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Why People Development matters to your business

There are two things that come up every single time people development gets discussed. The first is an assumption that it’s all about training courses making it potentially expensive and disruptive and not always very relevant.

Secondly, there’s a concern that developing people and encouraging them to learn new things will be great for them but not so good for you. Isn’t there a danger that you’ll upskill them and at that point, they’ll decide that they want another job?

Both of these myths suggest that there’s a real lack of understanding as to what employee and people development actually is.

What is employee development?

People development is about supporting your staff to grow their knowledge and develop their skills through learning opportunities. In business, it’s absolutely normal to carefully consider what returns you will get on an investment. You wouldn’t put money into products without considering whether there is a market. Neither would you invest in new equipment or software without looking at the impact it would have on your bottom line.

The good news is that people development can be a valuable investment for your company. Learning doesn’t have to be all about training courses that drain your budget. Soft skills are as important as formal learning. When you put a focus on employee growth what you’re actually doing is ensuring that your staff know about the trends and changes in your industry and are taking these into account as they work.

Ready for change

For a company to embrace new technologies or change direction in the market you serve is pretty normal. It’s the kind of stuff that turns up on any growth plan whether you’re a solopreneur or have hundreds of staff members.

Encouraging staff development also means that you’re more likely to promote from within. This has various benefits. It indicates that there is a career path at the company which aids staff retention. Employees feel that their efforts and loyalty are valued. They won’t assume that they have to leave if they want to grow their career. Finally, this also makes a company more attractive to potential employees and may well attract a better level of candidate.

Essentially you’re creating a situation where you have people with increased skills and dedication working towards your business goals. Let’s consider the various ways that you can help your people to increase their skills.

Employee development approaches

Training courses

From degrees to a half-day workshop, formal training is the most obvious form of people development. It’s a broad area though covering everything from in-house to paying for an employee’s qualifications. Things have changed a lot in this area in recent years. Remote training courses are now commonplace and don’t rule out ‘free’ resources such as blog posts and YouTube videos if they help your staff to stay up-to-date and inspired.


Mentoring can be a positive and beneficial process for both the mentor and the mentee. It can be particularly effective in areas such as developing confidence, knowledge transfer and succession planning.

Shadowing and secondments

Spending time finding out what other parts of the company do helps to build relationships across teams, share expertise and dispel misconceptions. This kind of job experience can be valuable in overcoming ‘working in silos’. It’s also handy for individuals who aren’t happy with their current work. It provides them with an opportunity to see how else their skills could be used without them leaving the company.

The way forward

People development suddenly sounds a lot more achievable and valuable, but be aware that it won’t be an overnight change. Here are a few more points to take on board so that you can create an environment where people really want to deliver.


Take time to develop yourself. Don’t forget to include yourself when you look at developing the people in your business. Regular mentoring can be a good way of keeping you moving forward and developing yourself.

The right opportunities

It’s essential that the development opportunities you offer are right for your employees. If they don’t appeal then they won’t be taken up. Along similar lines, give staff opportunities to use what they’ve learnt.

Ready to share

Give employees opportunities to share ideas. Learning isn’t always about a particular role if you’re building a culture where the development of people is valued. So if you’re going to encourage staff members to learn then be ready for them to put that learning into action.

Clear the FOG

Are you now considering what your company might do to develop the staff? You could jump right in or alternatively you could take a more considered approach. What type of development do your employees want and what are your business goals? Our free Clear the FOG review is a one-hour consultation followed by a written report that will help you to make informed decisions for the direction of your company. There’s no obligation to follow up and it provides an opportunity to review your pain points and how to move past them. Book your review now and prepare to clear your way forward.


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