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Companies are constantly conducting research into ways that are guaranteed to improve employee performance which will have a positive lasting effect on the employees’ sense of self and personal development.

These 10 approaches to encouraging employee self-development are recognized and adopted by the most successful companies of all sizes.

1. Recognize Accomplishments          

Employees do their best work when their efforts are recognized and rewarded.

Companies need to have recognition and reward systems in place so that employee achievements do not go unnoticed as this can instead encourage a lackluster attitude around self-improvement.

For example, recognize and reward employee achievement by gifting employees with gadgets from Kimbino.com that can make their personal, and work-life easier.

If possible, offer the opportunity to browse through the top electronic Best Buy deals to choose a gift in a price range that can be determined by the company.

Additionally, besides traditional rewards, a contemporary and heartfelt way to acknowledge an employee’s hard work is by showing appreciation through unexpected gestures.

For instance, you can send flowers online to their homes as a personal touch that denotes recognition of their contributions outside of generic accolades, marking a memorable way of saying ‘well done’. This can be organized easily with services that deliver freshly picked blossoms directly.

2. Institutionalize Professional Development

Institutionalizing development means that training, online courses, YakTrak coaching software and access to professional development experts are integral to every level and department that employees find themselves in the company.

It also means that from the hiring process through to other Human Resources (HR) processes after onboarding, self-development is stated as indispensable in employees’ contracts and all work resources provided.

3. Employ Managers and Supervisors to Emulate

It is not enough to have values about self-development written into the tenets of the company’s strategic planning and objective, it also has to reflect in the top leadership.

The people in positions of leadership in a company that claims to be invested in self-development should also be able to demonstrate how important self-development is and how it has been beneficial to their professional growth.

Managers and supervisors should lead by example and exhibit habits that will encourage subordinate employees to follow in the footstep of taking self-development seriously.

4. Mentorship

In addition to leadership by example, formalized mentorship networks and programmes should be instituted to facilitate both formal and informal avenues for employees to seek out guidance, coaching and advice.

A good way to do this might be to pair up senior employees with junior employees or having a matching system that takes into account interests, departments, and qualifications of employees to be matched against someone with more experience but with similar work profiles. 

Sometimes, it might be necessary to also encourage employees to seek out mentorship from people who are experts in the industry but not directly affiliated with the company.

5. Incentivize and Encourage Upskilling

While it can be encouraged that employees take initiative, companies need to have systems structure in place that incentivize employees to conveniently access resources for self-development.

For example, some companies have 2 tuition required online courses provided for free to the employees but paid for by the company, for every year that they are still an employee of the company.

This motivates an employee to take up courses each year because all they need to do is enroll for a course already paid for that also promises a certification upon successful completion. 

6. Offer Paid Study Leave

When employees show initiative to apply for further qualification, for example, qualified accountants could apply for the global Chartered Financial Analyst qualification, allow them to have flexible hours and some time off to study ahead of exams.

Employees who show such initiatives show you that they are committed to growth which also means that you have employees who are better qualified to take your company further.

7. Dedicate Time to Employee Training

Schedule compulsory training sessions set to occur weekly or monthly dedicated to diverse forms of development e.g., cultural bias, graphic design, change in labor laws etc.

This is also a good way to integrate performance assessment measures and to openly communicate with employees about where they are excelling and where they may need additional help.

If companies are to get the most out of their employees, then they need to institute structures that preempt such habits.

8. Provide Developmental Resources

Develop in-house departmental and cross-departmental training resources that can be easily accessed on the company server. Employees should not have to do extensive legwork to access self-development resources that would be beneficial to them and in turn, your company.

There are many talented professional coaches and consultants that can be commissioned by companies to develop resources that will reflect the philosophy and objectives of the company as is relevant to employee self-development.

9. Offer Financial Support

Some of the most successful companies often have policies that attract some of the brightest talents by offering paid tuition for postgraduate studies e.g., a Master of Business Administration, in exchange for a commitment to a stipulated duration of time to the company after graduation.

Many companies go about this in different ways, some may offer to pay for tuition in full, some may instead promise reimbursement upon successful completion of the qualification, and others contribute partially to tuition fees.

10. Invest in Employees’ Mental Health

Work-life balance, greater flexibility to work from home, and access to professional mental health counselors have become a common feature in the world of work today.

The prioritization of mental health by providing employees with access to apps, therapists, and other mental health resources is no longer a secondary consideration as it used to be in the past.

Companies around the world have reckoned with the fact that prioritizing and investing in their employees’ mental health is advantageous to the growth of the company. 

Above all else, companies need to approach self-development as integral to the objectives and values of their company so that it shapes the mindset of the employees they seek to encourage from the onset.