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Why Developing Your Team Should Be on the Agenda This Year

Professional development is the foundation for a nimble and successful company. Unfortunately, many organizations wait until it’s too late to develop their employees. Waiting until after a key contributor has left to start developing a replacement is a strong sign your company is falling short of its true potential.

Ideally your company’s professional development program should include targeted training that helps your team understand their strengths and weaknesses — and how to grow in those areas. At Success Labs, we typically start our professional development process with a series of detailed assessments, followed by a class and/or one-on-one coaching. We often recommend a workshop like our Leadership Coaching Series or Management Incubator to learn about these topics in-depth and to identify opportunities for employees to improve.

But developing your leaders isn’t limited to workshops, training and formal plans. It’s also about making sure your company develops ways to share historical knowledge with high-potential employees and takes time to coach and develop new leaders. Up-and-coming leaders need resources and support from management to realize their potential. And your company needs to tap their full potential to succeed over the long run. Here are three reasons why.

It Improves Employee Satisfaction and Retention

The talent crunch is coming — assuming your organization isn’t feeling it already. A 2016 survey by Manpower Group found that 46 percent of U.S. employers are having difficulty filling positions. It also revealed that nearly half of employers offered training and development to existing workers, a massive jump from the previous year — a clear sign that companies are starting to catch on to the power of cultivating their existing workforce.

Moving forward, retaining talent is going to be more important than ever, and professional development of existing employees will play a significant role in employee retention. Today’s workers are already more likely than ever to switch jobs, and employees who feel like they don’t have opportunities to learn and advance their careers are hitting the door even faster. The 2017 Job Skills Training and Career Development Survey by the American Psychological Association says employees without supervisor support for career development “are more likely to distrust their employer and plan on leaving within the next year.”

Younger employees and leaders want to feel like their employer is willing to invest in them and that they have opportunities to grow and advance in their careers. This helps build confidence and trust, which in turn increases loyalty. If your organization isn’t making a concerted effort to offer opportunities for growth, it will be difficult to retain top talent.

It Builds Resilience

The business world is changing more rapidly than ever, which has put more companies in a reactive position in their market. Prioritizing and implementing professional development programs offers a rare chance to be proactive and take control over your company’s fate, even in the face of a tumultuous business climate.

A concerted development effort will build stronger leaders and more well-rounded team members with broader skill sets. This will give your company the ability to move people around as needed to adapt to business needs and market conditions.

Would you rather have team members who are high-performers in a single area of your company or an organization full of people who excel across disciplines? If you’re building a dynamic organization designed to thrive in a changing environment — and you should be — the answer is clear.

It Boosts Your Bottom Line

Data shows that putting a greater emphasis on employee development can lead to a more engaged and productive workforce. The APA study says that when supervisors support employees’ professional development, those employees are more motivated to do their best work, more satisfied with their jobs and more likely to feel valued in the workplace.

So what do these employee indicators ultimately mean for your organization? The answer, according to the data, is better bottom-line performance. A massive 2016 Gallup study found that nearly 90 percent of organizations that implemented professional development programs aimed at identifying and improving employee strengths saw an increase in sales, profit and customer engagement

There’s no denying that a competency-based professional development program can enhance the quality of leadership at the individual and organizational level. Now is the time to start developing your leaders of today for tomorrow.

Need help developing your emerging leaders? Consider sending them to the Success Labs Management Incubator.

Success Labs is a full-service, strategic organizational and leadership-development company located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. For more than 25 years our expert team of consultants has worked with hundreds of companies to explore their business potential and improve their company and cultural performance. Contact us to get proactive about your people strategy.

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