Every manager faces the issue of mentoring and educating the people who work for them. It’s part of the leadership process to be concerned about improvement and advancement for both the individuals in the group and the group itself. How do you accomplish it? Well, everyone has their own style and every organization has its own development philosophy. So the next step is to put it all together in your own plan for your group.
Continuing education is always an option and there is plenty of it available in the market place. Investing in employees by paying for education and allowing them the time to learn on company time is a good idea. This boosts morale and makes employees feel valued which eventually equates to higher productivity and lower turnover. On top of that, you will end up with smarter and more educated employees.
There is a cost associated with offering continuing education to employees. Obviously, the actual cost of the training is a consideration. The best plan is to always have this in your budget. If you budget for this up front, then you don’t have to scramble to find money when an education opportunity comes up for your people.
The other consideration is scheduling appropriately for people to be away to attend the training. As a manager, it may seem too difficult to have people tied up and out of the office. If you plan appropriately, job responsibilities can be covered while people are out. If you really get creative, you can possibly plan half day session on site rather than all day out of the office. There are many ways to schedule if employee investment is important.
Investing in your employees by offering continuing education is one of the best choices you can make as a leader.
o You benefit by having employees who trust you and know that you support their growth.
o The company benefits by having employees who are knowledgeable and engaged.
o The employee benefits because the more they know the more valuable they become.
o Your customers benefit because they’re getting better services and products from your company because of better employees.
o Once again – you benefit when your department excels. Always remember that you’re only as good as your people are when you’re responsible for managing a department.
To expand a little on the last bullet point… It may seem odd to some that making sure their people are educated and have the tools they need to excel is one of the ways to excel yourself. When an employee does a great job, you look good, too. When you look good, your boss looks good, too. When you look good to your boss, well – does that really require more conversation?
It doesn’t matter what function your department is responsible for. Continuing education is always a good thing because so much is available today. From actual functional training to leadership training to technical training to most anything you can think of – it’s out there and it’s valuable. There are many programs to choose from. Your best bet is to do some research about what is available in your area or what kind of training can be brought in. Develop a plan for taking advantage of what you find for your people.
Another option can also be to ask your employees what kind of training they think would be helpful. Most people know where they want to improve and what they want to learn. An important part of mentoring and leadership comes with discussions about opportunities for improvement, so potential education falls right into that bucket.
So don’t discount continuing education as a waste of time or money. You’ll short change yourself, your employees, and your company if you do. Invest in your employees – you’ll never be sorry for being a good leader.