When it comes to employee development, many companies have traditionally focused on the talent at the top: managers, supervisors, leaders and executives.
After all, they are the ones who set the strategy, give the direction and ensure the business is meeting its objectives—so, as long as they are being trained to be critical thinkers, everything else will fall in line, right? For many organizations, that approach is not just causing missed opportunities, but could mean the company is losing valuable time, money and even talent.
Skills like critical thinking are essential for employees across all levels, and arming everyone from the C-suite to entry-level workers with training to help them develop such key qualities equally benefits individuals and the organization. Here’s how:
When employees invest in the so-called “soft” skills of individual contributors, they’re giving those workers practical tools to help them problem solve on their own. Well-trained workers are better prepared to tackle challenges when they arise—everything from on-the-job know-how to interpersonal conflicts—instead of bringing those issues to their managers. In turn, managers have more time to invest in helping their teams meet their individual and group goals and leaning into the people side of management.
In the same vein, when employees and managers can stay productive and focused on their respective job tasks, the bottom line ultimately wins out. When productivity is up, profitability usually follows. Even though employee development requires financial buy-in from organizations, the long-term financial impact of a well-skilled workforce outweighs the short-term investment.
Organizations that invest in employee development, regardless of job title and level, are positioning themselves to compete in the war for talent. Employees today are craving development. According to a recent LinkedIn report, employees surveyed identified professional development as the top driver of a positive company culture. And importantly, more than 85% of workers are willing to leave an organization for better learning and development opportunities.
And these trends are only expected to accelerate, as organizations globally shift more toward skills-based hiring—lessening the emphasis on formal education and heightening the focus on the specific skills each role and team needs to succeed in the future of work. So, if your organization isn’t prioritizing employee skills, it’s likely that they will find those opportunities for advancement elsewhere.
By investing in employee development for all workers, organizations can ensure they have a workforce that is productive, collaborative and brimming with top talent—all of which can yield a long-term return on investment for the organization.
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