy they need to grow in their own way.

Members of the Forbes Coaches Council discuss how you can continually invest in the personal development of your employees.

All images courtesy of the members of the Forbes Council.

1. Create growth plans

At the start of the year or when someone starts working with the organization, make a “growth plan” with the person. Have 12 virgin months and make a plan with them. It is important to know where they want to grow up and to support them. It could be reading three books a year, learning how to hire, or following someone into a different role. Not planning for growth prevents growth. – Marie Anne Gillespie, Red Apple Coaching

2. Integrate the “growth time”

Enable employees to engage in personal development by allocating 10 percent of their time to personal or professional growth. The only rules: the way they spend their time must be exaggerated: something out of the box that has an advantage for the company, whether it is to develop a skill directly related to their role or to improve their skills. leadership skills. – Lizabeth czepiel, Lizabeth Czepiel, LLC

3. Set 90-day learning goals

Encourage everyone to have a 90 day learning goal and share what it is. In my team, we discuss our learning from the last 30 days and what we want to focus on for the next 60-90 days. We are committed to both individual and organizational learning. Making it safe to experiment with new ideas and report on your learning is also a great way to encourage development. – Shawn Kent Hayashi, The Professional Development Group LLC

4. Provide innovative learning experiences

Employees are more likely to be excited about personal development opportunities when they are innovative and fun. Mix things up by offering a variety of interesting and engaging learning experiences. For example, this can include learning about the destination, using cutting-edge technology or interactive exercises where the concepts introduced can be easily applied in context. – Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq., WordSmithReport

5. Map the long-term benefits

Introduce personal development so staff can see the wider benefits beyond the job. If it feels like it’s strictly work related, then people will compartmentalize what they learn and not see the benefits on a large scale. Approach it from a lifetime perspective so that employees bring their positive attitudes to the home and to their communities around them. – Nancy marmolejo, TalentAndGenius.com

6. Make development opportunities “One size fits all”

The next generation of learning and development is all about one size fits all – bite size and real-time accessibility. Understand the skills and behaviors associated with the organization’s vision. From there, ask managers to understand what is important to their employees individually. Then provide an internal platform and external supports to support the development. – Alicia reece, The Reece Group

7. Take an active interest in personal development

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to discuss personal development. The frequency will depend on your activity (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.). Find out what interests them outside of their normal scope and encourage and support them in their pursuit. Staff performance and loyalty increase when employees feel supported and empowered to pursue their personal goals and dreams. – Gina Gomez, Gina Gomez, Business and Life Coach

8. Think beyond formal training

Go beyond thinking that development should come through formal classroom training. Create a book club where employees can discuss the latest trends in your industry; provide a 15-minute “lunch and learn” where employees teach each other a skill; or create a corporate Slack group for social learning. Make development easily accessible (and easier on the budget) through useful and informal methods. – Loren Margolis, Training and Leadership Success LLC

9. Ask and listen

When you have your next one-on-one, listen with attention and intention. Give your employee your full attention, without getting lost in what to do next or what you want to say. Set your intention for the conversation to appreciate his point of view. Ask these two simple questions: What skills are you looking to develop? How can I help you grow? You will be amazed at the power of these questions. – Aaron Levy, Raising the bar

10. Create a culture of learning

All development is the result of learning. To effectively support personal development on a regular basis, organizations should foster a “culture of learning”. When a strong learning culture is embedded in the foundation of an organization, more employees see the importance of lifelong learning. There are many mechanisms, tools, and incentives that organizations can put in place, but start with the culture. – Eddie Turner, Eddie Turner LLC

11. Train managers to become mentors

Completing an annual business plan is useful, but it could become an exercise on paper. Train managers to regularly explore how and why a staff member wants to develop. A helpful question is, “Over the next 6 to 12 months, how can you become a better version of yourself to achieve your personal career goals?” Managers can facilitate the development of their staff and help open doors. – Diane chang, Diane Chang Coaching

12. Help your team learn from each other

With some of my clients, we create communities of practice or peer learning groups where people can share their experiences and find people with similar challenges to talk to. Another option is to support development by encouraging people to cross-pollinate (that is, see what others are doing in the same field) in other areas of the business. – Steffan Surdek, Pyxis Technologies

13. Ask employees what they want and what they need

Regularly soliciting personal development ideas can help you understand what your team members want and give you new ideas. If personal development is part of your business culture, people should feel free to talk about their goals and needs with their supervisors, HR, and the rest of their team to develop solutions, within the limits of the budget of course, which can benefit everyone. – Andrea MacKenzie, Leading with harmony



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