In a recent article, I talked about the importance of business leaders investing in personal development for themselves. Well, everything I said in that article applies to your employees as well. After all, if personal development helps you improve as a leader, what do you think it will do for the people who work for you?

Many companies do offer some sort of self-development program, but there are just as many that are passive about it. Whether they think they would be priming their employees to leave for a competitor or they think it's too much of an investment, companies that do not invest in employee development are going to feel it in their bottom line.

Here are a couple of reasons why companies can't be passive about employee development and why they should invest in creating the best programs they can.

It helps you retain employees.

Creating and implementing employee development programs may cost money, but they can actually save you money too.

According data from Chronus, 79 percent of HR professionals worldwide feel they have a major engagement and retention problem. We'll focus on engagement in a bit, but for now let's stick to retention.

That same report found that 91 percent of millennials plan on leaving their jobs in less than three years. This is nothing new and I've written about it before, but what Chronus found was that a big reason they leave is that they feel there is a lack of growth and opportunity within the company they work for.

It's not just millennials either. In 2016, The Chicago Tribune reported that lack of career opportunity was the number one reason any employee leaves. This was a totally different reason than people were giving a few years prior which was a lack of money.

So, you want to retain employees? And you want to ensure those millennials don't leave? Then start investing in their development. The programs are literally engineered for growth and to help people reach their fullest potential.

It helps engage your employees so they actually work.

Back in February, Gallup released their latest State of the American Workplace report. To practically no one's shock and surprise, they found that 70 percent of American workers are disengaged at work. In other words, employees are checking out and when they check out they don't produce to their fullest potential.

One way to make sure they check back in and increase productivity is to offer career development as an employee perk. You can't just hang up a flyer or assume middle management can squeeze it into a meeting either. In fact, if they are checked out the organization may have to do some more effort on their part to get people involved.

This could look like formal coaching and mentoring which used to be more common in the corporate world. According to a report from The Miami Herald, employees who have formal mentoring earn more money, get promoted and are far more productive than those who do not.

Final Thoughts: A machine is only as good as its parts.

You can be the most charismatic leader there is, but if parts of your organization are off it will show in the numbers. For example, if you have a disengaged workforce, the output is going to suffer because your employees aren't living up to their fullest potential.

Wouldn't you rather make sure they live up to that potential so they make the organization more money? And wouldn't you rather make sure you can keep them so you don't spend millions recruiting and onboarding only to have to do it again when they leave?

The solution is clear. By offering personal development and career development opportunities everyone wins.

Published on: Aug 30, 2017