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The Key to Retaining Your Sales Team: Professional Development

In a recent survey about employee development by The Harris Poll for Infrastructure, roughly 70% of respondents said they were at least somewhat likely to leave their current place of work for somewhere with more focus on employee development. Mitch Benson, SVP of Product at Infrastructure said: “Today’s workforce has options, and people are clear about the fact that they want to work for companies that will invest in their careers.”

Actually, the survey found that 98% of companies already did offer employee development tools. So what’s the issue? It’s this - only 26% of employees found these tools useful.

It’s clear that most companies are missing the mark, and there’s a real disconnect in the area of employee development. Also, this disconnect leaves employees feeling unsupported because 77% of respondents said they “feel like they’re on their own” when deciding how to develop the skills to help them progress in their careers.

Is this what is happening in your company? In fact, before reading this article did you feel like you want to invest more in employee development - which was the most popular option chosen by the companies surveyed who felt too that this was a top investment choice? If so, how do you avoid throwing good money after bad, and invest in employee development programs that your staff actually want?

Here are 3 tips to get you started...

First, you need to understand the skills your staff already have and where their knowledge gaps are, so you can map that out against the critical skills your business is going to need in the future. You can use tools like learning assessments or internal questionnaires to deliver the data you need. That way your employees will feel guided in their choices, and you’ll be developing their skills to best suit your company’s goals.

Second, consider how best to deliver your employee development training. In Linkedin’s workplace learning report 2019 (which is a great resource and full of useful insights) their research shows that most learners want to control their learning journey with self-directed study online during the flow of work. Developing a library of online learning courses has increasingly become a more attractive and flexible way to learn as opposed to solely instructor-led courses, which by their nature need specifically allocated time out of the working day and are knowledge-intensive.

Thirdly and finally, think about how you are going to engage your staff and promote your development opportunities. Linkedin’s aforementioned report advises that its time to turn up the volume and creativity in communicating your employee development program. Tried and tested methods like email and the intranet are still valid, effective tools but you might also think about supplementing this with a multi-channel approach using videos, signage, events or even creating a brand for your offering. Join up with the marketing department for an integrated approach to promote through your existing channels too.

In conclusion, we know that, after compensation, offering the opportunity for development to staff is key to retention. A well-designed program enables them to reach their full potential which is only good news for them and for your business. So it makes sense to get it right. Is it time to give your employee development offering a closer look?


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