As a manager, it is important for you to help engage your employees to upgrade their skills and continue their development. Such encouragement will help the business grow, facilitates your team’s productivity, and allows you to maintain and improve your business reputation.
In this article, you’ll be introduced to 7 great ways to be that effective manager. Let’s get started.
- Assigning Employees to Tasks in their Weaker Areas
Sometimes, we forget that employees get stuck in a rut. They do the same sort of tasks for every project because they become very good and specialised in it. Of course, there is a benefit to this. The members of a team get to utilize their best skills and become more efficient. However, there is an obvious disadvantage—it is easy for your employees to get stuck in a rut and not really expand their knowledge base. What they do becomes routinised, and this is not only a danger to their skills but to their innovation and capacity to solve new problems.
Now, it might sound counterproductive to give difficult tasks to team members when their colleagues can handle them with ease. However, as there is usually someone in the team member who can help out and teach the skillset, regularly assigning these tasks will increase productivity and the ability to handle different situations in the long run. In the long term, your employees will also have a wider perspective on issues as they can see problems from angles that they usually do not think about.
Such change is also important in terms of having different team members take leadership responsibilities, such as project management or its different aspects. Unfortunately, it is too often the case that people who take leadership positions hold on to them. However, for your teams, you can delegate leadership aspects and roles. Having a well-formed team who can handle many situations is vital to upgrading your employee’s skills and making sure they are successful.
- Continuing Education as Part of Job Responsibilities
Many employees complain that they cannot keep up with professional development. They do not have enough time, too many responsibilities at work, and they also need to spend time with their families; all this is understandable. However, continuing education and professional development are so vital for the growth of skills and overall productivity that one cannot ignore it.
In order to make sure that your employees grow enough and get the education they need, you should assign continuing education as part of the job responsibilities. For example, you may allow employees to explicitly use work time or take time off to pursue continuing education. This is easy to do because there are online courses, such as project management courses online, that people can take anywhere and anytime, including while they are at work.
Making continuing education and professional development an actual part of the job responsibilities gives an incentive for individuals to really improve themselves, as well as allows them to have the appropriate time to completely it successfully, thereby truly benefitting it. This is especially important in Australia, where qualifications and certificates can really help boost the authority of your employees. Moreover, they will see a direct link between professional development and job responsibilities so that they can immediately apply it.
- Cooperative Goal Setting
Goal setting is vital at all levels in a business, from the overall business goals to team goals. However, what becomes overlooked is individual goal setting. Such neglect is a mystery as all companies and businesses are comprised of individuals. Thus, making sure the individuals are accounted for in the goal setting is quite important.
Work together with your individual employees to set work goals, especially as related to skill development. In fact, you can use this sort of template (with examples included) as a framework to work with your employees.
|This Month’s Goals For Charlie|
|Work Goals||ü I will have improved my presentation delivery skills.|
|Professional Development and Educational Goals||ü I will have gained a certificate for project management.
ü I will have learned how to use Asana to manage projects more efficiently.
|Personal Productivity Goals:||ü I will set daily goals and reflect on them every night.|
The last part may only seem slightly related to work, but it is important to build foundations that contribute to a healthy employee, and having a well-balanced personal life that is meaningful can do so.
These goals should be set cooperatively. That is, you as a manager should not be over-imposing. At the same time, however, you should be there to offer guidance because employees do want this. Goal-setting as dialogue will help you and your employee talk through what is necessary and also identify weak areas to work on from a variety of angles.
Lastly, make sure to include the skills that need to be upgraded as part of the goal setting, so that they can target the needed skills to be successful in fulfilling their responsibilities and prepare them for future changes as well.
- Set up Fun Events That Focus on Skill Development
Company events tend to either be purely social and entertainment, or overly serious. Instead, set up fun social events that focus on skill development. For example, you might have a luncheon where there is a workshop after that focuses on developing communication skills. Here, you can have role-plays or games for communication. This provides a low-pressure environment to upgrade skills.
Of course, such events are not appropriate for all skills—it is hard to envision a fun event for Microsoft excel skills, for example. However, there are many skill sets, especially ones that have to do with interpersonal skills that can be targeted with this approach.
Such an approach provides an incentive, helps businesses build more camaraderie among members, and allows people to be more productive in the long run.
- Providing Incentive for Upgrading Skills and Professional Development
Sometimes, upgrading skills and participating in professional development just seems like a hassle, as mentioned above. Thus, providing an incentive for employees to make decisions about upgrading skills proactively is important. For example, you can offer to pay for skills upgrades, especially for ones that you believe will be beneficial to the overall business. Project management courses online, for example, are a great investment, especially if you want to cultivate future leaders in your company.
Another example of an incentive maybe a promotion after completing certain certificates or qualifications, both in terms of position as well as monetary. Money talks because it shows employees that you value their contributions. Such incentive motivates them to deliver even more spectacular results and also instills a sense of pride for working with a business that cares for their needs.
- Leverage Colleague and Group Accountability
It is easier for a manager to dictate or order people what to do. However, leveraging group dynamics is important. The goal-setting above can be done between manager and employee, but what about having groups set their own individual goals? Setting goals among groups leads to accountability, just like between employee and manager. However, an advantage of this is that there might be less pressure to do “what the boss thinks is right” and be more genuine about improvement, as there is a mentality that everyone is on the same boat.
Of course, providing a framework and guidance for your team to do so will be helpful. Again, using the chart above might be helpful. Then, you might provide meetings or workshops where the teams can discuss this in private. Such processes are motivating and show your employees that you care about their development.
Of course, it is important to make sure your employees target skills that they find essential as well. Thus, using opportunities to articulate what skills you think are vital, or making sure it is apparent in the framework is important.
- Schedule the Work Flow and Monthly Schedules Effectively
Lastly, using scheduling to its advantage is important for making sure your employees upgrade their skills. Sometimes, the workplace schedules seem to be stagnated and stay the same for months on end. However, you can have moments within the year where more focus is on the productivity of the company, while other areas where you can have employees focus on skill development.
Such scheduling depends on your company and its needs, but even for the busiest of companies, you can focus on a group of individuals each month.
For example, you can split your employees into 4 groups. For each month, you can have one group focus on upgrading skills or participating in the professional development that they need. Again, set goals for the month. For example, one group might need to complete a short online course or gain a certificate within that month.
Of course, as each month passes, you will have the groups rotate. This way, you do not compromise productivity, and the groups can apply what they learn very quickly. Such a cycle will help people maintain their current skills as well as upgrade and stay relevant in terms of their work abilities.
It is easy to start implementing some of these ideas right away. As a final note, make sure to get feedback from your employees about what they like and don’t like, and make adjustments. Making sure to meet their preferences and needs is quite important, as the ultimate goal is to make sure you help them as individuals become better at what they do.