One of the prime responsibilities of managers and leaders is ensuring that people are, not only able to do their current role well, but also developing their knowledge and skills for future needs. Sometimes this is finding ways to improve in their current job, sometimes it's developing toward career aspirations, and sometimes it's enhancing skills that will serve them now and for years to come.
Managers play a key role in how employees develop, how much they develop, and how fast they develop. Here are five tips to keep top of mind.
- Identify learning opportunities
Not all development is formal training. Some of the best development also comes from on the job learning, stretch assignments, job shadowing, conferences, professional organizations, online learning (LinkedIn Learning, RightNowMedia@Work), books, blogs, and articles. By discussing and understanding each employee's career aspirations and the skills and knowledge needed to get to the next level, you'll be able to share, recommend, or assign appropriate learning opportunities as they come up.
- Actively support learning
Often, employees feel like they can't make time for learning. One of the best ways managers can help employees improve is to make ongoing development a clear expectation and assist them in prioritizing learning and making it possible to take the time to fully focus on development. This might include helping or reminding them to clear time in their schedules, notifying others that they will be away from the phone/email/Teams and delayed in responding while attending a class, setting their out of office notifications so they don’t feel pressure to respond immediately, etc.
- Help integrate learning into their daily work
All learning should help employees perform even better. However, one of the challenges with any development is integrating what they have learned and applying it on the job. After an employee has completed the class, read the book, etc., take time to discuss their key insights and planned next steps. Ask how you can best support them in applying the learning and follow up periodically to see how well they are doing.
- Ask them to bring learning back to the team
After completing a class, returning from the conference, etc., ask the employee to provide a short summary with key insights and practical applications at the next team huddle or meeting. This will greatly strengthen their learning as they review and present a summary and it also brings new ideas back to the team so everyone can benefit.
- Attend training as a team
There can be tremendous benefits to attending a course or workshop as a team as it provides mutual understanding of the material, allowing the entire team to level up their knowledge and skills and better support each other as they apply it to their jobs. This can be done either by attending one of Baylor HR's scheduled courses together OR by having HR deliver the course exclusively to your team (contact askHR for details).