5 Tips for Engaging Employees with Career Development

Posted by Julie • January 10, 2017 (Last modified July 29, 2018) • 3 min read

Any seasoned manager knows that engaging employees and helping them pursue career development are vital to company growth; Particularly, career development improves morale, career satisfaction, motivation, and productivity. It has also become a far less optional amenity in the workplace than it used to be. More than 66% of millennials believe it’s management’s job to provide them with accelerated development opportunities. If you’re suffering from disengaged employees, career development programs might be the answer. Here are 5 tips to get employees engaged through career development:


1. Use Peer Feedback

In this instance, it’s important to have an open and encouraging company culture. More than 50% of CEOs have said that corporate culture directly influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value, and growth rates. When you have a healthy company culture, you’re using the resources you already have to stimulate growth.


Of course, not just any peer feedback is going to do the trick. Peers should direct their comments toward what they think could be done to make the co-worker a better employee, where they might excel, or where they need to improve. The feedback doesn’t have to be all positive: 92% of respondents agreed with the following assertion: “Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.”


2. Try Out Small Assessment Tests or Games

In order to find out where an employee personally feels they excel, and where they want to grow, assessments and games can be particularly useful. These assessments can reveal if someone is empathetic, risk averse, cool-headed, perceptive, a quick thinker, agreeable, an introvert/extrovert, and more. They may even reveal things that even the employee didn’t know about themselves.


An employee self-appraisal can be very helpful in this case. It can help determine personality type, work style, interests, career values, and skills. A self-evaluation is a chance for the employee to express exactly what they want, and how they want to develop.


3. Focus on the Needs of the Organization AND the Employee

In a formal performance review, or a casual chat, find out what the employee wants to focus on. Does it match the organization’s goals? Only 51% of team members say they have a clear sense of how company initiatives and priorities fit together with their individual goals. How might you direct the employee’s wants and needs to help the entire company? It will vary from employee to employee, but chances are you can figure out something that will help everyone.


4. Give Cross Training a Try

Cross training uses resources already on hand to help develop new skills. Getting different employees to work together (where they normally wouldn’t) is a great way to boost team performance. Improved teamwork is a great way to enhance employee engagement.


Cross training can also uncover hidden talents in an employee. Being thrown into new situations, one could potentially show skills that would otherwise never have been discovered. By implementing cross training, organizations can quickly recover after disruptions like personnel loss.


5. Don’t Forget to Evaluate!

After you’ve implemented a career development plan, you have to check in and see how it’s working. What’s going right? What’s going wrong? Do you have a favorable return on investment?


An evaluation of progress is a great time to determine what is, and isn’t, working for the employee. For example, if an employee is being cross-trained in a department that may be an ill fit for the individual, it can be addressed, and solved, in the individual’s evaluation of progress.


When asked, 25% of employees said they would be more satisfied, and more engaged at work, if they were given the opportunity to do what they do best. A properly scheduled, executed, and evaluated career development plan is a great way to help employees do just that—their best. Trakstar’s goal setting, employee appraisal, and performance management features are a great way to keep your career development plans on track.


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