There’s a consensus across the board — the need for a strategic employee development plan is understood by business leaders, HR professionals and employees alike. At the same time, most common development strategies rarely stray outside the bounds of traditional L&D. They exist in a silo and aren’t developed with greater organizational goals in mind.
To drive business outcomes, it’s imperative that L&D leaders look past the status quo and reimagine development strategies that can move the needle on company performance, talent retention and engagement, DEI and more.
According to research, 72% of c-suite executives believe a modern employee development strategy to be the broad solution to address skills gaps, mitigate talent shortages and spur overall business growth. At the same time, employees want better educational resources with 77% saying they are ready and willing to upskill, reskill or train in entirely new fields.
It’s time to reshape how modern employee development strategies can significantly drive progress and make even more impact today and in the future.
5 employee development strategies guaranteed to take your workforce further
It’s likely that you already have some form of employee development strategy in place. However, it’s important that you revisit your efforts on a regular basis and make optimizations as needed. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but the way you approach talent development should evolve with the needs of your business and workforce.
Here are a few updated takes on tried-and-true employee development strategies to help you bring your efforts into the now.
Align employee development objectives with organizational goals
In today’s workplace, talent development must go beyond being perceived as just an employee benefit, but also a significant driver of business success.
To harness the full potential of employee development and drive business success, it's essential to align your strategy with your company's overarching objectives. This approach breaks away from the traditional HR silo, revealing how the program strategically contributes to overall company growth, beyond just talent outcomes on a micro level.
Moreover, emphasizing the connection between employee development and organizational goals helps executives and stakeholders understand the value that learning and development bring to the entire company. This clarity paves the way for securing crucial buy-in and support for your initiatives.
Leverage the strength of community to unlock collective knowledge
A modern employee development approach extends past relying solely on formal learning solutions to be effective. It also takes other influential factors into account, such as company learning culture, where the valuable expertise and experience brought by individuals at all levels of the organization is recognized, appreciated and encouraged to be shared.
Initiatives such as mentorship programs, innovation challenges, and ERGs, can lend structure to this method of knowledge sharing and supplement more formal learning with practical, peer-facilitated elements.
Broaden scope and promote internal mobility
In addition to short-term learning opportunities, opt for a more comprehensive, long-term approach that includes access to professional certificates, skills courses, degree programs and other credentials that enable upward and lateral moves within the company.
By adopting this approach, organizations can facilitate internal career mobility and build a robust internal talent pipeline for critical roles and enable succession planning.
Personalize, personalize, personalize
Personalized learning may initially seem daunting, but it doesn't necessarily require complex software or artificial intelligence. Instead, it involves offering a diverse range of development opportunities tailored to accommodate various skills needs and educational backgrounds. This approach ensures individual growth from different starting points, avoiding the assumption of a standard, one-size-fits-all approach to employee development.
Make learning accessible
Learning initiatives can only be successful if the employees that need them can access them. Unfortunately, many development opportunities are often inaccessible to a large portion of the workforce due to upfront financial requirements, lack of employee support, challenging admission requirements or a general lack of awareness.
For example, traditional tuition assistance or reimbursement programs have typically been used by employees who can afford to pay tuition upfront and get reimbursed later. Consequently, employees that don’t have the financial means to pay upfront are excluded from utilizing this benefit. In contrast, a direct-bill model enables employees to enroll in a program without upfront costs. The tuition fees are billed directly to the business, alleviating the financial burden for learners.
Breaking down financial and other barriers to learning is imperative. Failing to do so poses the risk of rendering your employee development programs underutilized and, consequently, ineffective.
Take action on employee development
Crafting effective strategies for employee development hinges on a multitude of factors. In the case of large organizations housing diverse employee populations, custom-tailored plans may be necessary for each distinct group. No matter which path you decide to take in revitalizing your approach to development, it all commences with a comprehensive assessment of the current state and effectiveness of your existing endeavors.