Trailblazing Development: Employee Growth on the Corporate Road
By Srdjan Gombar
Your employees are not a part of your company. They’re not a huge part of your company, a significant part, or a major part. They ARE your company. It would be entirely different if your business were to replace every single employee, from the highest executive to someone in an entry-level position.
The best part is that while they’re in your company, you all share the same interests. They want that promotion and a raise, while you want them to show enough dedication and good enough performance to earn it.
So, how can you help them help you? How can you encourage and facilitate their growth and progress down the corporate road? Here are a few suggestions to help you figure this one out.
Have you ever faced distractions at work?
1. Crack the productivity formula
If your objective is to boost employee productivity, one of the first things you need to do is crack the code of corporate productivity. This way, you’ll know which factors are the most responsible for great performance and figure out a way to boost it.
The most important segment is intrinsic motivation. You want to know where they want to be in five years and guide them down this path.
Regardless of what you aim to do next, establishing clear communication with your team and creating a trust-based relationship are the keys. Sometimes, a problem can be solved in minutes if they are courageous enough to come forward. Sadly, this won’t always be the case. Many people dread their employers, which keeps them more cautious than productive. If there’s one thing that can limit their creativity and initiative the most, it’s fear-induced caution.
Then, there’s the issue of training and development. You don’t want to have too many overqualified employees, and while cross-training is useful, there’s a limit to how many functions they need. As we’ll describe in one of the subsequent sections, too much training is a significant time and energy drain. What you want instead is just the right amount; figuring this out is not easy.
Next, you don’t want your employees to feel burned out. You also don’t want them to feel like you’re just milking them for profit. They need to understand that you see them as a part of the team and that you’re ready and willing to go the extra mile for them. We’ll discuss this in the next segment.
2. Invest in their well-being
If your employees feel burnt out or exploited, they won’t perform well. However, this is not entirely up to you. You have no idea if they have a second job draining them far more than their employment in your company. Like always with productivity, you have to factor in a personal factor. Still, here’s what you can do to invest in and promote their wellbeing actively.
You should start with the basics. Talk about the importance of getting enough rest and insist they have breaks. You can even experiment with concepts like break exercise, 20-minute power naps, and even yoga and mindfulness sessions. If you want to be the best, you need to offer the best.
Next, you need to be ready to put their health first. You see, your employees want to commit to your company, but spending their entire career in one place is a huge commitment. This is why you must show them you’re there no matter what. We’re talking about going above and beyond for your team.
For instance, instead of just offering them healthcare benefits, you could even throw in the option of sending them abroad for treatment. With one of these healthcare travel agencies, this shouldn’t even be that big of a problem to handle from an administrative standpoint. Ultimately, their well-being is tightly intertwined with how overworked they feel. Speaking of which…
3. Optimize their workload
They can’t improve if they’re constantly overworked. The opposite might happen. By rushing to get their impossible workload done, they’ll start slacking and cutting corners. First, they’ll get more focused on the deadlines than the process and the quality. In time, the quality of their work will drop; if this lasts long enough, there’ll be a normalization of this rushed process. In other words, this will become their new default productivity.
Second, you need to understand that if you want to give them extra responsibilities, you must lessen their load elsewhere. Most of the time, personal growth will involve getting new responsibilities and duties. This usually happens gradually, but some employers just add new responsibilities to their old ones (that they’re already struggling to handle). Don’t allow this to happen.
More often than not, you’ll require your team to take some extra training or attend an additional workshop course. If that happens, you need to count this as their work hours and reduce their responsibilities elsewhere.
Sure, paying for their training can be seen as a reward on its own, but you need to be realistic about how this will be perceived. First, they know that you need them to take this course, which means that, if anything, it will be mutually beneficial. In their mind, they might even see it as if they’re doing you a favor.
It’s also important to understand that they might have to study extra hours off work. Therefore, giving them tasks they’ll have to finish from home or check into might be counterproductive. The last thing you want is to ruin their work-life balance, even if it’s for the sake of professional growth.
Did you know you can easily show your colleagues when you're busy?
4. Roadblocks and bottlenecks to professional growth
One of the ways to help your employees is to spend some time figuring out what’s actually holding them back. There are some roadblocks and bottlenecks that are more consistent than others.
For instance, some employees are too stuck in the rut. Even if you send them to attend a course, their learning skills may be rusty because they rarely get to hone their skills or learn something new. So, introduce a culture of learning. This will be a continuous process, and your employees will never get out of the loop.
Next, some people have trouble with networking. Fortunately, there are a few things you should do here. First, regularly host teambuilding exercises. Sometimes, the contacts they need are not outsiders but members of their own team. At the same time, you can host events and send them out to seminars to give them a chance to meet someone whose contact might help them out with their career growth.
Will this facilitate their potential departure? Maybe! However, if they see that, in your employ, they get opportunities like this regularly, they might think twice before leaving and try extra hard.
People will have a hard time advancing on their own. Sure, some people are more independent than others, but you want to provide them with the right mentorship and guidance to help them grow. This is completely in your power, and it wouldn’t even require that much effort on your part. This is also one of the most hands-on approaches that you can take to help them progress down the corporate road.
5. Tools of trade and a productive environment
One of the most common questions that will come up in an interview is – which tools have you used in your previous company? Now, if their (potential) future employer understands the value of this, why don’t you?
By giving them software that’s considered industry standard or cutting-edge technology, you might find them to be more driven than you initially expected. It’s also not uncommon for them to go above and beyond to use it as much as possible to make their work skills more marketable. What do you get from it? Well, you get a highly driven workforce, which is already a huge plus.
Then, you need to provide your employees with a work-friendly environment. What does that mean? First, it means that you need to limit the number of distractions and pick a layout that’s productivity-friendly. Separate the work area from the break area and ensure their workstations are ergonomic.
Next, you need to reevaluate the composition of your team and weed out the unwanted elements. What do we mean by that? Well, some employees perform well and appear to be great on the surface, but they’re making everyone else underperform. Some employees are backstabbers; others are “sirens” distracting everyone with their songs. Either way, you need to identify these individuals and ensure they do not harm your team’s overall productivity.
You need to provide them with the right conditions - everything else is on them
As always, you can’t hold their hand every step of the way. However, you would be surprised to see how much you can guide, motivate, and even assist them on this corporate road. This is not just a nice thing to do. It’s something that everyone benefits from.
First, you need to break down what their productivity actually consists of so that you can make this improvement systematic. Second, you need to look past just training and productivity. Work-life balance and their well-being are crucial, not just for their ability to focus but also for their motivation. Lastly, by figuring out which roadblocks and bottlenecks you’ll make this journey much easier and really trailblaze development.
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Veteran content writer, published author, and amateur boxer. Srdjan is a Bachelor of Arts in English Language & Literature and is passionate about technology, pop culture, and self-improvement. His free time he spends reading, watching movies, and playing Super Mario Bros. with his son.
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