February 28, 2021
Training and Development 03 April 2019
Best Approach to Nurture Skills in Employees
Stella Lincoln

Employees are the real asset for any company. To run a business successfully, you have to constantly be elevating the skill level of your workers. How well a business is doing is directly proportional to the performance of the employees working in that organization. 

A mindset of constantly pushing for the best out of your workforce won’t yield the best results, there is a method to it. Here are the top approaches that work to help nurture skills in employees.

Training Programs

“In modern times, investment in training could be the best possible form of saving for any company” - Ronald J. David, Training Executive at Crowd Writer

Training is an integral part of workplaces to upscale employee skills. Through training, workers become more informed about their jobs, grow in confidence, and value their work and the company more. This will result in improved performance and higher-quality work. Training is no longer optional, it is vital if you want to be competitive with the market. 

Every employee is not equal, each worker has different academic backgrounds, different levels of understanding, and all come from different environments. Naturally, some employees will be more skillful at certain tasks than others. Training serves to minimize this gap as much as possible and allows employees to work at equal capacity.


Realize the Real Potential of Employees

“Don’t judge a fish by its capacity to climb a tree” - Albert Einstein

Letting an employee is not that easy, and it disrupts the whole system. Before you start considering firing an employee, ask yourself; “have I given them the right tasks to work on?” 

Instead of pushing your employees to work on things that they are unfamiliar with or unfit for, give them tasks that they can confidently complete. Ordinary employees can provide extraordinary results if they are given the right shoes to fill. Observing workers and putting them in the right place is vital to making the most of their talents. 

Use succession planning to help chart their pathway in your organization. Through succession planning, you'll be able to assign tasks and roles based on your company's needs while helping employees clearly understand what they need to do to succeed and grow in your organization. This will also help to reduce the turnover of workers because there is no reason for them anymore to switch from a company where they feel at home. 

Reconcile Company Goals with Employee Goals

Remember that your company’s growth is interlinked with the growth of your employees. Ensure your workers that all their engagement is not for the company alone. The more invested your workers are, the more they will treat the business as their own.

Talk to your employees and find out what their short-term and long-term goals are for their time with your company. Maybe they want to learn certain skills, hope to be promoted to a certain position, or are looking to earn a certain salary. Without knowing your employees' goals, the company can't do its part to make those goals materialize. This can lead to resentment and unengaged employees which is never good for business. 

Work together with employees to lay out a Pathway with well-defined training and milestones that will benefit the company and allow them to achieve their personal goals. Help them see the long-term opportunities and promotions available as they proceed along their career pathway.


Keep a Forward-Looking Approach

The present is important, but it is also essential to plan for the future of your company. Analyze the current performance of your employees and start figuring out who will fit best in what position as your company grows. 

It helps to make an ongoing list of qualities and skills required for future roles in the company. Once you know what gaps need to be filled in the future, compare it to what is currently available in your present workforce. You can identify employees that have certain qualities and start investing in these workers by putting them through training and skills development programs.

Give & Receive Feedback

Hardly any factor contributes as much in the growth of the business as genuine feedback does. Make it a point to give feedback to your workers. This is likely to improve their performance because it is an effective way of learning.

Feedback keeps your employees on the track. They get an idea of where they are heading, and this will let them know if they are working toward the right results. Early feedback can save you from costly mistakes and help workers smoothly meet their defined goals.

Remember that feedback is a two-way street. Ask the employees if there is anything which bothers them or if there are any changes they would like to suggest. Encourage "real feedback" from your employees and let them know when you implement their recommended changes so that they know their opinions are being heard. 


Criticize Privately/Rarely and Praise Publicly/Frequently 

“The best criticism is one that does not sound like criticism at all” – Milne Devine, HR Manager at Australian Master.

As a boss or manager, it is tough to avoid giving criticism. Don't assume that being in a leadership position gives you the divine right to give a dressing-down any time or place you decide. Frequent criticism can put your employees in a negative mindset and prevent them from giving their best effort.

If it becomes unavoidable to criticize, do it in person and not in front of other staff. Always – I repeat – always be cool-headed. Be direct and straight-forward, but do your best to make it uplifting. Make sure you give constructive criticism by providing specific suggestions on how they can improve.

Don’t shy away from frequently praising your employees! It might seem like a small thing, but it has a significant impact on the performance of your workers. You have no idea how a few complimentary remarks can alter the mood and morale of the employees.

Acknowledgment and appreciation is its own type of reward, maybe even the best possible reward for some people. Praise and recognition will encourage workers to put their heart and soul into their work. The best thing about appreciation is that it does not cost anything to you.

Allow Autonomy and Flexibility

Micro-managing and restricting employees can make them feel caged and inferior. A little bit of scrutiny is good, but too much of can be like a virus on the creativity of workers. Give them some space to be themselves and allow them to choose what skills they want to develop. There is no substitute for freedom, not even money.

Some people may think that flexibility means undisciplined. Against common belief, taking a flexible approach with employees can actually result in increased productivity. The workers are more at ease with you, and the projects/skills they choose work on are ones they are personally interested in. As long as it does not harm the interests of your business, implementing a flexible work schedule or allowing employees to work from home can be good for your employees' well being.

Stella Lincoln holds a master’s degree in management.  She is working as an HR manager at Academist Help. Stella is the mother of two daughters and loves to paint in her leisure time. Moreover, she has co-authored a few books on management.