Products and services are important, but what’s even more essential is investing in the people behind them. With around 334 million companies worldwide, it seems rather logical that every business today needs to invest in its employees. Not just to keep them around but also to ensure that they enjoy their 8 hours of work and want to return to the workplace every day.
The workplace, like any other setting in which we find ourselves, is a social one, so it’s essential to pay attention to and respond to the wants and needs of those around us.
However, most of the time you won’t hear those needs out of the blue, but there are ways to discover and satisfy them through less conventional means than one-on-one conversations with the HR department.
In today’s article, we will discuss why employee development is one of, if not the most important, investments you should consider in your yearly budget.
Why Does “Teamwork Make the Dream Work?”
The saying above comes in many forms, and you’ve surely said it or at least heard it before. Yet, not many teams are capable of pulling off all the perfect stops in order for your company’s dream to become a reality.
This could be due to a variety of factors, such as an absence of constructive communication, a poor work-life balance, or simply a lack of team spirit. These things can have a significant impact on the team’s productivity, morale, and, ultimately, results.
Yet when people are invested in working together, they are better able to solve problems, keep conflicts from becoming toxic, and boost productivity. But despite the advantages, some individuals are resistant to working together effectively.
As a leader, you have the power to transform your team’s dynamic and create a culture of collaboration. Moreover, you can even convince the biggest doubters that they actually mean a lot to your company.
By making the following four ideas a regular practice, you can immediately address any team dysfunction, build trust, and improve communication within the team. Remember, a strong team is a successful one, and you have the ability to lead them to greatness. Let’s get started!
Unleash the Power of Effective Communication
Nothing is more important in the workplace than effective communication. Just choosing the wrong word or using an off-putting tone can cause collateral damage to the team.
In the majority of cases, unsuccessful teams lack open communication and attentive listening. This typically results in unproductive feedback that has never been beneficial.
Instead of just watching the chaos unravel after an awkward brainstorming session where no one wants to take part, try pinpointing the triggers that exist in daily communication. This can be done with an exercise where you write out all those dreadful sentences such as “I need this by the end of the day” or that one “We need to talk” Slack notification that pops-up unexpectedly in the middle of the day.
Ask your team how they feel about these statements. Everyone will give a different sentiment, which will finally allow them to remove any ambiguity in day-to-day expectations and conversations.
This way, you will encourage your workforce to truthfully speak their minds about things they would rather keep to themselves. That will open the doors to a more honest environment where people have a chance to actively participate in any conversation, not only by talking but also by actively listening.
The ability of staff members to communicate has a substantial impact on interpersonal interactions during meetings or brainstorming sessions, where people need to feel free to speak without a sense of fear or hesitation.
Strengthen Relationships Within the Team
If you think that a “pizza party” at 4 p.m. in the kitchen will benefit the relationships within your staff, don’t be surprised if those coworkers leave the room in silence right after the last slice has been eaten.
Team building activities are commonly taken for granted, and some companies just can’t find a way to spark a firework between the people. Team building’s primary objective and fundamental importance is to forge a cohesive group of individuals who work well together. Just some of the many outcomes of effective team building exercises are:
* Improved teamwork;
* Boosted communication;
* Enhanced planning abilities;
* Stronger bridges across departments;
* Improved employee engagement and morale.
There are many team building activities you can organize for your team, but it’s important to think outside the box.
You can volunteer at a soup kitchen or plant trees at a local park in order to give back to the community. Think about escape rooms or scavenger hunts where your workforce needs to act as one to get the job done. Or find the best of both worlds: take your hunting shop workers to a sport hunting event where they can test out the bulk 556 ammo they’ve been selling to your customers for years now.
When deciding on team-building exercises, think about the team members’ likes and dislikes. Adapt the exercises to fit the needs of your group and the way you do business as a whole. The end goal is to foster an atmosphere that promotes open communication, mutual respect, and harmonious working relationships.
Promote Personal Development
What connects your employees is the work they do, but it doesn’t have to be the only thing they do and talk about. People have many more interests than just their 9-to-5 and it’s up to you to boost their skills. And trust us, having someone teach the team basic Spanish words will more likely wheedle a smile or two than any trending office gossip will.
There are many different things you can offer your people, some of which include:
1. Individual development plans: Inspire each team member to make a personal development plan outlining their professional aspirations, desired skill sets, and areas for growth. Help them zero in on the courses, seminars, and books that will get them where they need to go.
2. Learning opportunities: Provide various educational events like seminars, workshops, training courses, online conferences, and webinars. Offer staff members financial assistance or access to online learning platforms so they can earn or continue their professional certifications and/or attend courses.
3. Mentorships and coaching: Set up a system of mentoring and coaching for the group. Connect those with more experience on the team with those who are still learning the ropes. Mentors can aid in career development by providing guidance and insight.
4. Networking events: Inspire team members to build their professional networks inside and outside the company. Participate in field-specific gatherings, either in person or online, such as conferences, seminars, and online forums. People will get a chance to learn, work together, and be exposed to new ideas.
Whatever route you choose, do your best to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of your team members. This can be accomplished through team-wide recognition and rewards, as well as the sharing of success stories. Recognizing individual accomplishments boosts motivation and morale while emphasizing the importance of personal development.
Cooperate Toward a Shared Goal
Creating goals is a vital part of any team’s success. However, jotting them down isn’t enough. Your team’s objectives should be reviewed, reevaluated, and possibly rewritten periodically to ensure they remain relevant and in line with the evolving priorities of your organization.
There is one effective exercise you can try with coworkers – let them know you want to write a new or revise an old team goal. Each employee should answer the following question on a piece of paper: “What is this team’s most important goal for the next four weeks if we want to reach our yearly goals?”
After compiling the responses on a flip chart, classify them into categories. Ask everyone on the team to put a check in the box corresponding to their top two choices and select the preferred objective.
Then, as a group, respond to the following questions:
* What is our deadline for the new goal?
* How will we measure the progress, and how will we know when we’ve arrived at our destination?
* When we reach our goal, how will we know it?
This will enable people to think collaboratively, allowing them to address any uncertainty that may arise in the meantime, even before you begin working toward the new goal. That way, everyone will be on the same page, considering expectations as well as ways to reach your desired destination.
Employee Development is the Most Valuable Investment You Can Make
Investing in employee development is crucial for maximizing the benefits of morale and engagement within an organization. Recognizing that the success of a business is built upon its people, companies must prioritize the well-being and growth of their employees.
By investing in the workforce, businesses not only retain talent but also foster a positive work environment where individuals are motivated to return each day.
Employee development is an investment in the success and growth of the entire organization. By valuing and nurturing the workforce, businesses create a positive work environment that drives productivity, engagement, and overall success. So, instead of investing in a new coffee machine, think about investing in your people and witness the transformation in your company’s performance over the long run.
Travis Dillard is a business consultant and an organizational psychologist based in Arlington, Texas. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for DigitalStrategyOne.