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5 Tips for Effective Employee Development

employee development program

Employee development is increasingly important in the marketplace. Today’s employees expect opportunities for skills development and a clear career path to help them get ahead. In addition to increasing employee engagement and productivity, effective employee development also garners a measurable return on investment (ROI) for your franchise location.

What is employee development?

According to a Workplace Learning Report by LinkedIn, typical objectives of an employee development program are:

  • Developing managers and leaders
  • Helping employees develop technical skills
  • Training all employees globally in one cohesive way
  • Supporting career development for employees

Employee development and training usually addresses two categories of skills: 1) technical skills needed to perform specific job tasks, and 2) leadership skills that focus on employee growth and performance. Leadership skills training might, for example, include strategies for making decisions under pressure, techniques for constructive conflict management, and/or tools for effective communication with customers and other employees.

Successful training and development programs provide employees with much more content and value than, for example, the standard new hire orientation. They are more than just sporadically offered opportunities or courses that employees can choose to take as needed. Here are 5 tips for developing an effective program.

Tip #1: Align employee development with your business needs

An effective program aligns individual employee growth with franchise unit goals. For example, if your goal is to increase sales within your franchise location, sending your employees to a sales training or customer service boot camp might be useful.

Tip #2: Work with employees individually

Talk to your employees about their skill levels and career goals. Then, once you have a good understanding, assess the skills they’ll need to work on and help them create a career “road map.” According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning Report, identifying, assessing, and closing skills gaps are top priorities of today’s development programs. Remember to make sure your employee road maps align with the needs of your franchise operation.

Tip #3: Develop a learning culture

Develop a welcoming, collaborative work environment that enables employees to pursue learning opportunities. Document training opportunities in the employee manual, and encourage employees to speak up when they find new educational opportunities.

Tip #4: Offer a variety of training and development opportunities

Training and development can take many different forms, from self-directed online courses to formal classroom training. It need not be expensive. A few examples include:

  • Encouraging employees to join local industry groups
  • Providing high-performing employees with stretch assignments and special projects
  • Offering individual mentoring and coaching

Think creatively in order to help each employee grow.

Tip #5: Measure your results

Be sure to identify your return on investment (ROI). Your employees must show that they can use their newly developed skills in a way that benefits your franchise unit. Set up opportunities for employees to demonstrate their new/improved skills and get feedback from managers, peers, or customers. If possible, measure results before and after training. Did training improve efficiency? Reduce the need to hire new employees? Boost sales?

The benefits of effective employee development compound with time. You’ll reap the most significant return if your efforts are strategic and offered over the long term.