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5 ways to support growth and development in the workplace

Think it's only a trend? Think again.

When it’s time to hire for a position within your workplace, it’s common to look for an employee who meets the skill, education and experience requirements — not to mention someone who works hard.

Let's say you have an internal candidate who is applying for a higher role on your team than they have currently. You know them, their work ethic, their talent and ability to mesh with the team and company culture. All in all, they have what it takes, but maybe they are lacking a few requirements or training needed for the role. What's your move to help this employee reach success in their new and challenging role?

It's simple: work in tandem with this employee to develop a personalized growth and development plan that will help them reach skill and training requirements for this position, instead of taking the risk of hiring someone completely new and taking the time to train them from start to finish about the role, company and expectations.

When your company takes the time to work with employees 1:1 to determine their current versus desired skill sets, their strengths and weaknesses, and even what fuels their passions so they feel empowered to bring their best self to work each day — the employee is more likely to succeed and grow External Site.

What is personal growth and development?

According to the Huffington Post, personal growth and development External Site is the art of your employees finding and morphing into the person they want to become through an exploration of identity, talents, potential, as well as dreams and aspirations.

When your employees make personal growth and development a priority, they develop physically, mentally, spiritually and intellectually.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do." — Mark Twain, America's most famous writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer.

Why is personal development important in your workplace?

Personal growth and development empowers your employees to produce better results and meet their goals throughout the year. Through development opportunities within your workplace, you can expect to attract prospective employees, and keep your current employee population motivated, productive and confident.

Not to mention, by 2025, the workforce will be 75 percent millennials according to External Site. Are you identifying areas within your workplace to accommodate to this new generation of workers? We’ll give you a hint: It starts with personal growth and development opportunities. According to Gallup, 87 percent of millennials cited access to professional development or career growth External Site as an opportunity as being very important wherever they stay or go.

What can you do to encourage personal growth and development in the workplace?

There are a number of ways your workplace can integrate personal growth and development opportunities for your employees. The key to remember? This is an employee's journey — not your company's.

  1. Create growth plans.

    At the start of the new year, or when an employer begins working with your organization, collaborate with this employee to create a unique personal growth and development plan applicable to their position. This includes starting from scratch and allowing the employee to identify areas of skill and ability, passion and energy for certain tasks and projects, and areas of improvement or valued needs of the organization. If the growth plan is not unique to the employee External Site, it will likely be unsuccessful.
  2. Think beyond formal training.

    Employee personal growth and development doesn’t need to fit into a certain box. Consider starting a book club where employees can discuss the latest trends within your industry, or provide quick learning sessions where employees teach each other certain skills or areas of passion.
  3. Provide mentor/mentee programs.

    According to a study from the American Society for Training and Development, 71 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a corporate mentorship program External Site. Plus, 75 percent of executives credit their mentors for helping them reach their current position. A mentorship program has shown to create healthier, happier and more productive workplaces.
  4. Training on developing “soft-skills.”

    When it comes to soft-skills, many of your employees (maybe even you) are lacking them, and might not even know it. According to External Site, the top-three “soft skills” your employees need include problem solving, emotional control and purpose. Executives consider these skills to foster employee retention, improve leadership and build meaningful culture. And, the good news is each of these skills can be learned by your employees.
  5. Ask your employees what they want and need.

    At the end of the day, it’s about your employees and what they need to be successful, which in turn will create a successful and thriving business. If your business' current personal growth, development, or training opportunities aren’t showing success, consider sending out a survey, or hosting a “town hall” meeting with your employees to gauge the most effective way for them to grow and develop as a person and employee.
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The importance of personal growth and development in the workplace.

94 percent of employees would stay at a company if it invested in their career.

56 percent of employees would take a suggested course by their manager.

1 reason employees feel held back from learning is because they don't have enough time.

70 percent of employees indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decisions to stay at a job.

74 percent of employees felt they weren't achieving their full potential due to a lack of development opportunities.

Sources:, LinkedInLearning

Simply providing tools and resources for growth and development is not enough to engage, intrinsically motivate nor drive employee career well-being," said Jason Bobst, retired director of employer consulting at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. "Creating the underlying culture and environment that supports ongoing professional and personal growth and development is the foundational cornerstone."

Growth and development opportunities = happier, healthier, engaged employees.

Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield is committed to creating an environment within your workplace that promotes healthy behaviors. Through our employer and well-being consulting services, we look beyond your employee’s claims and provide a variety of evidence-based programs that address the six elements of well-being.

If you are looking to gauge how well your employees view the current state of growth and development in your workplace, and where they want to see it head in the future, Wellmark has a solution. We've partnered with SALVEO Partner's to help you go deeper with employee engagement and culture with the Thriving Workplace Culture SurveyTM. With this survey, and the help of your Wellmark well-being consultant, you can:

  1. Create sustainable change
  2. Focus on the future of your organization
  3. Increase employee alignment to your organization through cultural improvement efforts

Want more information about TWCS? Visit the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit External Site and search for form number: M-2820115 to learn how your organization can bridge the engagement gap. Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative, or email us at Send Email.