Having a talented roster of people to help your company grow is vital to your success as a business. But keeping these star players on your team depends on your willingness and ability to help them grow both professionally and personally.

This is especially the case for millennials—the fastest-growing generation in the workforce. Despite their reputation for job hopping, nearly 90 percent of millennials say they want to grow their careers within their current companies, according to a study conducted for Bridge, an employee development software company.

They’re also more loyal to companies that provide those opportunities. Up to 86 percent of millennials surveyed said that receiving more career training and development would keep them from leaving their current position.

In the day-to-day craze of running your business, it can be hard to find the time and resources to give employees the guidance and mentoring they need. But here are some easy ways to invest in their growth and create a culture of advancement.

Play to employees’ strengths

Pay attention to the tasks or projects that excite or challenge employees the most and create more opportunities for them to explore those passions. Got an administrative assistant with a flair for party planning or a salesperson with a knack for public speaking? Find ways to utilize their talents or help them develop a particular specialty.

Respect their expertise (and don’t micromanage)

Got a great team in place? Resist the urge to micromanage. Give employees the freedom to manage their own workload and make the best decisions for their department. Delegate more responsibility to top performers and trust their judgment. Take their concerns seriously and keep them in the loop when issues arise so they can understand the bigger picture.

Give constructive feedback

Be proactive about giving employees the direction and input they need to improve their job performance or take it up a notch. Meeting with employees weekly can bolster engagement and morale, especially among millennial workers who crave frequent check-ins and feedback. 

Make time for training

Encourage employees to expand their knowledge through participation in workshops, webinars, conferences, memberships in professional organizations, or even returning to school for a graduate degree. Sponsor as many of these opportunities as possible and give employees time off to attend them. Paying for professional development courses that teach new skills or build on current expertise gives your best and brightest an incentive to stay. And it doesn’t have to be as expensive as it sounds. As an XMI client, you have access to e-learning modules through our robust human resources information system.

Celebrate their accomplishments

Take time to acknowledge and praise employees after they work overtime to complete a big project or land a new client for the business. A simple thank you goes a long way. People who feel appreciated are more likely to go above and beyond to help your business succeed. Watching you sing their peers’ praises can also motivate other employees to set their own goals to achieve.

If it’s not your career ladder the employee ends up climbing, don’t sweat it. Treat their exit like a graduation and be proud that the experience they gained with you helped prepare them for their next role.

The best part about creating a culture of continuous learning and growth for employees? When it comes time to fill new positions in your company, you won’t have to worry about recruiting the talent you need because you’ll be able to find it among your own staff.


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