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Continuous Development – The Path to Employee Engagement & Retention

Developing your Company Culture: 4 Key Principles 

Join us for a 4-part series that explores developing your company culture and taking your organization to the next level.

  1. A Culture of Impactful Leadership
  2. Continuous Development – The Path to Employee Engagement & Retention
  3. 5 Simple Steps to Foster Inclusion & Diversity
  4. 6 Secrets to Purposeful Collaboration & Equitable Experiences – Coming soon!

Part 2: Continuous Development – The Path to Employee Engagement & Retention

At HealthEdge, our vision is innovating a world where healthcare can focus on people. With this vision in mind, we hire the best and brightest from around the world – as our ability to achieve this vision hinges on our employees’ skills, creativity, capabilities, and leadership from within.

Continuous development is becoming a critical pillar of our company culture – as keeping and engaging top talent requires an intentional approach to their short- and long-term development.

Since “development” can mean different things, these are our top 4 continuous development tenets:

  1. Embrace the uniqueness of your team members

As a manager, you have the great responsibility and wonderful opportunity to lead and develop a group of individuals. You get to engage your employees in their current role, help them grow their skills, build the bridge to their next role, and develop the framework for the trajectory of their career.

The key is to get to know your people for who they really are – their unique interests, strengths, and ambitions. How does this role, that’s so vital to your team, fit into their career? How can you help them develop and prepare to be ready for that next step?

Good questions to consider and discuss include:

  • What are their career goals?
  • In what ways do they need to grow and develop to achieve that next career goal?
  • How can you help them achieve their career goals?
  • What skills do they need for the future?
  • What are creative ways to help them achieve those skills?
  1. Understand the Many Facets of Development

When we talk about development, many often think only of attending formal training. Training can be a relevant component of learning – however, it’s only a small part of how we learn and master a new skill. Research (link) shows that learning takes place by doing, trying, and experiencing. It means working on new projects, interacting with new people, and experiencing new things.  All of this can be done “in the flow of work”, meaning deliberate learning can take place while someone is working in today’s role.  This keeps employees engaged and more likely to stay because they are continuously developing new skills.

Facilitate your team members to:

  • Attend meetings at the next level above – to see the level of discussion, level of preparedness
  • Work on an assignment within a different functional group
  • Take on a stretch assignment
  • Creatively think about team members, their unique skills and who they can connect with
  • Connect with senior leaders and facilitate mentoring opportunities
  • Get more exposure – such as speaking opportunities and interactive panels. This is especially helpful for emerging leaders.
  1. Leverage Hybrid Work

The rise of flexible and hybrid work environments has led to fewer spontaneous hallway chats, chatter around the watercooler, and opportunities to have those unexpected run-ins with folks from different departments. In this new flexible world, employees often work exclusively with their functional team and only see folks around Zoom meetings.

With the importance of creating opportunities for your employees to grow and learn, how can we do this in a hybrid environment?

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Be purposeful & bring people together when it makes sense – for in-person team meetings or 1/1s, to brainstorm or workshop a topic, to celebrate, socialize, and/or participate in fun or team building activities
  • Encourage and empower your team members to come together in the office and create norms that help the team feel engaged and productive
  • Create networking opportunities for your team – invite folks from other teams, departments, and levels (both in person and virtually)
  1. Change your Mindset to Our Talent to Enhance Engagement, Retention, & Company Performance

Employees join a company to perform a specific role, and it’s common for managers to think about them as my person, my talent, who adds so much value to my team, what would I do without them?

However, when we shift our mindset to being enterprise- and employee-centric, we bring a host of value to the employees, company, and company culture. Each employee represents not only the value they bring to their current role, but the time, energy, and expense of finding, training, and folding them into the company. Retaining employees reduces waste, cost, time, and energy.

When we focus on this enterprise- and employee-centric mentality, our company culture is strengthened. With this outlook, we help employees navigate the organization, grow and expand, and continuously develop so they remain constantly engaged and challenged at the company.

Investment in employee development is priceless.

Learn more about continuous development & life at HealthEdge here.

About the Author

Heather Bender brings over 25 years experience to HealthEdge. She joins us from iRobot, where she served as Vice President of Talent. In that role, she was responsible for leading the efforts to elevate and renew the company’s talent strategies and culture as iRobot transformed to a consumer technology company. Heather was responsible for the global HR Business Partner teams, Talent Management, Organizational Development, Learning and Development and Diversity & Inclusion programs. Prior to iRobot, Heather held HR Business Partner roles at Nokia, working the transition of the mobile phone business to Microsoft, and then moved to HERE Technologies, a privately-held location services software business spun out by Nokia. At HERE she led the global HR Business Partner organization, ran global HR operations, and assisted with building out a new set of learning, leadership and talent programs. Heather lives in Hollis, NH, with her husband, Andrew and three children. With two in college, they are moving towards being empty nesters and travel as much as possible.

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