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Keeping Your Workforce (And Your Company) Relevant

professional-development

 

How well are you keeping up with the fast pace of technology and impactful changes within your industry?  How are you staying competitive?

 

A major concern for companies and organizations is the persistent need to stay competitive and relevant.
A snapshot by Fortune into the new realities of the 21st-century corporation predicts that human capital will definitively become every company’s most valuable asset. For many, this makes perfect sense, but at some point, companies may be forced to recognize that a “great” employee today may not look so impressive a year from now.

 

And it’s no different for companies as a whole.  Keeping your workforce up-to-date is becoming increasingly critical in today’s economy and business environment. Just as with an individual professional and his or her professional development, for a company, the ultimate outcome of well-planned workforce development and staying on top of industry change, is that it safeguards customers, the company and the company’s relationship with its customers.

 

What can you do as an employer to keep your workforce (and your company) competitive? Following are some ways you can start:

 

  1. Learning as a Professional Lifetime Endeavor Foster an organizational culture of ongoing learning and professional development.  Professional development isn’t always necessarily formal, costly, formal or off-site.  Take advantage of peer-to-peer learning as an efficient and cost-effective way of improving skills.  Also consider cross-training or rotating certain job duties. Employee discussion groups are a great way to allow employees to share their experiences and mentor others.
  2. Get Your Employees Psyched about Taking Charge – Encourage your employees and put the onus on them to take charge of their own careers. You can let them know that you can support them, but that in the end, the final responsibility is theirs to develop as a career professional.  Keep them learning, for their own good, and for the good of the company.

 

  1. Foster a Transparent Corporate Culture – There may be some need for discretion when making some decisions, but in many companies, important information is too often kept from the individuals who are expected to assume greater responsibility in the future. This can put newly-promoted employees in an awkward position and result in lost productivity while he or she scrambles to get up to speed with new responsibilities.

 

  1. Assess – What skills are needed for each position in the company?  What skills are needed for each position that employees may be looking to advance to?  Invest some time with each employee to discuss the skills that are important now, and what skills will be important in the future.  Also, help them see where they may be lacking, and where they need to fill in.  Form a team specifically charged with identifying employee learning needs, such as formal classes, support for higher learning or training in certain skills.  Discuss with company leadership and HR ways that the company can help (remember it’s in the company’s best interest, too). You may want to consider investing in a firm to help you assess your company’s current and future needs.

 

  1. Show Support – Encourage employees by showing interest in what they have learned in courses, seminars or other learning activities. Get them thinking about what they have learned that they think will be most useful to them in their current positions, and where they think they need to improve.  Get them thinking about what they’re learning in terms of how it will benefit them in future responsibilities.

 

You can be of beneficial support to your employees, not just for their own development, but also to help keep your company competitive.  Definitely a win-win.

 

Are you keeping your company competitive through professional development for your employees? We’d love to hear about what is working for you!

  • Jonathan W. Crowell