Often, employers put much more time and thought into hiring than they do into developing their employees once they bring them on board. This can be an expensive mistake. Replacing employees takes considerably more time and money than retaining them does. Investing in development can pay dividends in retention, productivity and employee engagement.

Start at the beginning. When you first hire, think of the long term, not just solving your immediate problems. Work with your new employee to draft a long-range career path for them. Training and development is vital, but they must have an opportunity to use what they have learned within your company or they will go elsewhere.

Identify potential. People don’t always think long range or even realize that their talents are unique. Offer skills assessments and make cross-training a priority to uncover hidden talents that you and the employee can work together to develop.

Look for goal alignment. Discuss with each employee what their long- and short-term goals are. Focus on professional goals you can help them achieve and that mesh with what you want to accomplish. Build training around what will benefit the both of you.

Focus on engagement. Development programs and trainings demonstrate to employees that you value them as individuals. Employees who are engaged are more likely to be happy in their jobs and stay with your company. An investment in the future of your employees is an investment in your business.

Invest In continuous training. Consider ongoing training programs, mentorships and tuition reimbursement. It demonstrates that you value your employee’s contributions and consider them part of the company’s future.

Boost productivity. Development and engagement leads to increased job satisfaction. This keeps people motivated and increases daily productivity. Keep people motivated and they will achieve more and be happier.

Get manager buy-in. Be sure that your front-line managers are on the same page as you are. They are the ones who will implement your development plans on an ongoing basis. If they feel that trainings are a waste of time, employees will not feel comfortable taking the time.

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