Your employees are what help to keep your business running smoothly, repeat clients coming back, and make the environment an overall and enjoyable experience. While you wish you could keep them forever, a great employer and manager help employees develop their career paths–not keep them in the same role for years.
Yet, helping your employees blossom into new career roles isn’t always easy. Employee development and retention should be just as high on your priority list as sales or onboarding new clients. But, like most small businesses you’re likely strapped for time and resources that larger companies have that allow them to develop their employees properly.
Start With Their Goals
Whatever position your staff starts at likely is only the start of their ultimate goals. Developing your staff’s career starts with matching your organization’s needs with your employee’s career goals. The conversation between you and your staff should start with three areas
- Hindsight: Sit down with each individual employee and go over their past work history. Write down what they’ve accomplished in the past and other achievements that have helped them achieve their current position
- Foresight: This one might be tough… as it involves looking beyond your organization. While you wish you could keep your best staff members forever, the reality is that everyone grows and sometimes they grow out of your organization. Take a look at industry trends and the big picture of the world. Where do they fit? Where do they want to fit?
- Insight: After looking back and looking forward, you’ll have a better understanding of where your employee’s skills and interests intersect with your organization’s goals. At this intersection is where your employee and organization are going to find the most satisfaction and fulfillment.
Find Opportunities Each Day
The problem with goals is that they can seem really lofty. Yet, there are actually opportunities to slowly chip away at the big goal every day. Whether it’s a formal learning plan or program or it’s simple daily tasks that help them ultimately achieve their professional goals, try to find the opportunity each day.
This may take some time on your end to develop as far as a traditional program goes. It would be wise to sit down and map out what a daily opportunity might look like versus a traditional program or plan. From there you can help not only your staff develop new skills and techniques to evolve but you’ll have a better understanding of where employee milestones should be so that they may reach their goals successfully and in a timely manner.
Use Career Tests
Your staff may not know what they want to be. Does anyone know what they want to be? We’d bet that some days you even wonder if you’re in the right career. We all suffer from these “what if’s?” but with the help of career tests you can help your staff narrow down the “what if’s” and get to the “how to’s” of their professional life.
Career tests can help you discover their strengths and weaknesses to use as an advantage for both your organization and their ultimate career goal. You can find a number of different career tests online or seek out a specific service that offers curated career tests to your employees in their specific industry.
Leaving Room to Grow
The ultimate lesson we can impart to you as a business owner is to always leave room to grow; for your organization and your staff. Leaving room to grow lets you and your staff evolve naturally and in ways that maximize your individual and group strengths. Alternatively, you’ll be able to play off each other’s weaknesses and find strengths in each other’s weaknesses.