When it comes to staff development, would you consider your company hands-off or hands-on?

Hands-off companies typically offer the bare minimum of some do's and don'ts and computer basics. Hands-on companies know that the most productive employees are the ones who feel valued and have opportunities to improve their skills-and thus their positions within your small business. Training should be one of many components in your staff development offerings. How well you fulfill this part of your business can define the quality of employees you attract, how long you retain them and ultimately your company's success.

Get started Start Your Employee Evaluation Form Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

You are as Good as Your Talent

What is development of your employees? The University of Minnesota's Office of Human Resources defines employee development as a collaborative effort between the employee and the organization to grow the employee's:

  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Abilities

To help ensure employee development is successful, you need to manage the balance between your employees' career needs and goals and your company's need to get work done. Such programs improve your company's performance because employees are more highly skilled and can accomplish more, which benefits both their career aspirations and your company's ability to meet its goals. It's a win-win for employee and employer.

An employee evaluation form can help you both develop a plan.

'Human capital training and development is an investment in your organization that will provide a generous return on investment if it is targeted and focused on the needs of your individual team members,' writes author and inspirational speaker Susan Hanshaw.

She adds that development of employees creates employee 'buy in' to your company's culture. In other words, adequately training and developing your employees helps them realize their personal growth and satisfaction by honing and developing their skills. A work force that feels like it co-owns the mission of your small business will perform better and improve your opportunity to succeed. A bonus plan can provide important incentives for employees, too.

Identify Leaders, Provide Mentors in Training Plan

Human resource management should pay careful attention to employees' goals. One of the first steps toward achieving this, according to the University of Minnesota's HR office, is to create an atmosphere of trust and collaboration in which employees feel like they can speak to employers/managers about their goals. The office suggests that you:

  • Hold such discussions in a private, comfortable place.
  • Don't rush an employee during these talks.
  • Listen and make sure it's a two-way conversation.
  • Any goals you set must be clear and attainable.
  • Make a plan that outlines next steps and responsibilities for each of these steps.

Mentors can help achieve this environment for you. While workers rarely stick with the same company for decades, as they did in years past, it's still a vital tool for employee development, according to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Connecting a mature mentor with a promising young worker can help keep valued up-and-comers from leaving your company for jobs elsewhere.

Rank-And-File Deserve Training and Development Opportunities, Too

While it's common to think of providing development opportunities to future managers, your rank-and-file employees need this support as well. After all, these are the workers who are at the core of what gets done. And these staff members can become highly effective managers and leaders within your company, bringing a ground floor perspective to the upper levels of your leadership team. When you're considering development and training opportunities, remember those who are among the lower levels of your company, too. Be on the lookout for talented workers who might be able to become effective supervisors and managers. Your company can only benefit from such efforts, not to mention the value such opportunities give to workers.

Remember that a productive, happy staff doesn't just happen. This important aspect of your small business demands that you are intentional about developing employees to be the best they can be and to become future company leaders. Not every employee is the next Steve Jobs, but you can help them fulfill both their personal and professional lives-and meet the goals of your company-by providing solid employee development opportunities.

Get started Start Your Employee Evaluation Form Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Employee Evaluation Form Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.