Many people pursue higher education degrees and diplomas during the course of their employment. They are able to manage their time  so that neither their work nor their education suffers. In fact, most organizations encourage their employees to enroll in educational programs while they’re working. The number of employers willing to sponsor the cost of an employee’s higher education program is on the rise. This is one of the many ways in which businesses encourage employee development.

Do you want to find out why organizations are so invested in their employees’ personal development? Read on!

What Is Employee Development?

The modern-day work environment is constantly changing. Employees can catch up with the evolving demands of their industry by developing the necessary expertise. This is where employee development programs come to the rescue. Upskilling by enrolling in a program helps individuals enhance their knowledge and skill sets to support larger business goals and objectives.

Employee development goes beyond conducting annual meetings, providing feedback or implementing mandatory training. It’s a continuous process that is not only beneficial for professional development but also for personal growth. This approach helps individuals feel genuinely cared for, thereby increasing their loyalty to the organization, their engagement with work and their performance.

There are two primary types of employee learning and development:

  1. Long-Term Development

This refers to a change in an existing system that turns into a core function over an extended period of time. For example, the Human Resources department may introduce a new HR chatbot application that helps employees provide feedback easily.

  1. Short-Term Development

This refers to the development of employee knowledge and skill sets through employee development programs. For example, employers encourage individuals to attend conferences to develop their networking skills.

Methods Of Employee Development

Organizations employ various strategies to ensure employee development. Here are some of the most common methods:

  1. Mentoring

This method is widely used by senior management to guide their junior colleagues to develop foundational skills. This one-on-one teaching process typically includes critical thinking, communication, strategic management and the articulation of long-term vision.

  1. Working Groups And Workshops

This method gives people a chance to interact internally, with peers and coworkers, as well as externally, with consultants and agencies. Workshops are a great way to learn about new things and meet new people. On the other hand, working groups help improve teamwork and collaboration skills.

  1. Career Planning

Organizations should aim to create a more employee-driven culture in the workplace. People may volunteer to take up tasks that benefit their careers. Some may also be motivated to work and collaborate with other teams to develop multidisciplinary skills.

How To Build Effective Employee Development Programs

In order to fulfill the development need for employee upskilling, organizations should invest their time and resources wisely. Let’s look at some useful ways to encourage employee development:

  1. Identify Business Goals

Before you invest in any development programs, take some time to understand what your team needs to achieve in the long run. For example, if your business depends on external funding and sponsorship, it would make sense to invest in a sales training program. However, every development goal should be realistic and measurable.

  1. Identify Gaps In Skill Sets

If you can pinpoint the gaps in your teams’ skill sets, you can optimize your development programs to meet your business needs. You could ask your team for feedback and check for any obstacles that hamper their performance. For instance, the design team may lack sufficient expertise with a particular software. You may organize training sessions to help them upskill.

  1. Encourage Professional Training Programs

Employee development programs promote excellence in the workplace as they address the gaps in competency and proficiency. Online upskilling and reskilling programs are convenient tools for knowledge enhancement. Make sure you pick programs that are impactful and empower each member of your team to step outside their comfort zone.

  1. Differentiate Between Willingness And Potential

Just because someone has the potential to do something, it doesn’t mean that they’re ready to do it. As you encourage employee development, make sure you don’t push your team too hard. If someone’s mind isn’t in the right place, the development programs may end up being counterproductive. Check if people are happy with the long-term changes you plan to implement.

  1. Promote Cross-Departmental Training

Most departments in an organization like to function independently. Leaders should understand that departments actually function better when they’re interdependent. Collaboration and cross-functional work improve employee engagement and productivity. Cross-departmental training programs can help identify common objectives and encourage departments to support each other.


When you give your employees the right tools for development, it leads to greater productivity and job satisfaction. Harappa Education’s Managing Teamwork course will help you learn how to develop effective teams and keep your teams engaged. Learn the four common work styles of teams through the Social Styles Model. Additionally, the Skill-Will Matrix is a framework that will help you assess your employees’ skills and willingness to perform tasks. Show your teams that their personal well-being is a priority too!

Explore topics such as Employee EngagementEmployee Engagement Strategies, How to Boost Employee Morale, Why a Happy Employee is a Productive Employee & How to Give Constructive Feedback from our Harappa Diaries section and give your employees the right tools for development.

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