Organizational Wellness

6 Ways to Foster Employee Growth at Your Organization

Apr 23, 2024
Last Updated May 13, 2024

Your employees are the beating heart of your organization. They drive all of your results, and make your company everything it is. Your company wouldn’t be as strong without them, so — naturally — you want to retain them. 

Professional development is a powerful retention tool that’s often overlooked. In fact, a full one in four U.S. employees are considering quitting in the next six months because of insufficient growth opportunities. 

To keep your valuable team members and attract new ones, employee growth should be a top priority. Enhance your approach to talent management by giving your workforce opportunities to grow.

Here’s how you can support their growth, and ways you can help them take full advantage of your offerings.


What Is Employee Growth?

Employee growth is the professional development of an individual staffer. It encompasses various aspects of someone's career progression, including acquiring new skills and moving up the hierarchy. This type of progression is essential for both the individual and the organization, as it can lead to increased long-term success. Key elements include:

  • Skill Development: Employees may engage in training or educational opportunities to acquire new skills or improve existing ones. These skills can be both job-specific and transferable, enhancing their overall competency.
  • Career Advancement: This involves promotions and the opportunity to take on more challenging roles with increased responsibilities. Advancement may include moving from an entry-level position to a management role.
  • Mentorship: Many organizations provide coaching programs to help employees navigate their careers. Experienced team members or managers often serve as mentors, offering guidance and support.
  • Performance Feedback: Understanding strengths and areas for improvement helps individuals develop their skills and competencies.
  • Goal Setting: Setting clear and achievable career goals is a fundamental part of employee growth. Employees and their supervisors often work together to establish these goals and track progress.
  • Job Rotation: Some organizations offer programs that allow workers to gain experience from various departments or roles within the company. This broadens their skill set and perspective.
  • Continuous Learning: Encouraging a culture of self-improvement is essential for employee growth. This can include providing opportunities for your team members to attend conferences or pursue advanced degrees.
  • Work-Life Wellness: Burnout and excessive stress can hinder an individual's ability to develop and advance in their career. Consider providing benefits that support everyone’s holistic wellbeing — like wellness programs — to keep everyone fresh and engaged.

Why Is Employee Growth Important?

Building a development-minded workforce has the power to benefit your business in more ways than one. One way is in recruitment. Sixty-eight percent of employees consider employer-provided upskilling opportunities important when considering a new job, according to Gallup. Another way is to meet employee expectations. Right now, 55% of employees say they need more training to improve in their current role, as reported by SHRM

Prioritizing growth in your workforce can lead to:

Heightened Productivity

A focus on growth can increase productivity. Engagement also spikes when productivity improves. That helps to combat the dip in productivity that’s costing the U.S. nearly eight trillion dollars. How does development boost productivity? One way is by giving employees confidence in their knowledge. That then helps individuals feel ready to take on their tasks and to do so quickly and effectively. 

Better Employee Retention

Over three million people quit their jobs in the first month of 2024, and one cause is a lack of growth opportunitiesEmployee turnover can easily cost your company twice the salary of the person who left. Beyond the financial implications, losing a worker also costs you knowledge and morale. That’s why 93% of organizations see increased employee turnover as a cause for concern. 

However, when your team members believe you’re putting efforts into their growth, it can actively combat turnover. For example, researchers found that companies whose employees feel like they’re given training opportunities have less turnover. Essentially, workers want to grow professionally — and giving them those opportunities can help keep people at your company. 

On top of that, development improves job satisfaction. People who feel like they can learn new skills and climb the corporate ladder are more likely to want to stay at your organization. 

Improved Talent Acquisition

Hiring can almost always feel like a challenge these days. However, offering growth opportunities is a way to attract great people to your company. Among employees between the ages of 18 and 34, 35% consider career development opportunities when deciding on a job offer. While it’s certainly not the only factor, it is one that matters to your potential candidates. Actively advertising these opportunities could be helpful when you’re looking for great talent. 

Enhanced Company Culture

Company culture and employee advancement are closely tied. Boosting your focus on employee development creates a culture of autonomy and growth. A culture that prioritizes growth can likewise inspire your workforce to push themselves to develop their skills. 

Superior Organizational Development

Cultivating a skilled and adaptable workforce directly contributes to improved performance. Simply put, people with training opportunities often perform better on the job. When that extends across your company, you’re also supporting organizational development across the board. 

Increased Profit

The benefits identified above all feed into a single, primary advantage: the ability to generate more revenue. Investing in employee growth opportunities results in increased profits. In fact, researchers found that implementing soft-skill training for a year at one company produced a 250% return on investment within only eight months. Upskilling is also estimated to improve the global GDP by as much as $6.5 trillion by 2030 — all because companies will be making more by implementing these programs. 

How to Support Employee Growth

When it comes to worker development, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, consider reviewing various strategies, and create your own employee growth plan that meets both needs of your team and business. 

Implement Mentorship Programs

Over 70% of Fortune 500 companies offer mentorship programs, according to Harvard Business Review. There’s a reason for that: these arrangements allow individuals to learn more and build connections. Mentorships pair experienced employees with those seeking guidance. This allows individuals within your organization to share their valuable skills, along with insightful career advice. 

Promote Continuous Learning

Encourage a culture of ongoing learning by providing easy access to advanced education and other resources. Workshops and online courses can help fill gaps in skill sets. Tuition reimbursement can also support professional development while clearly demonstrating your commitment to your workforce. 

Create a Feedback Culture

Establish an environment where constructive feedback is valued. Consider scheduling regular performance reviews. You can aim to train managers to give feedback effectively and in a way that is respectful and solution-oriented. At the same time, don’t restrict opportunities to subordinates — encourage positive peer-to-peer feedback, so everyone benefits from identifying areas for improvement.

Focus on Cross-Functional Collaboration

Much like mentorship programs, collaboration across teams and departments exposes employees to different skills. This fosters a broader understanding of the business for workers who might otherwise not have such an opportunity. Improved adaptability and increased access to new ideas and resources are key advantages associated with cross-functionality, according to Deloitte

Support Career Path Planning

Not every employee knows exactly where they want to end up within your organization. Consider providing resources and guidance to help them map out their career paths — this clarity makes it easier for individuals to align their development with the company’s objectives. Creating an employee growth plan template can further simplify this process.

Recognize and Reward Achievements

Recognition boosts morale and motivates individuals to strive for excellence, contributing to their ongoing development. Employee performance rewards and other forms of recognition can reduce the risk of employee burnout by as much as 90%. Try finding opportunities to acknowledge team members for their accomplishments. You might give shout-outs in meetings or even hold awards ceremonies for improvement. 

Facilitate Work-Life Wellness

For 93% of employees, their wellbeing is as important as their salary. In fact, nine out of 10 workers won’t even consider working for companies that don’t emphasize the importance of employee wellbeing. Consider offering flexible working arrangements that help support wellness, as well as wellness programs that give them the tools to take care of themselves. This gives team members a solid foundation on which to build personal development.

Invest in Leadership Development

Leadership training produces more than just future managers. Those who participate in these courses come out more prepared for future growth. Trainees see a 25% increase in their learning capacity, according to research featured in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Keep future leaders in mind, and consider providing training opportunities for workers at every level. 

Encourage Networking and Professional Association Participation

Industry conferences and networking events bring together growth-minded individuals from related fields. Attendees have the opportunity to learn from one another — exchanging ideas and expanding their professional networks. This is a prime opportunity for individual and career growth, according to the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Business Analytics

Consider how you could fund these opportunities for your teammates. You might create a development program that pays for individuals to attend a professional conference every few years. 

Highlight Management’s Role

Leaders should be willing to actively champion development initiatives. By providing resources and mentoring those who work under them, supportive management reinforces the importance of employee growth. These leaders can also be invaluable help when their proteges need advice on how best to proceed in their growth.

You might have your leadership team actively discuss the value of these growth programs. That can encourage workers to choose to participate. 

Evaluation Strategies for Employee Growth

Alright, upskilling your team is great! But you’re unlikely to see improved returns tomorrow… or even next month. The impact of professional development is best measured in the long run. 

So how can organizations be sure that their efforts are producing results? 

The best and earliest indicators will be your employees themselves. 

As your workforce experiences growth, their engagement and productivity levels are likely to rise. Along with tracking relevant HR metrics like retention and turnover, consider creating and sharing employee engagement surveys. These direct insights are probably your most direct path to gauging the effectiveness of your development initiatives. 

Do your team members feel positively about the programs? If so, it’s a safe bet that they’re making progress that will eventually turn into success for your business. You might also utilize employee quarterly reviews as a way to measure success.

Managers can also share valuable insight into how their subordinates are progressing. Consider having them evaluate and report, identifying any issues that may be hindering your plan. Development programs can then be adjusted to address these concerns. 

How to Create and Launch Employee Growth Plans

There is no standardized process for rolling out an employee growth initiative. Still, organizations that have been successful tend to follow a similar set of steps.


Step 1: Conduct a Training Needs Analysis (TNA)

A thorough TNA allows HR managers to identify those employees who are the best candidates for future growth programs, as well as analyzing potential costs and establishing training timelines. They can then work with these team members to establish specific goals and determine which skills are most valuable to develop.

Step 2: Create an Action Plan 

From there, you can translate the insights gained from the TNA into action. An action plan, following the 70/20/10 rule, allocates learning sources appropriately:

  • 70% from internal work experience

  • 20% from colleagues

  • 10% from training

This personalized approach acknowledges individual skill levels and learning capabilities. That sets the stage for effective skill development and career progression.

Step 3: Get Buy-In from Stakeholders

Recognize that there may be many different decision-makers who will need to be involved. That might include high level leadership as well as board members or your direct manager. Consider presenting TNA reports and a comprehensive development plan can help secure stakeholder support.

Step 4: Introduce the Development Program

With stakeholder approval, you can roll out the program and begin to track its effectiveness. Here are a couple of tips to consider to help make your program a success: 

A) Set aside company time for employees to participate. Instead of expecting your team to find an opportunity for development, let them use company time. This can encourage them to get involved and help them feel that you care about their growth. 

B) Communicate the benefits. Before getting started, explain exactly what each individual stands to gain from the program. Clearly communicating the perks helps people understand why they should participate. 

C) Explain how to get involved. Do you need people to enroll? Do employees need to sign up to get a mentor? Consider how your program is set up and if there’s a need for planning in advance. If there is, try to make sure everyone knows how to sign up.

Step 5: Establish Regular Check-Ins

Because so much of the success of the development program hinges on employee input, you may want to schedule times to meet with your people to discuss how everything is going. Check-ins, conducted weekly or monthly, serve as a platform to review progress and organize insights.

Step 6: Measure and Optimize

Armed with the right metrics and supported by employee feedback, you can evaluate the overall success of your development program. Course correct as needed to ensure that the employee growth journey you’ve established remains on track. 

Employee Growth as a Catalyst for Organizational Growth

Top-quality employees are a resource that no company wants to lose. Don’t risk it! Eighty-nine percent of workers identify professional development as an important aspect of work engagement. These types of programs aren’t the only way to improve your productivity and retention

Focusing on wellness also boosts those key metrics. In fact, 95% of workers say their emotional wellness impacts their productivity, according to Wellhub research. That means when you take the time to support your people, it’s also an investment into better work and higher outputs. 

To learn more about what you can do to improve employee wellness, talk to a Wellbeing Specialist today! 

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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