Employee development is a critical asset in today’s fast-moving job market, not only in terms of improving performance but also in recruiting and retaining employees. Today’s professionals expect a quality compensation package that includes not only pay and benefits but also a road map to development, improvement, and a career path that helps them get ahead. Here are four tips for creating an effective, authentic employee development program.
1. Consider Your Business Goals
Prior to setting objectives for employee development, it’s appropriate to align their development goals with your franchise company’s needs. If your goal is to improve customer service and increase sales within your franchise locations, sending employees to sales training or a customer service boot camp might make sense. Developing a plan to bridge the gaps between current employee or contractor skill sets and needed abilities can offer tremendous value if starting, growing or duplicating franchise locations.
2. Offer Individual Development Plans
This step starts by talking with your franchise employees about their skill levels and career goals. This process may identify gaps between perceptions, skill sets or other hurdles that could benefit from additional training. Once you have a better understanding of their goals and ambitions, you can create individual “road maps” for each employee. These paths to development should be aligned between the individual employee’s skill set and goals, and the needs of your franchise operation for improved performance.
3. Create a Learning Culture within your Franchise
There’s a wide difference between training employees, and allowing them to learn. The best way to create a learning culture is to slow down and listen to employees rather than trying to force their development as employees. Once you’ve creating a welcoming, collaborative environment, your employees can learn the skills they need and pursue development challenges on their own schedule—without disrupting the critical functions of your franchise operation.
4. Recognize Return on Investment
You’re investing your own expertise, time, and potential earnings to help employees develop their skills. But you also need to recognize and appreciate your return on investment. In other words, your employees must demonstrate that they can apply their newly developed skills in your franchise operation. To accomplish this recognition, set up some opportunities/tests where the employee can demonstrate how to apply their newly developed skills and get feedback, either from management, their peers, or customers.
Creating an effective employee development program not only helps make your franchise more efficient, but it’s also a way to improve employee satisfaction, morale and loyalty. When employees are happy, they’re less likely to leave your franchise, and may even develop franchise locations of their own. Your business is likely to benefit from this valuable investment in a learning culture, resulting in a happier, healthier workplace.