Why Employee Development is One of the Main HR Initiatives in 2021

Industries are constantly changing and evolving, and 2021 is set to be no different. If you want your workforce to stay relevant and up to date with the latest technology or initiatives, you need to start investing in employee development. Employees need to feel respected and appreciated in the workplace. Employee development is also one of the best ways that HR can show staff that they are valued.

What is Employee Development?

Employee development refers to the process through which staff undergo professional training that will increase their knowledge and skills in the workplace. This is also known as professional development and is done with the support of the employer. Employers should pay for the training as well as offer paid time to attend.

Employee development can be used to get a staff member’s skills up to standard for the role that they are currently in. It can also be used to grow and develop someone for a future position they may wish to attain. The individual must be motivated to learn for professional development to have a significant impact on them, but it also requires the encouragement and support of the employer.

In workplaces that do not promote employee development, their staff often fall behind on the current best practices and industry trends. This can have a negative effect on productivity and the company achieving its organizational outcomes.

Benefits of Employee Development

In 2021, employee development is set to become one of the leading HR initiatives for many organizations across the globe. Why? Here are some of the benefits of employee development:

Make Your Organization More Flexible

There is a multitude of reasons that employee development will be prioritized this year, but one of the main ones is that industries are changing rapidly at this point, and we must upskill our staff so that our companies can remain on the top of their game.

Developing your staff can give the company more capacity to innovate, be flexible, and come up with new ways of doing things. If you want to be a market leader, these are the necessary traits your business needs. A well-trained, flexible, and knowledgeable workforce is crucial to long-term success for your organization.


Retention is essential now more than ever, as finding well-qualified staff is becoming more difficult. When you invest in the development of your team, they are more likely to stay with the company for longer. That’s because they feel valued, they are being challenged, and they are learning new skills.

Show That You Value Your Staff

Did you know that nearly three-quarters of employees feel that they can’t reach their full potential because they aren’t given enough opportunities for development? Not investing in the growth of your staff can make them feel unappreciated and frustrated that their careers aren’t moving forward. This can be especially difficult with the recent increase in staff working remotely, as they can quickly become even more disconnected from your company.

Increase Productivity

When people are aware of the latest developments in their industry, they are more able to come up with new initiatives to outperform your competitors. Attending training can inspire and motivate staff, increasing productivity in the workplace. If you start investing in employee development, you just might notice your productivity and organizational outcomes increase dramatically.

Attract Quality Candidates

One of the crucial things that job candidates look for is businesses that support the development of their staff. If you are struggling to find enough high-quality candidates for your available positions, prioritizing the growth of your current team may help. Not only do those people improve and increase their skills, but potential applicants may be more likely to apply for your roles.

Turn Good Staff into Fantastic Leaders

If you have ever wished that you had more staff that you could promote into top-level positions, it’s time to do something about it. Offer more staff training on leadership techniques and other skills required of your leaders, such as problem-solving, emotional intelligence, persuasion, and more. By offering your staff the chance to improve, you can create a pipeline of talented employees who are ready to be promoted.

Employee Development Initiatives

If you want to begin some employee development initiatives, here are a few ideas of what you could start doing to get this underway.

Give Your Managers the Tools to Become Coaches

Do the managers in your organization micromanage, or do they help their staff solve problems for themselves? Teaching managers to act as coaches for their teams is a great way to not only develop your managers, but this will help the employees to grow as well. Managers who are having intentional coaching conversations with their staff will be more keyed into how their teams are feeling, and the employees will feel more supported.

Prioritize Soft Skills

Soft skills are often not prioritized in the workplace. Emotional and interpersonal skills are crucial elements of working collaboratively, becoming a good leader, and working well with others. Soft skills are useful in every department of your company, from upper management to the lowest level employees. So, soft-skills training is a great way to start your employee development program. Implement training for emotional intelligence, communication, and relational skills.

Encourage Collaboration

Do some departments have skills that would be useful to other groups? It’s a great idea to let your departments teach each other skills that are useful across different areas of your business. This will increase the abilities of all involved as the ones teaching will learn to communicate better and explain concepts, while the learners can gain knowledge and learn new skills.

If you want your company to be able to keep up with the rapid changes occurring in 2021, you need to prioritize employee development. That way, you will future-proof your workforce with the skills that they will require in order to problem-solve, innovate, and keep up with demands. Whatever the future throws at your workforce, with the right training, they will not only be able to cope but thrive as well.



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