A woman wearing a button-up shirt and headphones is sitting at a table and looking at a laptop with a smile. She holds a pen over a notepad with her right hand.
When looking for employee development courses, consider webinars. Online courses fit better with a hybrid work model. — Getty Images/fizkes

As your business grows and changes, so should your staff. Training builds skills, whereas employee development shifts mindsets. Using a combination of both delivers significant returns, including increased engagement levels and retention rates.

Employee development consists of continuing education, job experiences, regular assessments and interpersonal relationships. It increases organizational knowledge and is vital to a supportive corporate culture. Below, we’ll go through several employee development activities designed to enhance worker experiences and drive professional growth.

Create employee development plans

Sitting down with your staff members and having a two-way conversation about their growth is an essential step for developing your team. Employee development plans provide a blueprint for professionals. The process looks at current skill sets and core competencies, explores knowledge gaps and highlights future learning opportunities.

A Degreed and Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning study found that 48% of employees want “assessments to find out where I need improvement,” and 61% want to align “learning to my skill gaps.”

Offer employee training and workshop courses online

While there are benefits to in-person training, online classes and workshops are more conducive to a hybrid workforce. A virtual learning platform for employees offers many educational formats, allowing workers to select the content that fits their needs.

According to the 2021 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, “[l]earners who use social features — Q&A, course shares, and learning groups — watch 30 times more hours of learning content than learners who don’t.”

[Read more: How to Create an Employee Training Program]

Provide mentorship opportunities

Degreed said that 45% of workers turned to their manager or mentor when they needed to learn on the job. Notably, “[o]nly 40% of learners report that their managers challenged them to learn new skills in the last six months.”

Work with your supervisors to find ways to train employees for new jobs, such as shadowing executives or rotating to different departments. Managers should learn how to respond to requests for help and have the appropriate resources at hand.

A marketer with a knack for troubleshooting technology may want to learn new skills and move laterally within your company.

Support independent learning activities

Today’s employees turn to the internet when they need to “learn something for their job or career,” reported Degreed. In fact, 65% use specific websites, whereas only 37% use their “company’s learning system or portal.”

Part of this is because people are used to learning on the go. When they need skills, they find a video or tutorial. But independent learning can leave leaders without visibility into what, when or how employees learn.

Instead, give staff guidance for self-learning. Round up a playlist of employee training and development resources, such as podcasts, videos and tip sheets. Encourage your team to seek out and share helpful tools with leaders, so you can continually update your resource list.

Fund an employee resource group

An employee resource group (ERG) is an employee-led movement that supports career development among underrepresented staff. It speaks to the specific needs of group members and aims to provide a supportive working environment.

However, a successful ERG requires participation from owners or executives as well. The goals may include career advancement opportunities for underrepresented groups or changes that could help attract a higher number of job applicants.

Encourage participation in virtual events

We tend to think of large, expensive, on-site conferences when it comes to employee development. But many organizations provide free live and on-demand webinars for professional skill-building and networking.

Foster a learning environment by encouraging employees and managers to email you with potential educational opportunities. Some can be as short as 30 minutes, and employees can walk away with additional resources to use on the job and to share with others.

Provide internal mobility programs

Career planning can turn your employees into a renewable resource. The 2021 LinkedIn Learning Report found that “employees at companies with internal mobility stay almost two times longer” than others.

Help your team discover what they enjoy doing and how their passions can translate into various roles throughout your business. But don’t box them in based on current job roles. A marketer with a knack for troubleshooting technology may want to learn new skills and move laterally within your company.

[Read more: A Guide to Continuing Professional Development]

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