Employees at small businesses desire opportunities to grow in their careers. Three-fourths of employees have indicated that they’d like to professional development opportunities.
Not receiving this professional development often results in a general discontentment with their career or current position. Employers that provide continued opportunities for growth and training are better positioned to help employees feel satisfaction and reach their full potential.
Many small businesses offer chances for their employees to grow, but workers can fail to recognize those opportunities.
This article serves to guide your effort to direct your employees toward your existing professional development opportunities. It will help you take the proper steps to allow employees to recognize your growth opportunities.
Clearly Emphasize Your Professional Development Opportunities
Without obvious and clear indicators from you, your employees will not be able to recognize the professional development opportunities your company has in place.
The more you’re able to integrate the opportunities into your company culture, the more accessible they’ll seem to employees. There are several ways to make sure you’re doing your part to make professional development recognizable to your team.
To start, try incorporating discussions about career growth into employee reviews. Within reviews, you have the chance to give and receive feedback on employee performance and their experience with your company. They’re designed to ensure that employees’ professional needs are met.
This is a perfect time to bring up goals, challenges, and where your professional development and training opportunities can fit into that picture. Discussing this during feedback sessions makes learning new skills a formalized part of the job.
Additionally, the sessions can help you and your employees identify what kind of career development training would be most impactful for them. Doing this exercise together will help employees recognize the importance your company puts on professional development.
Another promising place to emphasize skill-building opportunities is during the onboarding process. This should start with the initial job posting you publish online.
Job posts are often your future employees’ first engagement with your company mission and culture. Including the significance of professional growth here will communicate how highly your company values its employees.
It’s also critical to put professional development opportunities in the minds of workers as early and often as possible. Job posts are a great place to start, as they offer a first impression of your company’s values. However, make sure you continue to emphasize your unique professional development opportunities throughout the entire training process for new hires.
Not only will this keep chances for growth fresh in their heads as they start their jobs, but it’ll leave them feeling enthusiastic about their upcoming careers at your company.
There are opportunities to discuss professional development before your employee starts working and during their regular performance reviews.
Allow for Advancement within Your Company
Your employees will be happier in their positions and more directed toward professional development if you accept and encourage their growth within your company.
Plenty of employees feel that they’re not reaching their full potential in their positions. This is a common source of turnover: 40% of employees who receive poor training leave their positions within their first year with a company.
Give your employees a clear, direct vision of what a career looks like at your company. This will help them envision their time and growth with you, and it will inspire them to engage in the professional development opportunities you offer.
However, at small businesses, advancing can be tricky. There are fewer employees, less turnover, and sometimes not as much money to reward those who are being promoted. This presents a roadblock for many smaller businesses.
Even if you can’t formally promote employees, you can still contribute to their growth at your company. Consider introducing top performers to different parts of the business and trusting them with new responsibilities as they advance.
Presenting growth opportunities within your organization promotes professional development and rewards your staff members for their dedication to their positions.
Institute an Office Mentorship Program
Mentorship programs are a great way for new hires to learn about various growth opportunities from someone other than a boss or manager. Mentors can function as a resource to help employees learn the ropes of your company.
New employees that are given mentors have a go-to resource for questions and growth. This takes the pressure off of management to introduce professional development. This way, new hires will hear about opportunities from a variety of sources.
Growth opportunities can also appear through one-on-one meetings with mentors. Because they’re able to work directly with new hires regularly, they can help mentees build new skills on the job.
This bodes well for employee satisfaction because the majority of employees enjoy learning professional skills from others in-person.
Mentors, who spend more time with mentees day-to-day, will be in a better position to determine potential areas for professional development. They will be able to designate skills that could use improvement and subsequently direct them to the most effective resources.
As an added benefit, new hires will feel like the company cares about their advancement and improvement. They’ll be more engaged with the onboarding process as a result.
Starting a mentorship program stands to benefit mentors as well. Becoming a mentor involves taking on training responsibilities for the company. This can serve as a form of professional development for them. They’re likely to be more satisfied with their positions, showing a stronger commitment to your organization.
According to a study in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, employees who take on mentorship end up being more committed to the organization, more successful in their positions, and more satisfied with their personal growth.
Mentorship programs foster growth in your team, assisting both mentors and new hires in their professional development journeys..
Help Employees Recognize Skill-Building Opportunities
Professional development remains a highly valued career component for employees at all stages of their careers.
You can help fulfill their desire for growth by promoting advancement within your staff, making opportunities clear at opportune times, and starting a mentorship program to guide career development. As your employees’ skillsets grow stronger, your company will, too.
The original version of this article was first published on Future of Work.