Category Archives: OIT

Professional Development as a Tool to Connect With and Retain Your Employees

Professional development, when properly utilized, helps organizations attract and retain top talent, increase employee engagement and satisfaction, and boost innovation within the team.  When a manager supports and encourages professional development, employees are more likely to translate their knowledge into team success.

What can you do to ensure your employees are growing in the ways that support your team’s goals?

1. Make professional development part of your regular conversations

manageManagers should include professional development as part of their regular goal setting conversations to ensure any gaps in hard (the “what” they do) or soft skills (“how” they do it) are identified and managed before they become an issue.   Asking the employee to look for ways to close the gap (through workshops, readings, job shadowing, cross functional teams, etc..) encourages employee ownership of the learning.  Additionally assessing a team’s needs and having the team identify ways to fill the gap encourages employees supporting each other toward success.

2. Create opportunities for your employees to share and learn from others

team5People enjoy learning from others. Finding ways to allow those with expertise share their knowledge or skill with others fosters collaborative environments and strong connections. This can be as simple as bringing the team together to hear what a team member learned in a workshop or conference session or to discuss a book they just read.

3. Share your own experiences about your professional growth

team4Help your team understand how you got to your current role and where you hope to be in the future. Your team will learn that you value growth and development and, if you are candid, will be more likely to discuss their own concerns and take advantage of opportunities to get better.

Regular conversations about personal goals and professional development shows your employees that you care, that you support them, and that you encourage their personal success.

Professional Development resources available at SMU:

HR Professional Development Workshops: open to all employees, free of charge

HR Manager Lunch and Learn Series:  pop up sessions on topics that matter in the moment

SMU Manager Orientation Program:  open to all newly hired, current, and aspiring managers; also free of charge

Total Orientation Process for New Employees:  supporting new employees during their probationary period of employment

Tuition Benefits Program: available for regular benefits-eligible employees, their spouse, and dependents

IT Training:  open to all employees, free of charge  online learning offered via SMU OIT and available for all employees

SMU Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE):  offering an SMU employee discount.  Call or email for specifics.

SMU Cox Executive Education Professional Development: Friends and Family Discount of 50% off all Programs for Individuals, including  the Summer Business Institute.

SMU Resources for Developing Your Employees

Guest post by Laurene Klassen, Manager, IT Training and Communications

gallupWe hear often about the research that the Gallup organization conducts on employee engagement and if you’ve attended training offered by the Department of Human Resources, you’ve most likely heard about the “Q12”, or the 12 questions developed by Gallup that can help determine the level of an employee engagement.   However, did you know that the number one reason employees leave their job is the lack of a relationship with their supervisor?  One of the 12 questions is “Is there someone at work who encourages my development?”.

growAs managers it’s our responsibility to develop our employees. Taking an active role in developing an employee’s skillset can not only demonstrate confidence in building a  team but it can greatly impact the people you’re working with by showing genuine concern for their development.

What resources are available to assist employees who may fall short of the skillset that they need or are looking to go to the next level?

Begin with a goal setting conversation

As we enter the annual performance review season HR has made many resources available to managers, including the Target and Gaps grid tools. These are great resources to engage your employee and evaluate current circumstances. Once you’ve identified additional skills for development it’s time to arm your employees with the resources they need to be successful in their roles and to develop themselves.

Provide readily available resources

How frustrating would it be to learn that you had to show up at a specific place but not be told how to navigate there? When you’re looking to coach your employee in their development provide clear direction and communication not only of what you need from them but resources on how to get there.   HR regularly offers a variety of  Professional Development Workshops and Customized Learning Experiences for your team and/or employees.  Did you know that OIT offers many resources as well?

Technical Training sessions
 are regularly offered by OIT. These are often essential tools for getting your employee up and running with the latest technology; especially new employees.

SMU has also purchased a campus license for Managers can assign self-paced training for their team members on a wide variety of topics.

This can be customized to assign specific topics or entire courses. With over 3,700 courses at your fingertips don’t miss out on this opportunity to utilize this valuable resource for your team. Below are a few examples of training, visit smu.eduedu/lynda to log in.

Avoid Scrap Learning

Scrap learning is learning that is delivered but not applied back on the job.  So how do we avoid it?  Though a manager may provide time for training, getting the employee to take the leap in changing behaviors or applying a new skillset to the job may be challenging. Studies have shown that when managers follow up with their employees on learning received and assist them with practical application, the chance for scrap learning is greatly reduced.

Want to learn more about OIT Training resources – both training opportunities and tutorial based learning?


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