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It’s getting harder for businesses to keep talent, and one of the main problems is that employees don't feel as if they are reaching their full potential. Fortunately, learning is a big part of the solution, as roughly 94% of employees say they would stay with a company longer if there was an investment in learning, according to LinkedIn. Employees today are looking for skills that can lead to career advancement and a formal plan that provides areas of development for employees (ADE) is a key part of helping them achieve that.
What defines areas of development?
Areas of development for employees, sometimes called competencies or strengths, are core skills and knowledge employees need to perform tasks efficiently and effectively at work. To reach their full potential, employees need to build on these specific skills and expertise.
Why areas of development for employees matter
Employee development is important because it helps employees see areas where their strengths lay, which can lead to more self-awareness. Areas of development also help the employee understand how they fit into your company's overall culture and goals, giving them a sense that they have control over their career path by knowing what direction to take.
11 key areas of development for employees
When organizing your employee development program, it’s important to remember that some skills are considered universal while others vary depending on the specific job. In either case, technical or hard skills should be constantly updated and maintained through training.
Whatever approach you take, an effective self-improvement roadmap will lead to big results, including elevated employee performance and better employee engagement. From critical thinking to mobile development, here are examples of some hard and soft skills that workers can develop for the workforce:
- Creativity — Employee growth can mean coming up with great, original ideas, especially when it comes to the tech sector. Also known as out-of the-box-thinking or creativity, the attribute isn’t just about coming up with great ideas, either. Instead, it involves the ability to think of innovative ideas and implement creative solutions.
- Communication skills — Areas of strengths also involve communicating ideas and information effectively, both orally and in writing.
- Collaboration — In addition to having good communication skills, workers need to also be able to collaborate effectively. Those who collaborate effectively will work well with others and build strong relationships.
- Integrity — Values need to be established and maintained in the workplace, which is why ADEs often include an emphasis on values like ethics, honesty, fairness and respect.
- Decision-making — Decisions need to be made every day in business, which means employees need areas of strength like problem-solving skills and analytical thinking skills.
- Conflict resolution — A big part of emotional intelligence is managing your impulses. Conflict is inevitable, and conflict resolution will test an employee's ability to manage their impulses. As such, professional development training should include skills needed to collaborate and resolve conflicts in a productive manner.
- Productivity — Areas of competency for employees mean setting goals and working to achieve them in a timely manner.
- Time management — Successful people make the most out of their time, which is why it’s crucial that they can manage their time effectively without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
- Mobile development — Mobile web-based application developers are in high demand with salaries ranging around $75K-$85K/year or more for experienced pros, according to Indeed Job Listings (as of 11/16). While there is a lot of hype about mobile app development, the fact remains that mobile web development skills are critical to business success today.
- Graphic design — If programming and development aren’t your things, novice graphic designers can use Design Hill Studio to access a library of customizable & ready-to-use templates that teach you how to create digital art for corporate design, marketing and advertising. Knowing how to use AI tools is a hot skill to have these days too, and Design Hill has tutorials that show you how to create dozens of unique and eye-catching logos within minutes using their AI.
Remote teams and areas of development for employees
As remote teams become more and more common, employees need to be able to work independently. The ability to do so is often associated with areas of development for employees like self-direction, initiative and accountability.
However, scheduling employee training and employee development activities can be difficult, especially when you consider the environment the workforce of today faces and the changes it’s going through. That difficulty is magnified in the case of remote teams, but brick & mortar and virtual businesses teach required knowledge and skills to their remote workers every day.
In light of that, when giving employee development training and meeting with remote teams, you'll want to take advantage of technology that can help with development areas for workers. In addition, this technology should be easy to use, have a low learning curve and provide real-time feedback on employee progress, so you'll know if they are sticking to the training plan or not.
In addition, meeting tools like Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, which many organizations are already utilizing daily, provide platforms for tackling daily communications, check-ins and status.
4 LMS software for areas of development for employees
The newest generations in the workforce are more accustomed to technology, which is why it’s important that companies provide them with robust software solutions as part of your 2021-22 employee development program. For instance, learning management system (LMS) software is tailor-made for employee development.
An LMS is a comprehensive training and development platform that allows organizations to manage the entire learning cycle, from creating new courses to tracking progress on existing ones.
Organizations can also create custom-built areas of development for employees using this software and integrate it with other business systems like CRM or ERP. Also, the software you choose should help your team members improve their performance without disrupting daily operations, and it should be easy enough to implement so they can start using it quickly.
Some that are recommended for managing the areas of development at your organization include:
- Talent LMS — With its high configurability, Talent LMS allows you to completely customize aspects of your courses. You can create learning paths and apply white labeling to the platform. They have several plans available, including a free plan that has ten courses supporting up to five users.
- Absorb LMS — Designed to make continuous employee learning interactive and collaborative, Absorb achieves this through features such as quizzes, news articles, leaderboards and feedback loops. The price for Absorb depends on the configuration of your business, but you can get a free trial to help you determine your needs.
- LearnUpon — Engaging and user-friendly, this centralized, accessible platform is used by industry leaders like Zen Desk, Charge Point and Logitech. They offer a scalable solution that grows with your business, and their basic plan starts at $699 for 50 active users.
- Coassemble — This scalable, cloud-hosted LMS is designed to accommodate the training and learning requirements for businesses of all sizes. The platform allows the use of a generous library of customizable templates, but its strength is also in the powerful tools for monitoring and reporting progress it has. Coassemble’s pro plan starts at $499 per month for 250 active users.
8 industry leaders that do employee development
Many notable industry leaders are successfully bringing ADE to the workplace, including:
- Deloitte — This company uses an internal LMS called Alchemy, which they created in-house based on materials from Blackboard and Salesforce —which are platforms that are used extensively by universities. Alchemy is used by more than one million people globally who work at the company.
- Target Corporation — This brick & mortar retailer has its own LMS called Target Online Learning, which is used to provide employee learning on new retail systems and technologies.
- Sun Life Financial — In a new program, Sun Life implemented an ADE-enabled Talent LMS so employees can access online training programs on the spot. This includes courses for better utilizing their benefits plan and financial planning advice from experts to offer retirement services. Their goal is to provide customized learning experiences that are available anytime, anywhere.
- Canon — When this employer needed their employees to become more fluent in digital technologies for 2021-22, Canon deployed an ADE-enabled LMS that provided the tools workers need to achieve this goal. The platform is being used by sales reps and marketing teams at various levels within the company, including those in Japan and Europe.
- General Electric — GE has developed an interesting approach to employee development called the “GE Store,” which involves its employees sharing ideas with one another. The company has made it clear that there are no bad ideas, so this policy encourages risk-taking and innovation in all areas of work.
- Amazon — This distribution giant is committed to training its workers through continued education using an approach they call Amazon Technical Academy. Workers can learn skills in highly technical areas while also getting Amazon discounts and having their tuition paid for.
- Salesforce — At Salesforce, managers conduct one-on-one coaching sessions with teams to help them focus and improve areas of development for employees. This approach is more personalized than a traditional training program because it allows employees to get quick feedback about how they can grow.
- Google — Long recognized as a company that values areas of development for employees, Google experiences great success in this area. The “Google way” is to experiment, fail fast and learn from mistakes while having fun along the way.
Areas of development for employees for small/medium/large businesses
Do areas of development for employees differ from small to large businesses? In a word, yes. Here are some to consider for the size of business you have:
- Small businesses — Small companies may not have the budget for formal training programs or in-house L&D departments that larger organizations can access. This means they must rely on more informal and innovative methods to provide areas of development for employees. And since they often must do more with less, it’s good to train workers on the job using tools like Udemy, LinkedIn Learning and learning management systems.
- Medium-sized businesses — Medium-sized businesses tend to treat their employees well overall, so workers tend to have a good attitude and strong loyalty to the company. This means that areas of development for employees may not be as much about improving skills as it is about increasing collaboration between employees or encouraging innovation.
- Large businesses — Large companies often use formal training programs through their Learning & Development (L&D) department, which can offer benefits such as certifications, mentorships and greater access to resources. This is a great way for workers at large companies to improve their areas of development for employees and gain valuable knowledge that can help them throughout their careers.
What will areas of development for employees look like next year
Now that you know the key areas of areas of development for employees, remote teams and how they can be implemented in small/medium/large businesses, you can now take action. That said, what will areas of development for employees look like in 2021/2022?
Here are some predictions to consider:
- Remote work will continue to be on the rise as companies realize its benefits.
- Training and documentation managers will gain more power within organizations because they are seen as important for improving areas of development for employees, productivity and collaboration among employees.
- LMSs that can integrate with other tools will be seen as more effective at improving a company’s ADE.
- As the skill gap continues to increase exponentially, companies that invest in their employees by focusing on areas of development for employees will have a competitive advantage.
- More online resources and tools will be used by workers who are not in the same location.
- Many large businesses will be using formal training programs through their L&D departments which can offer benefits such as certifications, mentorships and greater access to resources.
- Employees are still expected to learn new skills on the job, but there is more focus on increasing collaboration between employees or encouraging innovation.
If you like learning more about employee development, be sure to check out our article about it on our blog!