As every employer knows, a business is only as good as its team. And the more content, well rounded and educated that team is, the more productive they are too; what small business owner doesn’t want that? Indeed, it seems there is no better way to encourage a sense of team unity and employee autonomy than by fostering a desire in each and every staff member to develop themselves personally. Though the initial outlay, financially speaking, may be significant, the future benefits to the company are endless. So with that in mind, we’ve teamed up with human resources and organisational development experts Thirsty Horses to offer 4 IDEAL reasons to encourage personal development in the workplace.

SKILLS ACQUISITION

Okay, let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Personal development, such as inhouse training, night classes funded by the employer, team building excursions and even taking time out to be socially responsible (volunteering for a charity, perhaps), can give employees a whole new skill set, both hard and soft. If they gain new certificates or accreditation, clearly it’s a massive positive for the company in terms of genuine knowledge gained and experience to be passed on through the team. But also, enhanced expertise will manifest itself in a more general way; an improved dexterity, confidence and professionalism; all flexible, fluid and applicable to a whole host of workplace challenges.

PROMOTIONS FROM WITHIN

If your team are improving themselves and gaining new skills in work hours, and you as a responsible employer are encouraging this, then the opportunity for inhouse promotions is massively heightened. And you don’t need to have an A* in business acumen to know that this is great thing for the company. Firstly, promotions from within are extremely good for staff morale; if a clear pathway to career development is clear, and the results so, then employees will be motivated, dedicated and focused accordingly. Secondly, it’s great for business, negating the need for administrative fees, the long learning curve and other financial and time consuming factors traditionally associated with hiring new team members. Finally, a transient workforce does untold harm to productivity and team spirit whereas promotions from within do wonders for staff retention.

EMPLOYEES WHO OPERATE INDEPENDENTLY

No boss wants to spend their whole working day delegating, or worse, having to do the heavy lifting themselves. Independent, high functioning employees, then, are the dream. If an employer encourages, verbally and even financially, their staff to develop themselves personally, then the outcome is often a workforce able to work well without constant monitoring and management.

THE SENSE OF A BETTER WORK / LIFE BALANCE

There a few beliefs more detrimental to morale (and in turn, productivity) than the sense that one’s work /life balance is weighted more in the former category. To harbour a sense that there is life beyond the four walls of the office, but still managing to foster professional, productive behaviour, you should do everything you can as a leader to encourage personal development in all its many forms and as such, job satisfaction