Keylen Villagrana is a content and PR specialist for BBB Greater West + Pacific. Submitted photo

Research continues to show that investing in the growth of employees significantly benefits organizations. It helps businesses retain their workers and stand out from their competitors.

94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. Additionally, organizations that embrace a more inclusive approach to leadership training are four times more likely to outperform those that restrict development to management.

Every company should strive to have enthusiastic and motivated employees. Demonstrating that you sincerely care about employees’ growth and success builds loyalty. Not only will they actively work to improve operations, but they will become trusted advocates.

Investing in professional development can also significantly decrease turnover rate. That means less money and time spent hiring and training new people. Furthermore, a stable team does not interrupt progress on critical initiatives. Employees who have stayed loyal to a company and have made it to the management level are more prone to understand/embody your company’s mission than hiring managers outside of the organization.

Here are some valuable and affordable options small businesses can implement for their team starting the new year:

Set up a growth plan for each employee

Every staff member should have a clear idea of their professional trajectory. This is a process you should develop alongside the employee. Not only should you ask what their goals are as it pertains to their role, but their greater career goals as well.

Once goals and timelines have been identified, determine what skills the employee may need to develop. By doing so, both you and your employee are on the same page, and expectations are clear. You’ll also help motivate and keep them longer if there’s a set plan they can work towards.

Mentorship programs

Create a mentorship program employees can opt into. There are multiple benefits for both the mentor and their mentee. It builds deeper connections amongst colleagues, helps individuals feel empowered, boosts their confidence and strengthens their leadership skills. Seasoned employees can leverage their experience to help guide young professionals when they need it most. It just takes one conversation to make an impact.

Set funds aside for yearly courses/certifications

Courses and certifications are the perfect solutions to implement into an employee’s growth plan. Whether it’s a certification for technical skill in a trade industry or a course to develop in-demand soft skills. You can provide recommendations or also allow employees to submit requests they are interested in throughout the year. Be flexible and allow requests that may not be exclusive to their role but will significantly help their personal development.

Personal development assessments

A successful employee is in touch with their strengths, skills, personality traits, communication styles, etc. They understand themselves. Comprehending the factors and environments they are most successful in will significantly improve productivity and job satisfaction. Having your employees take yearly assessments can identify areas for improvement and track their growth progress.

Guest speakers

Invite monthly or quarterly speakers to present to your team. Host a leader within your industry who can provide insight or bring in a speaker specializing in a professional development topic. Those are opportunities to build business partnerships and promote the value of networking to your employees.

There are designated agencies that can provide recommendations on how to improve employees’ professional development. Before hiring an organization, be sure to ask for testimonials and look them up on trusted websites.

Keylen Villagrana is a content and PR specialist for the Better Business Bureau Great West + Pacific.