Why employee development is essential for your organization’s success

For any organization to succeed, you must stay updated with technology and invest in employee development. It keeps the business competitive and retains top talent (your organization’s most important asset).

Investing in the team leads to growth, skilled employees, motivation, and loyalty.

After all, employees who can see that their organization is investing in them are more likely to be committed.

What is employee development?

Employee development strengthens your employees’ pre-existing knowledge and new skills to support their personal career growth and the growth of your company.

It’s about continuous learning. Employee development supports your teams in finding out their career path, whilst making valuable contributions to your company’s performance.


Why is employee development important?

A report by the social network LinkedIn shows how important employee development is for company retention. LinkedIn found that 59% of employees1 listed professional development as the top area their business should invest in to improve company culture.

Without employee development, you’re risking mass employee departures, with studies showing a lack of opportunities for growth accounting for 37.1% of employee departures2.

The benefits of a well-thought-out employee development program include:

Employee development helps improve performance, allowing your company to stay in the game with your competitors.

Staff development training can increase the capacity for learning by 25% and performance by 20%3.

Any staff development done by honing strengths and skills is always going to add more value to your team’s work.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation4 plays a big role in achieving employee growth. Considering most of us are intrinsically motivated by self-development, investing more in your people will make them feel good, engaging more in the staff development programs you provide.

Nothing stays the same long, and with any change, comes challenges too. As your workplace evolves with the times, your team needs to adapt to handle any unexpected situations.

From staff illness or injury, to computer systems crashing, employee development can help employees avoid stress, and still get on with the job at hand.

You may want to develop things like first aid skills for any unexpected illnesses or injuries. You may build simulation training around the different things your teams can expect from customers. For example, in hospitality – what happens when a customer wants to make a complaint or causes disruption to other diners.

Employee development can also look like upskilling in a specific tool, such as SQL or PPC. As you encourage employee development across all the board, you’re investing in their development but also the growth of the business.

Making it known to your employees that you care about their development is highly attractive to the new and top talent too. In a 2021 report, 45% of surveyed employees5 said they would be more likely to stay at their current jobs if they were offered more training.

The aftermath of The Great Resignation6 has seen an increasing number of workplaces looking after their employees to a higher standard, through employee development solutions. Implementing further education opportunities, internal training or mentoring programs will see your employees stick around longer.

In the financial sector, over 229,000 workers7 are without the adequate skills to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Without adequate reskilling, the Financial Services Skills Commission found that 20.8% of the UK workforce in this sector are at risk of displacement.

Their research showed that retraining was much more cost-effective than replacing employees who didn’t have the right skills for the job, creating multiple cost savings of up to £49,100 per re-skilled worker. In return, companies save money, whilst holding on to valuable company knowledge, and increase their overall company profits.

AT&T isn’t alone. Research from the MIT Sloan School of Management showed that a 12-month soft skills training program led to a roughly 250% return on investment8 within eight months. The statistics and figures really show how worthwhile a detailed development program can be.

Organizations with strong leadership demonstrate a +37% rise in revenue per employee and +9% in gross profit margin9.

59% of millennials10 find development opportunities extremely important when deciding whether or not to apply for a position. Offering employee development programs and chances for progression motivates candidates to think about the longevity of their career.

A highly engaged workforce can lead to exceptional productivity improvements – as high as 202%11.

In fact, 85% of leaders believe that employee engagement is a strategic priority.

You’ve now got a well-balanced workforce: adaptable, loyal and motivated employees, who can go on to become great leaders.

You’ve instilled skills that benefit not only them, but also help your organization succeed. Now you’re on the way to further success within your industry.

What are the most effective employee development methods?

A well thought out employee development program is a great way to enable staff development – and there are lots of ways to do it.


Task/job rotations








On-the-job training


What are the employee development areas?

Here are 7 key employee development areas of improvement:

1. Flexibility

How can the individual learn to adapt their working methods to work more collaboratively with others?

2. Communication skills

Managing difficult conversations, effective communication on projects, for example.

3. Conflict resolution

Whether internal or external conflict, this is a key skill that many need developing.

4. Leadership skills

Whether progressing to team leader to C-Suite, ensure your people are offered a wide range of leadership skills.

5. Organizational skills

This may include time management and project management.

6. Creativity skills

Give your people the space to think outside the box, whether it’s innovative, scalable solutions in the traditional sense or thinking creatively about the commercial side of your organization.

7. Stress management

Help your people to become more resilient and work through challenging times in a healthy way.

How to create a strong employee development plan

Are there any big areas of improvement? What’s hindering your company’s progress?

Identify employee skill or knowledge gaps and develop effective training solutions to meet your business needs.

Encouraging your team to think specifically about areas they want to develop will motivate and engage them into setting development solutions that are tailored to them.

This also ensures your team isn’t wasting time honing or learning skills that aren’t relevant to their roles or goals. A plan will also help them to stay accountable. You may even decide you want to add some sort of metrics that help you to measure the success.

A successful staff development program should contain multiple learning opportunities.

Think about how you can use things like:

  • E-learning
  • Gamification
  • Simulations
  • Workshops
  • Podcasts

Your team is constantly changing, evolving and progressing, so your employee development and training should too.

As your employees progress, you shouldn’t be afraid to adapt solutions and goals.

This is important in human resource management (HRM). HR leaders can assist their employees advance in their learning by incorporating the suggestions straight from the source. Not only will this mean they can be quicker to mastery, but they’ll feel listened to, and in turn, feel like a valued member of your company.

Employee development in action

Mentorship opportunities offer insight and valuable knowledge that can’t always be taught through traditional training seminars. There may be some members of your team that find they learn better when they have a trusted person to go for advice and support as they navigate a new situation.

For your team members that like to learn through observation, shadowing is a great way for them to develop their skills and confidence.

If you combine this with a mentorship scheme, observation can quickly lead to supported practical application.

Learning from others is important. Lunch-and-learns are just one way for others to pass on their internal company knowledge and any other valuable insights.

Blending learning and socializing makes learning friendly and informal, collaborative and fun. Your team might not even be aware they’re doing it.

You’re allowing your workforce to develop more than one type of skill at the same time, especially for those who struggle with public speaking. Lunch-and-learns provide a safe space for your employees to speak freely, boosting their motivation and self-esteem.

Appropriate training should last beyond onboarding. In the case of so many roles, they adapt and change over time. As do the people within the roles.

That’s why creating the chance for employees to grow should be offered throughout their careers.

This is often where employee enablement comes in. Offering your employees everything they need to succeed in their roles will not only keep them aligned with company values, but maintain engagement and productivity.

Allowing your team to test out different areas and job roles in your company is a great way for them to find the path that they truly enjoy. From there, you can either reskill or upskill your existing talent.

Not only are you showing that you’re a flexible employer, but they may also discover a role that they enjoy more, motivating them to perform to a higher standard, and stay engaged.

Are you ready to level up your training?


  1. The importance of employee development in the modern workplace, cultureamp.com

  2. 79 Employee Training & Development Statistics, supplygem.com/publications/employee-training-development-statistics/
  3. Intrinsic Motivation: How Internal Rewards Drive Behavior, verywellmind.com

  4. The Future of Work 2021: Global Hiring Outlook, hiring.monster.com

  5. The Great Resignation As An Opportunity For The Great Reshuffle, forbes.com

  6. Reskilling: A business case for financial services organisations, wp.financialservicesskills.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Reskilling-A-business-case-FINAL-Jan-2022.pdf
  7. Soft skills training brings substantial returns on investment, mitsloan.mit.edu

  8. High-Impact Leadership, deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ca/Documents/audit/ca-audit-abm-scotia-high-impact-leadership.pdf
  9. How Millennials Want to Work and Live, gallup.com
  10. Employee Engagement: It’s Time to Go ‘All In’, dalecarnegie.com