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Ensuring your team is equipped with the latest knowledge and skills in their field will help create a powerhouse that will carry your business toward long-term success. Follow these steps to improve employee development at your company.

Create individualized plans. Sit down with your employees to discuss their career goals and create a unique development plan. For example, if an employee would like to become a manager one day, you can set aside time for them to attend leadership training or sit in on management meetings.

Develop a training program. It’s better to have a comprehensive training program in place for new hires right off the bat, rather than having them start without any formal onboarding. 

Invest in professional memberships. The cost of an annual membership fee is nothing compared to the valuable relationships and skills employees can acquire from being a part of a professional organization within their field.

Be a mentor. An office mentor program can do wonders for your company’s culture, and it allows senior employees to get to know junior employees. 

Go virtual. There are many virtual-based training platforms for employees to freshen up their skills. Sites like Skillshare.com offer online training courses on a variety of topics including the latest in social media strategy and sales presentations.

Provide performance reviews. Let employees know how they’re doing, and what they can be doing differently in order to reach their goals. Be candid, but also constructive, in your feedback. 

Recognize accomplishments. Rather than waiting until the performance review, give positive feedback on noteworthy achievements throughout the year to encourage employees to keep up the good work.

Remove barriers. Break down silos between different levels of the company to enhance communication and encourage employees to share ideas with the management team.

Encourage networking. Send employees to industry conferences and networking events to build communication skills and make professional connections.

Mix it up. Give employees the opportunity to delve into other departments by shadowing a coworker for the day. This gives them an idea of what others are working on and helps them see how everyone works together to achieve overall company goals.

Lisa Lovallo is the Southern Arizona market vice president for Cox Communications. Reach her at lisa.lovallo@cox.com.