This is the fifth article in the series A CEO’s Guide to Long-Term Employees.

You’ve probably heard Malcolm Gladwell’s estimate that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery over a subject or skill. Since he proposed this theory, others have pushed back with much lower estimates of their own. Whatever the time required, it’s safe to say that improving upon your skills will take considerable commitment and effort. 

The good news is that top employees are eager to grow, so they’re ready to invest the time. The bad news? Companies without structured employee development programs lose their best employees to the companies that do.

From a CEO’s perspective, employee development and growth is essential to creating long-term employees. We’ve always seen employee development from two angles: developing soft skills (such as communication, team work, etc.) and training for job competencies (such as industry learning, certifications, etc.). Both are essential for developing well-rounded employees who contribute fully to the success of the team.

Over the years, Officeheads has encouraged and budgeted for both types of employee growth. It started more casually, with team members devising their personal development plan for the year ahead and working with their manager to implement what they’ve learned.

But this past year, Officeheads introduced a new approach, and we’ve been working closely with Bill Simmons and Kai Bailey from Thrive Business Strategies to get started. Kai encouraged a more coordinated development program because “motivated and eager people are motivated and eager employees. Spend your time and financial investment on individuals looking to make a difference as much through their efforts and your commitment to them! Officeheads offers their people an opportunity to grow and develop as part of their culture. They set aside training time as part of the expectations of being productive. They are focused on embedding development into their culture through intentional efforts to collaborate and grow.”

That’s why Officeheads has created an in-house Learning Library where we record standard training videos and answers to common questions. Having a comprehensive development program helps us to better lead team members through specific growth modules, as a team. And since we use Microsoft Teams to keep our all-virtual team connected, we use its Viva Learning and LinkedIn Learning platforms as the cornerstone for our development program. Teams is a centralized learning hub that allows us to integrate learning and skill-building across all team members. It has more than 17,000 video classes available on countless topics! We’ve identified core skills to develop together as a team, and each employee finds a favorite course on the topic to share for discussion. Every team member is helping to formulate the training for the whole office, which gives each one a sense of ownership. It’s been great for team cohesion!

Some business leaders argue that investing in employee development is a gamble because employees could take their newfound skills—that you paid for—elsewhere (like to your competition). But valuing growth and development is a good investment for several reasons. 

First, training and development is good for the people your company comes into contact with. When your company values its employees, they know it. It becomes part of your corporate culture to value people. And that produces a corporate environment that values anyone your work touches—the clients, vendors, and customers. 

Second, training and development are good for the people your company employs. The investment you make ensures that anyone who works for you will become a better employee and a better human. Your company is leaving a mark on humanity—make sure it’s a good one!

Bill from Thrive affirms:

“You cannot control if your employees are with you and being productive forever. You can control whether they have access to the knowledge, tools and resources to be their best for every day they are part of your company culture.”

Employee development is vital for healthy long-term employees. If your company doesn’t have a standard development and training program, 2022 is your year! It will make a difference in your company’s growth and impact your company’s ability to reach its goals. If you are looking for innovative ways to grow your financial stability, our team can help! We are ready to help you make 2022 your best year yet with employees who stick around and make your company all it can be.