“It’s hard to think of an important aspect of management more neglected than development planning: helping your employees shape the future direction of their careers. Yet for a variety of reasons, this valuable activity is often ignored… or handled as a bureaucratic exercise… or an afterthought. Companies pay a high price: the loss of top young talent.”
It’s not at all a surprise when I tell you that there is a gap in terms of goals and expectations of employees in different generations. All you have to do is spend 30 minutes with a person in their late 20’s and one in their late 40’s to know that there are vast differences in what people want to get out their jobs. Companies who have yet to take common knowledge and put it into action in terms of how they are developing their young talent could be risking losing a generation’s worth of talent.
The above quote comes from this article, talking about why employee development is important and what risks you run by not doing it. Knowing that you should be developing your younger generation employees differently is half the battle, but putting that knowledge into practice is another matter entirely.
Here are a few things you can do this week to help go from thought to action:
The first and easiest thing you can do is spend some time talking to your younger employees about what they are looking to get out of their job at your company. This could be as simple as a team breakfast with a small group, providing them with an opportunity to open up about their goals. Also… don’t limit it to just professional talk, as you may find development opportunities outside of job-related activities that will keep your young employees happy and motivated.
This can be the hardest thing to do for managers whose job doesn’t explicitly have ‘training and professional development’ in their job description. It’s easy to just let training and development to keep slipping, so make a conscious effort to prioritize this crucial function of keeping your employees engaged. One practical way you can do this is by blocking out a morning on your calendar and working remote where the distractions of your office won’t get in the way of planning and developing your training program.
Now that you’ve talked to your young employees and developed some ideas on how to create some training and development programs, its time to invest time and money. Companies used to fear the costs associated with these types of programs, but thanks to new technologies (I think this may be a good one), the financial costs have been dramatically lowered. You also need to be willing to invest time, and more importantly, allow your employees to invest time in these types of training programs. Your employees will not only become more educated, but also more motivated to continue to do great work because of the investment you have made in their development.
The last piece of the puzzle is to allow your learners to become teachers. Through these development programs, they should become more proficient in areas that other employees may be interested in learning about. Free your employees to teach others what they know, and watch the level of connection between co-workers and their appreciation for the environment of learning you have developed grow.
Have other practical tips on how to train and develop the younger generation of employees? Let us know in the comments below!
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