Many companies have realized that in order to support a successful virtual workplace, they need to intentionally establish that which was taken for granted when employees walked into an office every day. From creating company culture, to hosting online hangouts, or stimulating water cooler talk through Slack channels, HR teams are working hard to keep employees linked to the company mission, to performance goals, and to their teams. In a virtual world, employee development can be a key driver of engagement, and managers play a critical role to ensure that employee development remains a focus.
Employees need to know that their manager is interested not only in the results they are producing, but also cares about their development. Learning new skills that support their career progression can encourage employees to remain productive at a time when many employees are feeling isolated and struggling to stay motivated. Casual debriefs about how a presentation went, or what is being learned through a stretch assignment that might have organically happened in an office, need to be planned for in a remote working environment.
Here are 4 actions Core Leaders can take to ensure employees are continuing to evolve their skills and build their careers:
1 – When delegating, be sure to consider giving employees stretch assignments instead of giving new projects to the team member who already is the most experienced.
2 – Take the time to debrief key wins, project milestones, and significant challenges employees have overcome to solidify on-the-job learning.
3 – Engage employees in dialogue about their interests and long term career goals. Help them define the skills, experiences, and knowledge they need to pursue to keep moving towards their aspirations. Help them build an action plan and monitor it on a quarterly basis.
4 – Set learning goals with each employee, and periodically check in to see how they are doing. Plan time periodically during one-on-ones to ask questions about the progress the employee is making, and ask them to share stories about their learning experience.
As Core Leaders continue to navigate how to remain effective in a virtual workplace, employee development can be a very helpful and even inspiring part of the process. And, the good news is that employee development is a win for both the employee and the organization.