By Michael Tompkins
One of the most common reasons great employees move on to another organization is to advance in their careers. How can you help your staff members grow and advance in their chosen career paths? What are the benefits of mentoring employees, and why is it important to help them grow? One of the most often overlooked ways to reduce the expense of replacing managerial staff is to invest in the development of current employees. This has the added advantage of building employee morale. Here are some tips from the Hutchinson Consulting team of recruiters for mentoring staff members and helping them to advance in their careers.
A leader can assist their manager first by asking the employee what they feel they need for growth. Growth opportunities come in many forms. It could be a class, a seminar, or shadowing someone more senior. Identifying and focusing on an individual’s strengths as part of a managerial assessment can help when you assign tasks and projects that feed into your staff member’s natural abilities. Having an open line of communication is imperative, not just in asking for but also in providing continual feedback to your employees. Feedback shows you are invested in their learning, which in turn creates trusting relationships. Your team members will grow and flourish when they trust who they work for and feel that someone has their back. But it’s not as simple as just regular conversations with your team members. Take the time to develop a well-thought-out action plan on how to guide employees in a way that allows them to successfully take on additional responsibilities while teaching them new skills and increasing their knowledge about the company as well as the industry. This will result in more productive, reliable, and invested team members.
Once the plan is established, allow employees to take on projects and assignments in lead roles to help boost their confidence and morale. Managers should be mindful about giving direction and not solving problems but allowing space for the staff to figure things out on their own. Be available for guidance, but let employees take on the challenges and complete operational tasks for themselves. The staff should know they are not alone, have access to guidance, and be encouraged to solve issues. Giving space builds confidence and prompts staff members to take on more responsibilities. Employees need to feel that their contributions—no matter how small—are important to the organization on a larger scale.
As team members are given more responsibility, it’s important to allow them the freedom to fail. Managers should show how challenges are a good thing for growth. Encourage staff members to look outside the box to increase efficiency, create better productivity practices, be more cost-effective, and learn to problem-solve. People learn and grow from their mistakes, so eliminate fear-based thinking and self-talk like, “I’ll be fired if I screw this up.” Instead, establish a healthy attitude among employees by looking at challenges with a positive perspective. Career growth starts by understanding what the position entails, its responsibilities, and the consequences of how making a right or wrong decision affects clients and other departments. Allowing the freedom to fail creates company buy-in, enhances overall culture, and reminds employees, the success of the organization comes first.
Create a work environment where the company thrives by showing employees their contributions are more than just a job. Keep employees engaged and focused on department and company goals in a positive and productive manner to enhance teamwork. Environments with team-based goals tend to keep employees longer.
Finally, remember, the best managers are always hiring their replacements. Mentoring is critical to the future of all organizations. Our tomorrow lies in the hearts and minds of our employees today. Our people are our most valued asset.
*This article originally appeared on American Spa.