6 ways managers can support buliding a culture of employee development blog header

6 Ways Managers Can Support Building a Culture of Employee Development

6 Ways Managers Can Support Building a Culture of Employee Development

Prioritising continuous employee development is a game-changer. Companies that focus on helping their employees grow see huge improvements in performance and become experts at retaining top talent. Like the sound of that? 

But it’s not just about offering training sessions; it’s about creating an environment where personal growth aligns with the company’s goals, fostering a sense of commitment and empowerment. 

A key aspect of this culture is the role of managers. Managers are instrumental in driving continuous development by acting as coaches, facilitating learning opportunities, and creating an environment that promotes growth. Their involvement is crucial to the success of any initiative aimed at employee development. That’s something we’ll take a look at in this blog – 6 ways managers can make a significant impact in building a culture of employee development.

The role of managers in continuous employee development

Managers are the real heroes in fostering a culture of continuous development. Their involvement is crucial to the success of any initiative. Here’s how they can make a significant impact:

1. Act as coaches and mentors

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Your managers should be the guiding force their teams need. By offering regular, constructive feedback, they help employees understand their strengths and areas for improvement. Working together to set realistic and achievable development goals ensures these goals align with both the employees’ career aspirations and the organisation’s objectives. 

Regular feedback is important. If you set a team member a goal with a deadline, they will need ongoing mentoring and coaching to stay on track. One-to-ones, performance updates, and recognition tools can help keep them focused and recognise mini-milestones to keep them motivated. Without this support, they might miss the goal completely which could hinder confidence and development. And nobody wants that.

Hive Fives is a great recognition tool to help boost employee development. Our peer-to-peer recognition tool works as a virtual pat on the back, so your teams feel noticed for their efforts. It helps to build a culture of recognition, and can put a smile on the faces of your people. 

2. Facilitate learning opportunities

facilitate learning opportunities

Managers should actively seek out and create learning opportunities for their teams. Anything a manager can do to help their team upskill, expand their knowledge, or stay current with industry trends will not only boost team performance but also help individuals feel more equipped and confident in their roles.

This includes encouraging participation in relevant training sessions, workshops, and courses, as well as promoting involvement in cross-functional projects. These experiences offer broader perspectives and valuable skills, enhancing development and paving the way for career progression.

3. Create an environment of continuous learning

Create an environment of continuous learning

Are your managers setting an example? Showing a commitment to personal and professional development by engaging in learning activities themself is important. Even managers don’t know everything. We’re all human. And there’s always something new to learn. 

This ownership of gaining knowledge, upskilling and creating an environment where it’s encouraged to learn more can drive curiosity and innovation within the team.

It shows it’s okay to ask questions, seek new knowledge, and think creatively. All things that can allow team members to gain and retain new knowledge which positively impacts their development. 

You might find that when managers are actively learning more, their team asks them questions about their newfound knowledge. This knowledge can also help the team develop. 

Steven Bartlett puts it perfectly in his, book Diary of a CEO – “You don’t become a master because you’re able to retain knowledge. You become a master when you’re able to release it.” 

Simply put. When a manager actively learns new things, and allows teams to ask questions to feed off that knowledge, they learn too, and their team thrives. 

4. Identify and develop high-potential employees

Identify and develop opportunities

Managers are in a prime position to spot high-potential employees, or ‘top talent’ if you will. You’ll often find that these people like a challenge, because if you have potential to do great things, you don’t want to spend too much time doing the things you’re already ace at. That’s where boredom can kick in, and looking for other jobs with new challenges becomes an option. 

It’s up to the manager to identify these people, and give them the motivation to push themselves and progress to keep them from heading for the door. 

Regular performance reviews and assessments can help identify those who show exceptional promise. Assigning challenging tasks that push these employees out of their comfort zones can help them develop new skills and prepare for future roles. 

Getting to know your people outside of work on a personal level can help identify high-potential employees too. For instance, managers may uncover that on a weekend, one of their team members coaches a netball team. This comes with a level of leadership, communication, planning sessions, that could be transferable to a progression in their career.

5. Support personal development plans (PDPs)

support personal development plans

Personal development plans are key to employee development. It’s in the name, right? This is something that should be a task of an individual’s manager, but it should also be done collaboratively with the individual.

Collaborating on these plans helps outline career goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Regularly reviewing and discussing these plans can provide necessary support and adjustments.

 

Here’s how they can make a real difference:

 

Initial planning: Discuss career aspirations and strengths with employees to set the foundation for meaningful PDPs. It could also be helpful to communicate available career paths at this stage to remind employees of what’s available to them. 

Setting goals: Collaborate on setting SMART goals that challenge and motivate the employee.

Identifying resources: Determine available resources, like training programs and mentorship opportunities, to support the employee’s goals.

Regular check-ins: Schedule regular meetings to review progress, discuss challenges, and make necessary adjustments.

Providing feedback: Offer constructive feedback and recognition to guide and motivate employees.

Adjusting the plan: Be flexible and willing to adjust the PDP as goals and circumstances change.

Encouragement and support: Encourage employees to take ownership of their development and support them in seeking opportunities.

 

By taking these steps, managers ensure that PDPs drive personal and professional growth. This approach helps employees reach their potential and contributes to the organisation’s success, leading to more engaged, motivated, and committed employees.

 

6. Recognise and reward development

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Acknowledging and rewarding efforts toward personal and professional development is a powerful way to motivate employees to keep growing. When you celebrate key achievements and milestones, you show employees that their hard work and dedication are noticed and valued. This recognition can be incredibly motivating and encourage them to continue investing in their development.

For example, at Hive, we give out Hive Fives, they work as digital pats on the back, that peers and managers can send to someone to recognise their efforts and contributions. It can be as small as a “thanks for doing that task so quickly” or as big as a “that project you have completed has helped massively impact the way our processes work, and has made things more efficient for our team.” and everything in between. 

Providing tangible rewards can further reinforce the importance of continuous development. Promotions are a great way to reward employees who have shown significant growth and readiness for more responsibility. So is offering additional responsibilities, such as leading a new project or mentoring a junior team member. These opportunities not only reward the employee but also help them further develop their skills and experience. These perks show that you are invested in their growth and are willing to support their continuous learning journey.

By celebrating achievements and providing meaningful rewards, managers create a culture that values and encourages personal and professional development. This not only motivates employees to keep growing but also helps retain top talent and fosters a more engaged and skilled workforce.

The link between career development and thriving employees

the link between development and thriving employees

To really thrive, employees need to know that their employer—and especially their manager—are genuinely invested in their growth. Having opportunities to develop is way more important than just getting a big paycheck when it comes to whether employees would recommend their company as a great place to work. It’s a big deal because it affects how long they stick around, how engaged they are, and how committed they feel to their job. 

So, it’s clear that employee development is a major player in how employees see their employers and managers.

When managers believe in providing chances for career growth, it gives employees a sense of control over their future. This goes perfectly with taking charge of their career paths and meeting their needs for feeling skilled and independent. 

And guess what? When employees feel like they’re on a clear path for development, they’re happier, more engaged, and more motivated at work. Plus, having a solid roadmap for career growth doesn’t just make employees happy—it also makes them stick around for the long haul.

The ultimate competitive advantage

competitive advantage

Investing in your people is the ultimate competitive advantage. When organisations place employee growth at the top of their agenda, they see significant improvements in performance and are more likely to retain their best talent. Providing opportunities for progressive learning and development ensures employees feel appreciated and have a clearer sense of personal direction. This leads to more engaged employees who see a long-term future with the organisation.

Ready to build a culture fit for employee development?

Building a culture of continuous employee development is essential for any organisation aiming for long-term success. Managers play a pivotal role by being mentors, facilitating learning, and fostering an environment of continuous improvement. 

By focusing on talent management, career development, and investing in your people, you can nurture a skilled and engaged workforce. This not only benefits individual growth but also drives organisational success.

When employees are empowered to grow and develop, they are more likely to be engaged, committed, and productive, leading to sustained success for the organisation. So, commit to continuous development and watch your teams – and your company – thrive!

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