How to develop great employees in six easy steps

the majority of workers feel more motivated when their boss shows appreciation for their work

Employee development is important, but unfortunately it is also often overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Day to day work life is hectic, but failure to actively develop employees can end up costing you top talent in the long run. Whether your company is one that hires a significant amount of young graduates, or you want to improve the team you have already built; turning good employees into great employees, is a lot less hassle then recruiting outsiders into your company. If you play your cards right, you could end up with highly skilled employees who are genuinely dedicated to helping your company thrive. Here are six strategies that you can use to start developing exceptional employees. 

  1. Take an interest in their future 
    Your employees are working hard for you and your company, but it is important not to forget they are there because they are building a future for themselves as well. Ask your employees how you can help them to reach their goals, and what they see themselves doing long term.  When you take a genuine interest in their career path, they will be more inclined to want to work harder for you and for your company.
  2. Use incentives
    A goal without the incentive to back it up, is just a request. If you expect employees to hit big numbers you need to provide the motivation for them to do so. If they have a good reason to meet quotas not only will they be more likely to achieve more, but they will be become better and harder working employees in the long run.
  3. Give constructive criticism
    If an employee totally messed up a project, calling them out on this without telling them how they can fix it doesn’t do either of you any good. When giving feedback be sure to be specific about what the employee did incorrectly and what you would like to see them do in the future. Most employees are not intentionally doing a bad job and should be willing to improve when provided with an appropriate corrective review.
  4. Avoid comparisons
    “So and So” may have been great at certain tasks, but the person you have hired to fill their position is a new individual with a different skillset. They might not be half as good at the job as the last person you hired, but for now you need to help them to do their best work. Instead of honing on what your old employee had that your new employee doesn’t, figure out how you can continue to develop their positive attributes and strengthen their weaknesses. If you make the investment in helping them learn how to be great at this job, you may just find that they are able to fill the shoes of the employee that came before them after all. 
  5. Make time for development
    When it comes to finding the time to talk to your employees one on one, it often seems like there is are not enough hours in the day to schedule these meetings. You have copious amounts of tasks to get done throughout the day and even if your company is not a large one, it can still seem impractical to schedule individual meetings with each employee. The best approach here is to work smarter, not harder. Identify which employees have potential then take a step back and look to see when you can accommodate for employee development meetings.
  6. Teamwork
    The term synergy is one that is used frequently when discussing business strategies. Some employees do great work when left to their own devices, but other may need a little more help. Assign multiple employees to a project and see if you can’t get better results.

We all have to start somewhere, and even if many of your employees do not seem like they are anywhere near where you would like them to be in terms of motivation and performance, doesn’t mean that they can’t get there. Dedicated employees are usually ones that are just as invested in the company as the company is invested in them. While it is fair to say that some employees simply “don’t have what it takes”, with a small amount of development effort on your part, others may surprise you and could blossom into the employees of your dreams.

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