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Want happy staff? Support personal development

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You already know that investing in professional learning and development is key to helping employees feel valued, engaged and loyal to your company in the long term.

But is personal development on your radar, too?

It turns out that one of the best ways to nurture and retain talent is make sure staff are able to grow and thrive as individuals - not just workers. One employee survey in 2016 showed that personal development was one of things most valued in the workplace, beating even the usual in-work benefits to the top slot.
Many companies we help at HR GO are starting to realise that employees now place as much importance on personal development as climbing the career ladder. Here’s how to make sure you’re doing this too.

Skilling up

While professional development is about becoming more effective in the workplace, personal development means gaining transferable ‘soft’ skills that can be used in a job as well as applied in different areas of life.

Think how you might be able to offer training and guidance in skills like teamwork, communications, assertiveness, time management or conflict resolution, for example.

Passion projects

Savvy businesses recognise that the things their staff do outside of the formal work setting can make them far better assets inside work.

So another way to help your team thrive is by encouraging any interests or pastimes, if they have them. This might be a hobby in the traditional sense, or a side gig or project in a different area like teaching or consulting.

Employees who know they have the time and space to pursue a passion tend to be not just more productive and fulfilled, but more well-rounded too - and this all counts for personal growth in and out of the workplace.

Growing together

Volunteering can be another key tool in personal development. And your company can support this by introducing a company-wide charity initiative - if it hasn’t already. This can be rich in personal development opportunities as well as helping a great cause at the same time.

Or how about backing a voluntary book club? Each month, a different staff member can lead, choosing a new title (not necessarily related to business) for colleagues to read, meet and discuss. This ticks plenty of boxes: as well as boosting cross-department camaraderie and fostering a learning culture, it may also crucially give someone who’s not usually confident enough to speak to have their voice heard for the first time.

Supporting personal goals counts

Of course, it’s important to ask employees if they have areas they’d like to develop personally. So at the start of the year, or when someone new joins your business, sit down with them to find out how you can support them.

This chat can be used as the basis for a personal development plan, with objectives and the actions needed to help them get to where they want to be.

By helping staff achieve their personal goals, they’ll feel happier, more fulfilled and valued - and crucially be more likely to stay a loyal part of your team further into the future.

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