Are you wondering what the best employee development programs are? We've got you! The workplace landscape is more fast-paced and competitive than ever, and employers can't afford to remain passive about their employees' development. Offering additional employee benefits in the form of training and development is not only a great way to boost morale and increase retention, but it is almost essential if you want to keep top talent working for you. Regardless of the industry that you are in, both your company and the employees can benefit from a well-thought-out employee development program. In this blog, we will elaborate on this, tell you precisely what employee development programs are and why they are so important. We will also share with you the five best employee development programs that you can implement in your company.
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What are employee development programs and why do they matter?
Employee development is the process of improving employees' competencies and skills or helping them develop newer ones to support the organization's goals. Employee development programs are programs designed to help employers achieve this goal. They improve employees' skills and abilities, either to help them succeed in their current role or to prepare them for a different position they could potentially occupy within a company.
Most companies offer at least a minimal amount of employee development in the form of coaching or seminars. However, good employee development is so much more than an annual meeting with employees to discuss their shortcomings and highlight improvements or sending them off to a one-day commercially advertised course or program. We’re not saying you should ditch those things because they are essential, but if you genuinely want to improve your employees’ competencies and become an attractive employer, you will need to strategically invest time, energy, employer partnerships and resources into the improvement of your company personnel.
If you're searching for a top employee development program, explore BeMo's employee benefits program and employer partnerships. Through BeMo, your employees will have unlimited access to top career coaches and consultants who can help your employees develop their professional skills and advance their careers. For employees who want to take that next step further and pursue an MBA or graduate degree, BeMo's services are guaranteed to get them accepted to their top choice program.
A well-thought-out employee development program would be far more beneficial to the employees and the company. These programs do require some investment (time, effort, and money), but they are investments that will definitely pay off over the longer term. Let's explore some of the benefits of implementing the best employee development program:
The best employee development programs to offer
There are several different types of employee development programs out there, and if you want to maximize the impact that these programs will have on your employees, it's important that you not only pick them based on the needs of your company but that you also consider the different options that are available out there. Some types of employee development programs are:
- Coaching and mentoring
- Education funds
- Career and education planning and consulting
- Academic consulting
- Diversity and inclusion program
At the end of the day, employee development programs are about helping employees and ensuring that the business stays competitive. One way to stay ahead of the competition is to ensure that employees are armed with new resources to succeed in their positions and are prepared to accept additional duties or succeed in different roles within the company.
The specific programs that will be right for your company depend on several factors like the industry you are in, the size of your company, etc. However, a few general employee development programs can go a long way toward helping you take advantage of some of the benefits we described earlier. Without much further ado, let's go through these development programs.
1. Coaching and mentoring
This is one of the most common forms of employee development, and when done correctly, it can have a significant impact on employee performance and satisfaction. In order for coaching and mentoring to be an effective form of professional development for employees, it needs to be constant. Having one or two annual meetings with a manager or a professional from human resources is not enough to give an employee adequate feedback.
You want to have a constant flow of communication between management and their subordinates to ensure that they are always getting both positive and negative feedback when warranted. You can also set up mentoring programs in the office for employees who show real promise. Many companies have mentoring programs but fail to advertise them, and often, employees are not sure how to ask for them. You should make sure that employees are aware of these types of programs as it will likely motivate them to work harder.
Furthermore, you should consider giving employees a chance to put their skills to the test through different forms of training or friendly competitions. This will allow you to identify the employees that are showing promise in different areas, and you can then help them develop those skills. For example, suppose you have a training session about management with one of your entry-level departments, and you notice a couple of employees with great leadership and organizational skills. In that case, you may want to invest in them and help them develop their skills. They might just be two future project managers for your company.
2. Education fund
Education funds are gaining in popularity and necessity, and that is for a good reason. To put it simply, education funds are a specific amount of money that employers allocate for specific individual employees to use for professional development. The exact terms of the fund can vary from one company to another. Still, typically these funds can be used to pay for classes, courses, books, seminars, and other resources that would allow the employee to improve on the skills required to do their job.
In today's workplace landscape, many employees constantly have to take courses to either learn a new skill or improve on the skills they have in order to keep doing their job at a top-level. For example, a person working a remote marketing job would want to take a course on marketing and technology to learn how they can include the most cutting-edge technology in the company's marketing plan. Or a person with a blog writing job might want to take a few courses about SEO to help the company's blogs reach a bigger audience.
By offering an education fund as an employer, you make it more likely that employees will pursue these competency enhancement opportunities, which will result in them doing a better job for the company. By the same occasion, you are making them feel valued, which will result in increased engagement and productivity.
3. Career & education planning
Even the most motivated employees can burn out or start to feel bored in their roles. Other employees may simply find themselves uninterested in their role or feel that their skills would be better used in a different role or department. All of these options are more common than we think, and one of the ways employers can deal with this is by offering career and education planning services.
Career and education planning simply means giving your employees access to professionals who can help them find the right education path for the career or role that they want within the company. For example, let's assume you have an employee who was hired after graduating from one of the best undergraduate business schools for a junior analyst position. After a few months, both the employee and their manager notice that this role is not a good fit but that the employee in question has great leadership skills and could potentially make a good project manager. The right professional would be able to talk to this employee and figure out what additional academic or professional training they need to grow into a management role.
Furthermore, career and education planning can give employees who feel stagnant something to look forward to, and it can give other employees the tools they need to improve their skills and step up. It's important to remember that information is power. Some employees may have the desire but lack the knowledge required to take their careers ( and contribution to the company) to the next level. Giving them access to a professional who can provide that information can make a huge difference.
For example, imagine that you have a few employees on a management track, and upon learning about the career planning program, one of them decides to find out what they would need to get an MBA. This would help you, the employer, make a decision because it clearly shows you how dedicated this employee is, and it also gives the employee a chance to learn what they need to further their education.
4. Academic consulting
Academic consulting is relatively new when it comes to employee development programs, but it is one of the most impactful programs that you can offer your employees. There are many different types of academic consultants, from college and graduate school admissions consultants to PhD consultants, and so many other programs. Although, there are a few companies like us here at BeMo that work with the various types of academic admissions consultants. Academic consultants essentially help applicants through the process of applying and getting into competitive programs such as MBAs, graduate school, or law school.
Often, employees who want to pursue higher education are unsure how to go about it, how much it would cost and whether or not they would even get in. While having career and education planning services can help them answer some of those questions, they may need someone to guide them through the actual process. This type of employee development program is typically reserved for management or other highly skilled positions.
This option often intimates employers because they fear that they are essentially paying to help an employee leave their company, but this is rarely the case. We recommend having policies in place to ensure that this service is used in a way that will benefit the company. For example, you can offer academic consulting services to management employees who wish to obtain an MBA and stipulate that they must work with the company for at least two years after that MBA. That way, those who perhaps need help figuring out how to get into an MBA program with a low GPA or those who do not know how to write an MBA admissions essay have additional support that will help them achieve their goal, and the company retains a more competent employee.
5. Diversity & inclusion program
Diversity and inclusion are more than just buzzwords. For a company to reach its true potential, it needs a diverse workforce that is representative of the community around it. One way to improve diversity and inclusion in your workplace is by making it a part of your employee development programs.
It's important to remember that diversity does not only mean persons of color or visible minorities. In this case, you want to make sure to provide special mentoring opportunities, coaching, and consulting services to all visible minorities and other marginalized groups to ensure that the playing field is being leveled.
Additionally, it is important to provide diversity, equity, and inclusion training as part of employee development programs. Diversity training courses will help enhance employees' knowledge and allow them to recognize the existing and new tools they can utilize to embrace diversity in the workplace better.
The heart of any successful business is its workforce, so it is important to invest in your employees if you want them to perform to the best of their ability. The employee development programs described above can go a long way in helping you build a highly trained, highly skilled, and ever-improving workforce that will help you build a sustainable high-performance business. Many of these programs can be implemented in-house by changing a few policies and appointing members of management to mentor and guide employees.
Other programs like career planning and academic consulting require the help of external professionals. We would be remiss if we did not take a moment to mention that here at BeMo, we have a team of highly trained admissions consultants who are not only experienced but have a success rate of over 90%. This means that our team is exceptionally qualified to help employers help their employees by guiding them through the different admissions processes and ensuring that they are getting into the right programs at the optimal time. If you'd like to learn more about the many ways in which BeMo can help you implement these top employee development programs, you can reach out to our team.
1. What are employee development programs?
They are programs designed to improve employees' existing competencies and develop newer ones to support a company's goals.
2. Why are employee development programs so important?
They are essential because they increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction and morale, reduce turnover, and make the company more competitive.
3. What are some examples of employee development programs?
Some examples of employee development programs include coaching & mentoring, diversity & inclusion, and career & education planning.
4. Are employee development programs the same as employee training programs?
No, they are not. Employee training is a form of employee development. Training is typically specific to internal company goals and processes for a particular role, while development extends beyond that. It can include general skills like leadership and project management.
5. What makes a good employee development program?
Good employee development programs should make employees feel valued, offer them room for growth, and give them the opportunity to follow their own personalized learning paths.
6. What other modern employee benefits should I consider?
In addition to the typical health and dental benefits, you may want to consider offering childcare & family planning, wellness programs, or continuous education benefits.
7. Why are millennials and Gen Z workers leaving their jobs?
Studies have found that millennials and Gen Z employees would rather be unemployed than feel stuck in a career that is not fulfilling. Work-life balance and professional development are two of the factors affecting their decisions to leave certain places of employment.
8. How can BeMo help with employee development programs?
As a top academic consulting company, BeMo is well placed to help you and your staff identify and apply for the right academic programs that will help you succeed in the long run.
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