Julie Tucker
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The Importance of self-development in the workplace

An increasing number of employers are realising the importance of self-development in the workplace. Not only does it benefit individual employees, but this in turn helps the company as a whole to reach its goals.

For an organisation to operate efficiently, each employee should have a clear insight into their own role. Having a vision of their personal development path and receiving support from an understanding line manager means their needs will be addressed more effectively.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has revealed 15% of UK businesses are planning to increase opportunities for self-development in the workplace, while more than half have already reserved around 10% of their training budget to this end.

Why develop your skills within the workplace?

It’s no surprise that businesses are focusing more on self-development when you consider the benefits it produces. It continually improves employee performance and skills, creating an upwardly mobile workforce. This means managers will be able to promote people from within the company more often.

A Gallup poll found 70% of UK employees had felt disengaged at work at some point. The main reason was a lack of recognition and feeling undervalued. Overall, companies promote only 9% of employees into new roles, usually taking on new hires.

Setting achievable goals for the workforce increases their skills and interest and builds their confidence. This maximises employee value, as their skills are continually being updated, which enables your organisation to promote more from within. Self-development isn’t just beneficial for employers, it helps everyone.

Why is employee job satisfaction important?

Improving self-development in the workplace enhances job satisfaction. If they feel happy, with high job satisfaction, they will be more productive and will stay longer with the company.

Research has shown businesses with satisfied and engaged employees have a 50% higher success rate on average when it comes to achieving productivity goals. Employees are generally less stressed and will take fewer days’ sick leave. This saves your company money.

You can also save time and money with a lower employee turnover, as it will reduce the need to hire and train new staff when people leave. When people work alongside the same co-workers for a long time, good relationships are built, further increasing job satisfaction and office morale.

Research by learning platform Good Habitz shows 65% of UK employees believe a lack of personal development is a massive hurdle in the workplace and a valid reason to look for a new job. Two-thirds of workers have actually left a job for this reason, according to a Total Jobs’ study.

This figure is consistent right across Europe, with 70% of existing employees saying they would be much happier in their current job if they had more opportunities for growth.

What resources can you use?

Everyone learns differently, so you’ll be able to take the opportunity to find something that works for you. This can include training sessions, videos, webinars, reading, tasks, exams, mentoring and any other means at your disposal.

There’s no “one size fits all” and what works for one person may not work for another. When you’re setting self-development goals for your team, they must be aligned with the needs of your organisation and the role each member plays within it.

Holding staff appraisal meetings is a great way to set self-development goals. The manager and employee can combine their insight to determine what this needs to look like.

As an employee, you can use a personal development plan to record your goals, needs, actions and progress. A PDP plays a crucial role in the appraisals process by charting your progress and updating your goals as each new target is met.

Activities for self-development will depend, in part, on your company’s budget and the time available. They can be diverse and cover any type of personal development. Formal learning, including external training courses to attain new qualifications, are one option. An e-learning course is another.

Employees can undertake work-based training such as shadowing colleagues, completing special projects, or trying new duties to gain experience. Training or mentoring others is something managers should consider, while joining a professional body to network with other workers in the same field can be a great way to gain more knowledge.

When the employer introduces achievable incentives to reward the workforce on their journey, this can be an ideal way of giving activities a new meaning, while boosting morale.

Can coworking help with self-development?

Coworking spaces have gained increasing relevance as an alternative workspace that offers professionals flexible working arrangements, while also developing their career.

Being surrounded by fellow professionals can motivate individual coworkers, who have access to tools and resources that may be unavailable if working alone, or in a traditional office.

Largely due to the flexible working hours, the coworking environment is one that’s adaptable to different working practices and styles. This can help employees on their own personal development journey.

Coworking spaces also offer a sense of community and support that can reduce stress and improve job satisfaction and productivity.

Research shows the market is continuing to grow, with coworking space London-wide being a particular hub of activity. There are currently more than 1,400 coworking spaces operating in the capital, with an annual growth rate of nearly 10% estimated by some studies.

Looking for a flexible workspace?

Businesses seeking a flexible workspace to better suit their requirements for company and employee development may consider Headspace Group’s coworking space in Farringdon.

Glass walls offer privacy without isolation, while six meeting rooms are ideal for management meetings, training, appraisals, interviews and corporate events.

Never underestimate the importance of self-development in the workplace when it comes to employee satisfaction and engagement. The goals should be measurable, specific, achievable, relevant and timely, ensuring both the individual and the organisation benefit.


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