The importance of employee development for successful businesses


employee development


Every organization should know that employee development means taking care of its main asset. After all, collaborators are key for a company’s  performance.

Successful businesses depend on the individual and collective success of their employees, and this result is a concrete representation of the return on investment made in a hiring decision.

Work environments require constant development from companies and their members. Today’s market reality brings a high degree of dynamism, which increases the need of implementing and adjusting to changes.

Naturally, these transformations involve the ability to manage individuals’ development; making the people management process even more important for the growth and success of the business.

In this article, we will better explain what employee development is within organizations, and how it can be strategic for your business! Enjoy reading!

What is strategic employee development?

Employee development within organizations is the goal of any HR department. This is because the logic of this concept is that employees are constantly improving their skills, achieving high performance, and thus supporting the company to achieve its results as a consequence.

Therefore, employee development is a fundamental strategy for any organization, involving both new employees in the onboarding process to longer-term collaborators. 

That’s why people management is important for developing changes in competitive environments and global markets. To achieve this, a series of actions can be chosen to support this development, such as:

In addition, efforts in employees’ development contribute to improving qualification, engagement and well-being. This also helps companies attract and retain talent, reduce turnover rates and promote a healthier organizational climate.

Therefore, investing in an effective employee development program includes identifying training needs, creating plans according to those needs and evaluating results. An important issue is the type of training, such as skill development, technical training, motivation and other soft/hard skills.

What is people management?

In the business world, many concepts are constantly evolving. However, within every area of ​​knowledge, there’s an essence that remains, pointing to intrinsic needs of an object or aspect of life.

Work is one of those dimensions that produces new terms but, at the same time, maintains needs that are impossible to ignore.

Among them, we can highlight the focus on managing people combined with the tasks and operations performed by the institution or establishment itself.

Every kind of work carries a complexity, which varies according to the nature of its actions, the demands of a certain type of activity, among other factors that can influence it.

Therefore, people management is always linked to existing ways of working.

Check out the difference between training, development and enablement:

employee development 01 1 The importance of employee development for successful businesses
Souce: Zavvy

Definition of people management

The term people management refers to everything that involves human behavior in organizations. In the contexts of the process, the objectives of action target the following areas:

  • Recruitment & Selection,
  • Internal Communication,
  • Training & Development.

Regarding training, the aim is for each employee to have the ability to perform those tasks predefined by managers.

The development part, on the other hand, integrates a more complex triad, formed by “knowledge, skills and attitudes”, capable of making the employee able to perform his work as fully as possible.

Therefore, there is a need for the development of people in both personal and professional aspects of the employee.

The way people are seen within an organization will determine the management of human capital, as well as the priorities of managers regarding internal strategies.

To exemplify different types of view on people in organizational environments and their influence on business, we can highlight two perspectives:

#1 People as resources

This way of looking at the company’s human capital, quite common in environments where processes take precedence over people, brings a series of consequences, outlining an entire culture that is sometimes distant from the needs of its employees.

The main features of this management model are:

  • Rigid work routines;
  • Emphasis on norms and rules;
  • Centralization of power in “bosses”;
  • Alienation from the organization’s mission;
  • Focus on tasks;
  • People seen as a workforce.

Access our post on performance management and discover 5 reasons why companies fail, click here!

#2 People as partners

This view, in which employee development is seen as a work partnership rather than just a marketing relationship, there’s greater synchronicity between employees and the company’s culture. 

It is also engaging for attracting and retaining talent.

Check out some of its features:

  • More flexible routine;
  • Greater employees’ autonomy;
  • Interdependent relationships between departments;
  • Integration with the company’s mission;
  • Focus on results;
  • People seen as intelligence.

Given this comparison, it’s possible to understand that the second perspective is closer to current market trends.

Employee development is only possible if worked on this concept, in which human capital is treated in its entirety. Hence, it’s stimulated in an integral and constant way.

Check out this summary on the importance of managing people in your company and how to implement it properly: Strategic workforce management planning

Employee development and innovation

The process of managing human capital is, like any other organizational process, subject to change throughout history. It’s always situated in a certain economic and social framework according to the market characteristics of the moment.

Therefore, in day-to-day life where knowledge is a central tool for any business, employee development has become more strategic; combining with other areas of knowledge such as Information Technology and Marketing.

Being strategic means uniting human resources with business strategies, transforming information into market intelligence and optimizing time, investment and procedures.

Technological advancement has become one of the engines of strategic management.

From this union between HR and the IT, there is a modernization of procedures and the sector as a whole, as well as a decentralization of management, which is no longer the sole responsibility of the human resources department.

As a result, all managers, from different sectors, become responsible for managing their own team, with the HR department providing support to these leaders and managing the leadership process itself.

The importance of employee development

The development of people helps a company to evolve, providing a solid base of intellectual capital, which is one of the aspects that most influences an organization’s market value.

In addition, this kind of policy aimed at employees’ growth, generates positive effects on the organizational culture, becoming a market differentiator.

An organizational culture that cares about the integral growth of its team has competitive advantages, such as:

  1. Attracting and retaining talent (consequent decrease in turnover);
  2. Brand strengthening;
  3. Growth potential;
  4. Higher market value.

It is worth noticing that employee development in organizations is a deeper and more comprehensive process, thus it is different from training.

For Chiavenato, one of the main theorists in the organizational area, employee development differs from training itself.

The latter concerns the constant encouragement of systematic changes in employee behavior, aimed at greater productivity. 

Check out this post on continuous improvement.

According to the author, people development is “a set of experiences not necessarily related to the current job, but that provide opportunities for professional development and evolution. Is more focused on the employee’s personal growth and aims at the future career — and not just the current position”.

Then, it becomes clear that employee development goes beyond the technical or operational aspects related to work.

Therefore, it involves personal development accompanied by professional training. Furthermore, it’s a long-term process!

The leader’s role in employee development

Whatever the company’s mission, values ​​and identity, the leader will always be the main mediator between the organization and the team.

In the words of James Hunter, author of the bestseller, “The Monk and the Executive”, “if the leader screams and loses control, you can be sure that the team will also lose control and tend to act irresponsibly”.

That’s because the leader occupies a position of reference for his team’s collaborators; in addition to being actively responsible for their overall performance.

Regarding culture focused on employee development, it is also up to him to transmit it, as well as strengthen these values. Check out the best 25 leadership techniques, click here!

The leader as a coach

Although this term is use in reference to technicians and trainers in the sports field, the concept of coach has extended to all dimensions of life, including –and, perhaps, mainly– to the organizational context.

The essence of this role is to transform ordinary people into champions. Exploring skills, improving attitudes and extracting potentials that may be latent or, often, undeveloped.

The business coach is the person who undertakes the task of supporting collaborators with the goal of achieving better results and promoting their professional and personal development.

Thus, the leader who assists in the employee development process plays the role of coach. He must guide his dependents and closely monitor their evolution process.

This is how a leader can become a true coach for his team:

  • Using discipline as a motivational tool;
  • Using feedback to improve performance and turn mistakes into learning;
  • Working on listening and valuing their collaborators’ actions;
  • Encouraging teamwork.

STRATWs One is a tool that encourages feedback within companies through strategic management. Click here to learn more!

Based on these four attitudes, the relationship between the leader and the team becomes a learning network that promotes, above all, the growth of both parts.

It’s important to highlight that an integral leader learns from his team. Within the developing people field, there’s room for mutual evolution, as leadership is improved through exchanges with others.

How to act in employee development?

Now that we’ve analyzed the entire context of employee development, the importance of management and the leader’s role in this process, shall we get down to business? Check out the following topics on how to effectively develop people in your organization!

Knowledge, skill and attitude: development triad

Based on this triad, it’s possible to carry out employee development with the certainty that a proficient job is being done.

After all, knowledge, skill and attitude correspond to the set of elements that need to be developed within an organization so that collaborators achieve an integral growth.

In order to make this information more didactic, we will talk about each of these elements separately. Keep reading!

1. Knowledge

Knowledge is the factor with the greatest differential impact among competitors in the market. Therefore, the question regarding this aspect is: how can I improve my collaborators’ level of knowledge?

Authors discussing Knowledge Management point out that explicit knowledge is valuable.

Therefore, every effort on knowledge is directed towards making it more accessible and concrete, as it’s precisely this element which will represent the famous organization’s know-how.

Knowledge management involves: creation, capture, systematization and distribution of content.

Therefore, the company must encourage sharing valuable information, creating different communication channels. Standardize procedures, formalizing them in order to internalize the information and, finally, promote learning through techniques and tools in the corporate education field.

2. Skill

The development of skills represents the level that most encompasses the personal aspects of employees, such as preferences, aptitudes, experiences and ease of learning in certain areas.

At this point, it should be noted that developing skills requires close observation of individuals. It involves monitoring results and also the entire path that led to that result.

This monitoring is due to the fact that it’s only possible to develop skills if they are recognized.

A leader who doesn’t recognize the talents of his team, for example, will have a less prepared group, if there was room for this recognition and work to improve existing talents.

3. Attitude

Attendance, interpersonal relationships, initiative, ethical behavior at work and punctuality are examples of attitude indicators.

Working on these factors is as important as developing potential and providing knowledge.

Bad habits and certain behavioral vices are capable of disturbing people’s personal and professional growth.

On the other hand, an intervention and the consequent modification of these aspects can turn a stagnant career into a rising one.

To achieve this, the company can highlight important attitudes that add value to the work. Constantly encourage employees through rewards, incentive programs, benefits, etc.

At this point, feedback is a valuable tool, both positive, which reinforces good attitudes, and negative, which corrects what doesn’t add value or harms the employee, the team or the company.

Learn more: 7 tips for employee recognition programs

How to apply proper employee development?

There are several ways to develop people properly, among them we can highlight:

  • Job rotation

Consists of moving people within the organization, both vertically and horizontally, in order to expand knowledge, develop and enhance skills and attitudes.

It’s a provisional strategy that provides more experience to the employee, allowing him to deal with other existing operations in the company.

  • Hands-on learning

It is the full dedication of a collaborator to a specific project, either in a group or individually. Can also be aimed at solving problems in certain sectors. It’s often used in addition to other techniques.

  • Courses and seminars

This is one of the best known ways of promoting employee development within companies. However, the execution of this method can vary, and can be carried out inside the company or outside.

Another interesting possibility consists of using technology as a support, through applications, programs and learning platforms.

  • Simulation techniques

Simulating a challenging work situation can be an interesting action in the development of people.

In addition to taking the employee out of his comfort zone, it can allow him to revisit situations that are constantly experienced in the company’s routine.

Thus, it’s possible to open up new options for such situations so that they can be seen from outside, shared, discussed and more easily resolved.

  • Performance evaluation

Employees’ performance evaluation can be carried out in cycles. The most important thing is to do it frequently.

Besides being an important quality control tool, it is also capable of enhancing employees’ development.

The 360º assessment model is well known and currently used as an example of an evaluation that promotes complete improvement within an organization.

It’s carried out at all hierarchical levels, involving professionals from different specialties and positions.

For this reason, it has proven to be such an efficient tool in making companies aware of their performance.

Reaping the rewards

Internal results

The results of employee development in organizations can be seen both internally, among the team itself, and externally.

Regarding the internal dimension of the company, there are important benefits provided by this perspective. The most significant are:

Retaining talent

From the moment that employees find the needed support to develop their careers within a company and, at the same time, become more integral people, they tend to want to remain part of that company.

Talent retention is undoubtedly a concrete gain from investing in employee development.

Learning culture

Organizational culture involves habits, beliefs, values ​​and customs internalized within the company. A stagnant culture can pose a threat to the business’ welfare.

That’s because, given the constant market challenges, it would be difficult to work with a team that doesn’t change or evolve significantly.

Therefore, by generating this movement towards development, the company is creating a learning culture.

Despite its solid knowledge bases, the company should be flexible and able to keep up with oscillations and changes in the corporate world.

Favorable organizational climate

The organizational climate is the result of the working conditions that the employer offers to its employees.

By working on potentials and seeking the personal and professional fulfillment of your team, you can also increase people’s satisfaction.

Which, of course, reflects on the relationship between members of the same team, from other sectors and leaders.

Impact on business

Talent attraction

When it comes to competing for qualified professionals, the company that invests in the development of its talents offers an advantage over the others.

People who have already reached basic levels of satisfaction, such as material reward, comfort and security, seek to satisfy higher needs, such as those related to self-fulfillment.

Therefore, the possibility of developing new skills or putting into practice all the acquired knowledge in leadership roles that really make a difference in  people’s development, can represent the dream of any talented professional.

Better results

As in every industry involving people, the development possibilities are endless. What limits the results achieved by the company is the individual and collective capacity of its members.

Investing in employee development is a constant endeavor, however, once it happens, there’s no limit to success. Intelligence generates intelligence, that is, the work becomes more complex and reaches the highest performance.

For example, for a sales team which works with goals, the more it exceeds these goals, the more they grow.

Learn about SMART Goals to boost your results, click here!


Organizations exist to achieve results that a person couldn’t reach alone. Therefore, overcoming limits is included in its mission.

Employees’ development is the maximum representation of this mission within the organizational context.

Companies that believe in the potential of their employees are those that convey to their customers the purpose of becoming better every day. And they offer services and products that make the most of their effort and potential.

To achieve results outside the standards, it’s necessary to invest beyond them. That means investing in the key ingredient of your business: people. An organization’s success must go hand in hand with the success of its team.

Do you aim to foster communication, collaboration, and sharing of best practices among your team members to ensure the correct execution of your planning?

Having a robust and easy-to-use people management system at all levels of the company may be the ideal solution for you.

Effective Human Resources software offers, for example, more autonomy to HR, as it allows for the automation of processes and encourages feedback with intelligent talent management.

The perfect ally for this modernization is STRATWs ONE. This software allows you to plan, organize and improve the work routine of the entire team, making employees focus on achieving results.

Revolutionize your company’s management with STRATWs One:

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