Strategies for Promoting Employee Development

The hard part is over! You have interviewed multiple candidates and spent endless hours getting your new employee acclimated to the team.  Sitting across from you in your office is an eager, bright eyed individual ready to take on this new challenge.  NOW WHAT?

This is where the first of many discussions about professional development occurs.

Every employee you hire will have different goals and expectations of the job as well as their employment path.  Some employees have a clear understanding of where they are going and what they want in life.  Several employees will be very content to be the best employee they can be in their current position for the foreseeable future.  Other employees will have NO idea whatsoever what they want to do when they grow up. This is where you come in!


Employee development is a shared responsibility and collaborative practice between the employee and supervisor.  The benefits of employee development are endless.  A skilled workforce positively impacts organizational performance which in turn results in increased retention, higher job satisfaction, greater productivity and a true investment in the company’s future and success.

So how do we start the conversation?  The following are some ideas to get you started on this journey of career growth with employees.

  • What motivates you?

Knowing what motivates your employee helps you to better understand how to structure your feedback to them. For example:  If your employee told you that what motivated them, was to make a difference in people’s lives and to feel respected and accomplished, then the way that you provide feedback to them needs to be framed in such a manner that you foster a meaningful relationship while tying the feedback to the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’ allowing them the opportunity to connect the action of various job responsibilities to the outcome of those responsibilities.

  • What are the strengths and skills you would like to develop?

Letting an employee tell you what they believe they do well and what can use some tweaking can take the guesswork out of your job.  It allows you the opportunity to build a strong team by letting each individual shine while also identifying how you can help them improve in other areas.

  • Why did you choose this line of work?

Understanding why your new team member has chosen this field of work gives you the insight into how to help that person feel self fulfilled.  For example: If an employee tells you that a certain mental health diagnosis intrigues them then you may want to pair them with a clinician who can provide information to them or provide online resources to educate them on things they may see on a routine basis.

  • What can I do as your supervisor to make you a successful member of this team?

The answer to this question will give you interesting insight into how your employee likes to be lead.  This can mean a variety of different things depending on many factors including past employment experience, generational differences, educational background and personality, just to name a few.  None of these are right or wrong, simply different indicators to be used when developing a supervision plan.

These are just a some ideas to help you to determine what may have brought them to this company, what skills they have that you as a supervisor can capitalize on within your team and how you can ensure you retain your new employee.  Remember that this is an ongoing conversation that requires attention and continual follow through.  An investment in your employee now is an investment in your team’s future!