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A study of 2,000 professionals by Better Buys found that 92% of employees think having access to professional development is important or very important. Great employees want to feel fulfilled in their career, and proactively finding ways to help them develop their skills will go a long way in maintaining their satisfaction with your company. Here are 10 ways your business can start to encourage career development today!

1. Understand the roles within your company. Employees have specific roles and ways to develop as professionals within their department. Make time to understand each role and establish ways to implement effective development for each employee. Ensure both employees and managers understand opportunities and limitations in the specific workplace.

2. Ask your employees for feedback. Work with employees to understand the skills they want to develop. Help them create realistic career goals based on their department’s needs and their personal development plans.  

3. Learning module system. Create a learning module system using software like TalentLMS, 360Learning, Lessonly, etc., that contain material catered to each department and individual’s needs to develop or strengthen skills. Other companies have also found success by creating their own training processes.  

4. Host team trainings. Make time to understand skills multiple members of the team may need improvement in. Based on that information, schedule a training time the whole team can benefit from. You can even couple this with team bonding activities to strengthen the team as whole.

5. Provide 1:1 mentorship. Based on previous team trainings, schedule a time to meet with employees individually. Become a mentor to them. As your company continues to grow, assign mentors to help with individual employee’s career development goals. At Cox, we are very intentional about expecting our leaders to be mentors not only to their own team members, but to establish mentor relationships with other functional groups, in other regions across our company, so the learning turns out to be two way for sure.

6. Focus on the individual employee. Be proactive and present on the growth and development of each employee. Advise employees on the feasibility of various career options within the company. 

7. Establish ways to track progress. Many learning module systems have ways to effectively track learner progress and performance. Whatever your process is, be consistent with tracking progress. Establish quarterly goals and timely follow up.  

8. Provide additional trainings. Split up trainings based on department needs. These additional trainings can help ensure employees are strengthening their skills. Make sure these additional trainings help them fully grasp their skills and encourage them to develop as professionals. At Cox we often include guest speakers at our department and leadership meetings.  They provide interesting topics and continuing education in a fun, more interesting environment.

9. Talk to the employees about their passions and goals (and keep track). The best time to talk to an employee about their goals and passions is on their very first day. It is essential to keep track of this to show your employees that your company cares, instead of waiting for an employee to come forward and ask what their next step is. Provide quarterly check-ins to discuss how they are doing with their goals. Use this time to encourage professional development. 

10. Celebrate their career development along the way. Celebrating your employee’s career development doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. A simple message, handwritten note, phone call, team meeting announcement, etc., can go a long way. These small things can make the greatest difference!

Lisa Lovallo is the Southern Arizona market vice president for Cox Communications, leading a team of 250+ Southern Arizona Cox employees. We are proud that our employees complete more than 3,000 hours volunteering in Southern Arizona annually. Reach her at lisa.lovallo@cox.com.