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Business Trends & Research Roundup: Developing great employees

March 14, 2017

What does the research say about developing great employees? What training programs or managerial actions are most effective? Check out our monthly roundup of research that will help you make your business better.

Who’s focused on training–and why?

  • Finding qualified workers is hard–41% of small business owners say it’s hard to find the workers they need, and a third of them say workers would prefer jobs at bigger companies. Perhaps as a result, more small business owners (38%, compared to 23% in 2014) are saying they’re planning to invest in training and employee development. Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, Spring 2015
  • Retail businesses of all sizes are offering training and leadership development programs for their employees. In one survey, 59% of retail organizations said they offer leadership development programs, and almost 75% said they help pay for external training programs for staff. Retail Council of Canada

Are your employees looking to leave?

  • Employee turnover has been increasing over the past couple of years as the economy slowly improves. In one survey, 70% of workers who were a high turnover risk said they felt they would have to leave their company to advance their careers. In other words, when workers don’t see an opportunity to advance, they’ve got one foot out the door. Towers Watson 2014 Global Workforce Study
  • According to Gallup, 51% of workers are actively looking for a new job. Top reasons why workers leave jobs include looking for opportunities to advance, not liking their manager or the company culture, and, of course, pay. Gallup
  • What keeps people sticking around at a company? The number one thing people say they look for in a job is the opportunity to do the things they do best. Workers also value stability, work-life balance, and working for a company with a great reputation. Gallup

Related post: 5 ways to celebrate your team on Employee Appreciation Day

How to keep employees engaged

  • Giving your employees opportunities to use their strengths at work is crucial. Workers who use their best skills every day are six times more likely to be engaged employees. According to Gallup’s research, lifting up  workers’ strengths is more effective than trying to help them improve on their weaknesses. Gallup
  • Managers make a huge difference in employee engagement. Great managers are good communicators and meet regularly with their direct reports, and they set clear goals for employees, so workers always know what’s expected of them. Harvard Business Review
  • In order to effectively train your staff to improve, make sure your managers have enough time to focus on employee development. Make employee development plans customized to individual workers, and give them ownership over their own advancement plans. Harvard Business Review

Related post: 7 tips for inspiring the best work from part-time employees

The bottom line

  • Unfortunately, not everyone has the talent to effectively manage people. Only about 10% of people have the talent to lead employees to excellent performance. Gallup
  • Focusing on employee engagement and making sure your staff is happy isn’t just a nice-to-have. Happy people are actually 12% more productive at work–so a happy worker is a better worker. University of Warwick
[image: Waitress by Chris Pople on flickr]