Ensure your Professional Growth: Tips for Employee Development
Maintaining growth over the years of your career is no small feat—not to mention that learning can take place in a multitude of ways. However, laying out your own path to learning and development is essential to advance your career and to continuously sharpen your skills in your current job.
Ensure Growth is one of our Core Values (find out more about our core values here). As an HR Manager, it’s my focus to encourage the growth and development of our employees. I’d like to lend my top tips to help you focus on how to hone your skills and grow professionally. Check out the list below!
1. Identify Where to Improve
Part of making a decision to grow and learn is to identify what it is that you’d like to improve. As part of this reflection, think about new skills you’d like to gain or current ones you’d like to improve upon. Are there gaps in knowledge on your team or in your company? Is there a new tool you can take the lead on being the expert on?
Consider where you may want to advance to next and try to determine what skills you’d need to develop to get there.
Tip: Soft skills are typically an area we can all improve upon, so don’t forget these when working to identify areas of improvement! Examples of soft skills can include communication, teamwork, or even time management.
2. Reach Out to Your Team
Your manager and team are there to help you seek out opportunities to grow, so it’s important to let them know you are interested.
In your next one-on-one with your manager, make it a point to mention what you’d like to tackle next. You can also always reach out to HR, who can help identify training or courses you can take and can help with goal setting to help you complete them.
Lastly, your teammates may have taken a training themselves or read a relevant book—be sure to put out your feelers to see what they can make available to you.
3. Accept New Challenges
Learning doesn’t have to just take place from a book or a webinar. Lots of growth can happen from taking on new challenges in the form of a new project, a long-term task, or additional responsibility. Take initiative and step up to the plate when a new challenge arises to focus on your hands-on growth.
If nothing arises in the immediate future, consider taking on a passion project if your bandwidth allows it. Discuss with your manager and see what you both can come up with in terms of new tasks.
4. Read Blogs
A common practice in our agency that our teams practice is taking the first 30 minutes of the day to check out relevant blogs to your industry. Spending this time each and every day will keep you up to speed on the latest happenings and well versed in your industry news. This is an easy way to incorporate daily learning into your routine, and one that will for sure pay off.
Bonus points if you share those blogs with a colleague or with the team in your next department meeting!
5. Check out Lynda
Lynda is a great resource for well-packaged learnings on a variety of subjects and topics. Here at PSM, all of our employees have access to the tool. Don’t worry; membership can be relatively inexpensive if your company doesn’t offer it. Aside from this company perk, our team also has an hour on their calendars each Friday called Learning Hour, where we have a dedicated time to focus on learning and skill development.
Setting aside dedicated time each week for training and exploration is extremely helpful and helps you remain committed to your learning plan!
6. Search for Conferences
Many industries offer conferences where major key players in the field can gather and share information in a large group setting. These typically take place in larger cities and can be a great way to get intensive learning in your field. Is there a conference you’re aware of? If not, run a quick search to see what you can find!
Bonus: Conferences are also a great networking opportunity!
7. Attend, Learn & Apply!
Your next step after seeking out what you want or need to develop and how you want to train is to apply yourself! This can be the toughest part as it is self-lead and on your own terms; however, this step is the most important for your growth.
Start with simply practicing, and remember learning is a continuous process. Enjoy the journey!
Have you learned new skills that you can use in a career move? Check out our open positions and apply to join our team!
Nicole Green is a Crystal Lake, IL native and University of Illinois at Chicago graduate. Her first job was answering phones at Lou Malnati’s–and now she’s our Manager of HR & Employee Engagement. Some of her bucket list items include attending the Olympics, swimming with dolphins, and seeing Cardi B in concert.