Every employer wants to see their team succeed. And with success often comes the opportunity for learning and growth— what is working well? What isn’t? Where are the setbacks? What’s our greatest asset in this success?  Great managers should go a step further, and instead of focusing solely on the success of the business plans, should also focus on the success and growth of their employees. Because if the business is succeeding and growing, so too should the employees be growing. 

How to help employees grow 

There are countless ways to help increase employee growth, from professional development tracks to personal development ones. Both are important and both can increase the health of the workplace culture.  

1. Prioritize mental health through example 

Employees tend to follow the example of their leader, for better or worse. Therefore, you have the unique capability to increase the mental health of your staff by being a witness in prioritizing your own mental health.  Maybe this is taking a walk after a stressful meeting to get coffee; you might need to take time off for a long weekend to reset; perhaps it’s needing to reschedule a meeting because an important family matter took precedence, or you simply had to drive the kids to school.  It doesn’t matter what it is—if you’re encouraging being mindful of mental health through your actions, your employees will feel empowered to do the same. 

2. Create a growth plan

An employee growth plan can be a 12 month plan that helps an employee reach their goals, personal or professional. It allows them to vocalize how they want to develop, which in turn helps make it happen. This might be learning a specific skill, overseeing a certain project or shadowing another employee with greater experience as a unique, personal experience of professional development. 

3. Support your employees’ passions outside the workplace 

It is crucial that employees don’t eat, sleep and breathe their work as this is a quick and dangerous path to burnout and a poor work/life balance. To prevent this, ask about the passions and hobbies of your employees outside the workplace and encourage their pursuit of those things.  Having a hobby is crucial for mental health, and an employee with strong mental health is more productive and motivated overall, which can significantly improve their time spent working. 

4. Encourage learning 

If learning is not encouraged, when new hires with fresh ideas and streamlined techniques come in, the company veterans will likely be more resistant to new ideas. “That’s not how things are done around here”—be it a mindset or something verbalized—is guaranteed to quell any desire to learn or present new ideas.  If, on the other hand, the openness of embracing new techniques is fostered in the workplace, employees will feel encouraged to not only present and accept new ideas, but they’ll also constantly be on the lookout for ways to improve both the “way things are done” as well as their own skills.

5. Really check in and listen to the answers 

Routinely checking in with your employees and listening to their answers shows you care about them more than just for the quotas they’re meeting. It can also clue you in to certain employees who might be struggling. This may allow you to proactively support them, if possible, or at least have a better understanding of why their performance is lacking, why they’re tardy, etc.  From there, you can work with them to find a way that best supports them, as well as works for the company. This tells the employee that you value their well-being as a person, not just as a staff member.

6. Recognize hard work 

When you recognize and reward hard work, you motivate your employees to continue working hard and striving to be the best they can be. This helps staff members grow because they realize their dedication, hard work and honing of skills has a benefit not just in the workplace, but in their personal growth and development as well. 

7.  When burnout occurs, find the root cause

If you look for the thing causing burnout—undercompensation, too heavy a workload, a team member not pulling their weight––you can begin dealing with the cause before you even have to deal with the consequences of burnout.  Not only does this significantly help solve the problem sooner, it keeps your employees happier and mentally healthier. Not having to live with burnout increases the capacity for growth in your employees, allowing them to enjoy work versus showing up every day because they’re obligated.

8.  Mentor and coach and ask for help yourself

Employees nowadays don’t respond well to demands and orders. Instead, working alongside your staff as a member of the team shows them you’re all working towards the same goal. It gives you the chance to share your expertise and knowledge, as well as gives you the chance to ask for help when needed.  This is a tremendous witness to your staff and can benefit the culture of the workplace overall. 

Looking for other ways to benefit your team?

You might have great ideas of your own to boost employee growth, or you might need a little more guidance. No matter where you are, Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP can help. Give us a call anytime to talk growth plans, EAP installments or overall mental health strategies that can benefit you and your employees. Contact us today at 800-543-5080.
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