By Anthony T. Eaton

Employee development can seem overwhelming to leaders but it doesn’t have to be. Here are four steps any leader can use towards employee development.

Have regular conversations with your employees about their development. I recommend managers have dedicated one on one’s with their employees that incorporates ongoing development discussion. If regular one on one’s aren’t your thing at least meet with your employees quarterly to talk about their development. The worst approach you can take is to have a once a year performance discussion that includes development.

Having a plan is important and writing that plan down is essential. Having an individual development plan will enable your employee to stay on task and give you something to reference in those development discussions. It is proven that writing down goals makes individuals more likely to achieve them.

We all need and want feedback and it should be part of the development conversation. The key here is that it needs to be honest, relevant and timely. When done correctly the feedback you give will help to enhance your employee’s development and improve their overall job performance. Some discussion points include: what do you think the employee needs, what do they think they need? If they have a plan what are the milestone goals and where are they in relation to meeting them?

Be a role model for your employees; show them what the behaviors you expect look like. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Development is not a one size fits all; it is a custom tailored suite. When it comes to development think in terms of work tasks, work ethics, communication, honesty and politics. If your employee can see proper modeling of behaviors they are more likely to do them.

These steps need not be overly complicated; however any employee development efforts require thought, effort and commitment if the desired outcomes are to be achieved.

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