Workforce Development Strategies: Make Your Staff Remarkable

M. Alan Shapiro, Author

Investing in the right workforce development strategies is a win-win situation for employers and employees. When teams are competitive, productivity increases.

In today’s highly competitive global economy, companies need to continuously enhance their processes for better efficiency and stay on top of the competition. One of the ways to achieve peak productivity is through workforce development. 

Workforce development is an employment initiative that aims to maximize employees’ potentials and provide opportunities to handle problems effectively. It is an essential process in business development that can help create and retain a high-quality workforce. Generally, this involves a change in culture and systems to provide economic prosperity to individuals, businesses, and communities. 

In March 2020, employee retention rates reached an all-time low. This data should keep employers on their toes since poor employee retention can cost the company a lot of time and money. Workforce development strategies can help improve an employee’s attitude towards work and make them feel valued.

When a team is highly engaged at work, they get more motivated to work smarter and harder. All of these positive and mindful actions can contribute to a company’s success. After all, employees perform better when they are satisfied at work. 

The Benefits of Workforce Development

Workforce development positively affects both employers and employees making it a worthwhile and rewarding investment. The following outlines the benefits of pursuing this initiative:

  • Lower turnover rate

When an employee quits their job, it usually costs the company about a third of their annual salary. The process of recruiting and training new hires is expensive and can adversely affect productivity. So, a lower turnover rate can save the company a lot of time and resources.

  • Increased job satisfaction

When employees feel valued and trusted, they are more likely to stick with the company for the long haul. If they are presented with professional and personal growth opportunities, they would be more fired up to do their jobs and provide excellent outputs.

  • Improved productivity and operational efficiency

Workforce development strengthens an employee’s skills and allows them to reach their maximum potential. In addition, it aims to retain and ensure fulfillment for team members, encouraging them to make business operations smooth-sailing and highly productive.

  • Proactive problem resolution

Competent and proactive employees are every company’s best defense when problems arise. Better yet, if they can handle possible glitches even before they happen. Having a trained team that knows how to deal with disputes properly and proactively reassures vendors, clients, and customers. 

  • Enhanced innovation and creativity

A workplace that fosters leadership development and professional growth is an ideal environment for innovation and creative pursuits. Through workplace development activities, employees can effectively communicate their ideas and collaborate as a cohesive team.

An empowered team is an asset to the company and can significantly contribute to the success of any project. On the other hand, a workforce that feels neglected by their employer is likely to leave at the first sign of conflict. 

Workforce Development Strategies You Can Consider

The key to reaping the optimum benefits of workplace development is applying the following strategies:

  • Make it about learning and not training

For most employees, the word “mandatory training” may bring to mind sessions with monotonous lectures while cooped up in a cold conference room. To change this notion and inspire them to participate in learning activities, employers should present programs as opportunities to develop a new skill or interest. 

These learning opportunities may include online programs, mentorship, individualized performance reviews, and group brainstorm sessions. 

  • Let employees take the lead

Far too long, employees have taken a backseat when it comes to their professional development within the workplace. A vital strategy is to allow them to determine the scope and delivery method of the learning activities. Employers can also motivate them to participate by letting them learn at their own pace through accessible and easy-to-follow programs. 

With this tailored approach, they can focus on learning new skills in the most effective way possible. In addition, it can increase the team’s enthusiasm and engagement while curbing resentment towards management.

  • Choose updated delivery methods

To make self-directed learning a reality, the company can consider using a more modern way of delivering development opportunities. They have to keep up with the times and introduce methods that are straightforward yet stimulating. 

Since traditional learning methods are not working anymore, more organizations are now adopting online employee development programs. Not only does it allow employees the freedom to choose their schedules, but it also prevents the interruption of their workflow. Some online learning tools include resource banks, webinars, discussion forums, and self-paced eLearning modules. 

  • Enhance overall communication

As mentioned earlier, when employees are in tune with their company’s goals, they become more inspired to give their best efforts. There should be regular and transparent discussions about the employees’ goals and the company’s objectives to foster a supportive and collaborative working relationship. 

Employers must provide clear expectations and be transparent about the workforce development programs that they want to implement. They should let employees know that they are open to feedback and suggestions. Employees, on the other hand, can take this opportunity to inform their employers if the programs have made a significant impact on their performance or not. 

Staying Competitive in the Global Market

The right workforce development strategies can remedy low retention rates. When team members feel that their professional growth is nurtured, they are more likely to stay and grow together with the company.

Investing in continuous employee development is a win-win situation both for employees and employers. The workers can take advantage of learning and growth opportunities while the management can leverage their employees’ enhanced skills. Employees can also discover new skills and talents that can help them stay competitive in the workplace, which is also to the company’s benefit.
Having a highly-qualified and remarkable staff would significantly improve the organization’s productivity and efficiency, making them fierce competitors in the global economic arena. But to achieve this level of success, employers must remember that employees are the heart of any workforce development program. They must be given the freedom to choose how, where, and what to learn. 

This blog is printed with permission.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.