7 employee development ideas for greater productivity and performance

February 15, 2024 By Kit Germeroth

Employee development is all about giving your employees the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their roles. Not only does this help employees get better at their jobs and progress in their careers, but it helps employers meet their organizational goals too. From improved productivity and performance, to better talent retention and attraction, to boosted business revenue, there are lots of reasons to invest in workforce upskilling

Besides the business benefits, employee training and development is something employees want. LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report reveals that 59% of employees say investment in professional development opportunities is the number one way companies can improve company culture. So, if you want to create a happier, more effective, and more productive workforce, employee development should sit at the top of your list.

Below, we take a look at a range of employee development ideas that you can incorporate into your L&D program — for everyone’s benefit.

7 employee development ideas

1. Mentoring

Mentoring is one of the most popular employee development strategies, as it capitalizes on the knowledge and experience you already have in-house. Mentors can offer constructive feedback, help their mentee build connections within the organization, and act as accountability partners. These benefits don’t just go one way, either. Mentoring relationships help mentors and mentees develop new skills and abilities.

You could adopt a traditional mentoring approach and pair newer employees with mentors who have been at the company for a long time. Or, you could consider reverse mentoring, as the fresh perspectives of new hires often benefit seasoned staff.

2. Development plans and 1:1 sessions

If performance reviews at your organization are simply a box-ticking exercise, you’re missing a real employee development opportunity. Done well, regular 1:1 sessions can be an integral part of your employee development strategy.

You can use 1:1 sessions to create a development plan for employees and discuss:

  • Professional goals for the next quarter
  • Career goals and the skills needed to achieve them
  • The development employees need to acquire those skills

To make employees see real value in these sessions, go beyond structured goal-setting. Encourage your managers to create an open, supportive forum where employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ambitions.

3. Microlearning

It can be hard for employees to find the hours to complete long and time-consuming training courses, which are often difficult to digest. That’s why microlearning is a better option for employee development. It breaks things down into manageable, bite-sized modules, focuses on a single learning objective, and usually only lasts 3 to 7 minutes. 

Plus, microlearning is highly engaging and convenient. Not only does it help employees to learn and retain information — and then put that information into action — but employees don’t have to book out a whole day to engage with training and development. Instead, when a business implements microlearning, staff can fit it into a regular workday. 

4. Shadowing

If you’re looking for low-cost employee development strategies, you should consider role shadowing. It’s one of the most cost-effective options available. 

Shadowing involves one employee following another to learn more about what their job looks like on a daily basis. It allows employees to gain insight into another role or area of the organization, and is a great way to facilitate an internal move or to help employees work more effectively in their existing role and department.

5. Job enrichment

Job enrichment involves adding extra tasks and responsibilities to an employee’s existing role, typically to make the job more interesting and keep your employee motivated. It also helps staff develop new skills and knowledge.

Some examples of job enrichment include:

  • Giving employees more autonomy
  • Giving employees responsibility for more stages within a process
  • Giving employees more client or customer contact

Just be careful not to add extra tasks to an employee’s workload without clear benefit to their development. Employees need to be fully on board to make any job enrichment strategy successful.

6. Gamification

Gamification incorporates game-like features into workplace learning to make learning more fun and engaging. In fact, 95% of employees say they prefer a gamified work and training experience.

The key features of gamified learning are points, rewards, and healthy competition between co-workers. Leader boards and real-world prizes are a great way to engage your teams and make a success of this employee development strategy.

7. Personalized learning

From Spotify to Netflix and even to our grocery shopping app, we’re all accustomed to personalized online experiences. So, unsurprisingly, this is something your employees now expect at work too.

When looking for employee development strategies, remember that a personalized learning experience is more relevant and engaging than a one-size-fits-all approach. As a result, it’s also much more effective. To create tailored development pathways for your employees, simply base them around each employee’s chosen career path and the specific skills they need to develop for their current and future roles.

Implement these employee development ideas

Implementing the employee development ideas above is made so much easier when you have the right tech on your team. Technology can automate some of these employee development activities, giving you more time to focus on those that require empathetic, human input.

A learning management system (LMS) can support employee training and development by:

  • Making online training readily available
  • Helping to track employee progress and completion
  • Creating personalized learning pathways
  • Adding gamification and microlearning features
  • Allowing employees to provide feedback on their training

Moodle Workplace is a customizable eLearning solution that does all this and more. It makes learning more effective and efficient, while giving organizations helpful data to improve their employee training and development program going forward. You can adapt Moodle Workplace to the size, structure, and needs of your organization, and integrate it with existing software too.

Want to learn more?

Take a look at Moodle Workplace’s key features and how they can support your employee development goals.