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Top tips for developing your staff

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How well a business develops its employees is, undoubtedly, pivotal to its success. Offering opportunities for workplace progression is essential for attracting, as well as retaining, valuable members of staff, however all too often businesses limit training and development programmes to new recruits and fail to recognise the true potential of all their employees.

Below, we bring you our top tips for ensuring that not only does your business get the very best from its staff, but that they are all happy and engaged in their work.

Focus on your employees’ strengths

One of the most important skills of a great manager is the ability to identify their employees' strengths. However, often leaders find themselves drawn towards focusing their efforts on improving the weaker areas of individuals’ work. Whilst, of course, at times it is necessary to address such issues, focusing on developing the natural talents of your staff is much more beneficial, both for their own personal development as well as business growth.


Talking face-to-face with your staff on a regular basis is essential for effective employee development. Share your vision of the business’s development with them, but also take the time to discover their own career aspirations. Offering opportunities that allow employees to work towards their own targets, as well as those of the business, is essential for developing a motivated workforce that enjoys embracing new challenges.

Set goals

Hand in hand with good communication and focusing on your employees’ strengths, goes goal setting. Work with them to develop SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) targets to help identify the action needed to fulfil their ambitions.

Offer training opportunities

For successful employee development, provision of the resources that will help them to meet their goals is imperative. Training courses offer the perfect opportunity for staff to build their skills and gain valuable knowledge within their areas of interest and expertise. Courses offered by an external coach provide an environment where employees can feel free to address any concerns they have in their work. Investing in your staff in this way also helps ensure they feel valued and, by focusing on building their strengths and individual areas of interest, they are likely to return to the workplace enthusiastic about putting their new skills into practice.

Implement a mentoring programme

Another great benefit of focusing on your employees’ strengths and aspirations is that it allows you to pair them up with a mentor within the business to further enhance their development. If possible, try to assign employees a mentor who has already achieved goals that are similar to their own. Mentoring can complement a training programme perfectly as it helps staff to appreciate the potential of their new skills and again, is highly motivational – not just for the mentee, but also the mentor!

Rotate jobs

Providing variety in your employees’ working lives by allowing them to try new tasks offers another opportunity to develop their skills. Indeed, you may well discover that they have hidden talents, and this can be highly beneficial, not only for the development of the individual, but also the business.

Review performance

Regularly reviewing the performance of your employees helps you to evaluate their progress and highlight any areas where improvement could be made. Assess progress within the context of both the goals of the business, as well as the employee’s career aspirations, as this will help identify where, for example, further training or mentoring may be required. Of course, don’t forget to recognise achievement too as this helps to build confidence and lets your employees know that their work is valued.

The benefits of effective staff development simply cannot be underestimated. A well planned and regularly reviewed programme is highly effective in raising levels of personal satisfaction and confidence in the workplace, and a skilled, happy and motivated workforce, it goes without saying, is vital to the success and growth of any business!

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Published on 06/03/2013 by Emma Harle.

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