Learning and professional development are like a breath of fresh air for people. Giving them the space to explore and take control of their careers helps them become more self-aware and better understand their responsibilities.
However, with our busy lives, it’s hard to find the time to think about long-term career goals. This has been especially true in the past couple of years, when everything felt like a rush.
Learning communities to support employee development
Creating a learning community for employees is like giving them a oasis in the desert. Encourage them to build networks and learn from people outside of their immediate teams and managers. This can include informal groups, peers, and even indirect managers. This type of networking and learning brings new perspectives and can lead to breakthroughs and better results.
This type of community can be transient and informal, but it creates an ongoing exchange of information and a two-way dialogue between employees and their most trusted colleagues. This leads to a more fulfilling employee experience, increased productivity, satisfaction, and better outcomes for everyone.
Create internal networking opportunities for your employees
Networking while working remotely can be a bit of a challenge. New employees may have a harder time getting to know their colleagues since they’re not physically in the same space. And for everyone, it can be difficult to figure out how to interact with each other in a remote setting. For example, is it okay to have casual conversations with colleagues or to ask for mentorship?
Asking for advice or support from colleagues can also feel a bit awkward, since they might be eager to disconnect and spend time with their families after work hours. This can leave you wondering if they’d rather not mentor you.
In a remote work environment, there are fewer opportunities to meet colleagues in person or expand your network at conferences and events. One way to overcome this is to create internal networking opportunities within your team.
Sharing tips and best practices with your colleagues can be a valuable professional development activity. And remember, building a strong network is a marathon, not a sprint. So, it’s important to keep practicing and fostering connections with your team.
Prioritize diverse leadership teams
Creating a diverse leadership team should be a top priority for any company. Why? Because having a diverse leadership team is essential for fostering a culture of belonging for all employees. When employees feel like they belong, they are more likely to thrive and be engaged in their work.
In simple terms, a company that lacks diversity in leadership can feel like an exclusive club, which is not an environment where employees can feel comfortable and supported.
So, before leaders can expect their teams to feel a sense of belonging, they need to take responsibility for creating a diverse leadership team. This includes implementing an employee experience program that specifically addresses diversity and inclusion within leadership. Only then can leaders begin to create a larger culture of belonging within the company.
Employee development needs engagement with senior leaders
Mentoring relationships are crucial for developing talent and inspiring high-quality performance. They provide a structured path for professional development and a safe space for exploration, experimentation, and taking risks. The best way to achieve development is through a supportive community.
A lack of opportunities to engage with senior leaders can be a major barrier for many employees, particularly for those from underrepresented groups. To retain talented employees and develop diverse employees into future leaders, it’s important to provide them with opportunities to connect and learn from senior leaders.
Another obstacle is the lack of career support and mentorship. Leaders should commit to supporting and developing the professional and leadership goals of their team members, particularly those from underrepresented groups. These individuals can be your future leaders and mentors.
It’s important to remember that employees need development support now more than ever. They need opportunities to strengthen their network and establish mentoring relationships. For diverse professionals, especially those who have been newly hired, additional support is essential. Leaders should make sure to involve them in the organization and help them feel a sense of connection and belonging.
Ultimately, leaders should invest in their people at every opportunity. Your team members are your most valuable investment.