The Importance of Promoting Personal Growth in Your Employees
Some leaders believe that helping employees achieve professional growth will simultaneously help them grow in their personal lives as well. In reality, however, this is a misconception that will send the wrong message to a staff. While professional growth and personal growth are both equally crucial to encourage; it’s important to draw a clear distinction between the two. Professional growth opportunities help employees excel at their jobs, while personal growth opportunities help employees find more balance and fulfillment in their everyday lives.
When leaders and managers focus development opportunities solely on work-related growth, they fail to take into account that employees have outside-of-work interests and goals. And when employees feel that their leaders are overlooking their personal lives, morale, engagement, and productivity dip while stress, resentment, and turnover spike.
Enriching the personal lives of your employees will, in turn, lead to a happier, healthier, and more productive workplace. Only striving to enrich their professional lives, on the other hand, will eventually burn them out.
Fostering Personal Growth
One of the most inspiring conversations a manager can have with employees is about their personal goals. Faces will light up as workers talk about their dreams and aspirations, and the kick of energy from this chat alone will motivate them to work hard.
Now, imagine if leaders took it a step further by helping employees achieve these goals.
When chatting with one of my employees, I learned that he has a passion for photography. His day-to-day job had nothing to do with taking photos, but he loved to do it in his spare time. After learning about his personal passion, my company decided to invest in photo equipment for him, and now he takes all our company’s photos: product pictures, team portraits, and even snapshots of our events.
By incorporating his personal passion into his professional life, he now feels more fulfilled at work, and ultimately my company greatly benefits from his enhanced enthusiasm.
Turn Personal Growth Into Professional Action
Here are three easy ways leaders can promote the personal growth of their employees:
Create an Encouraging Culture | Don’t just acknowledge the fact that your employees have personal aspirations. Go out of your way to encourage them to pursue their passions. A great way to do this is by scheduling sit-down meetings to discuss these personal interests and help them set relevant goals.
Open up the lines of communication, provide a venue for non-work-related discussions, and play an active role in goal-setting. This will set the tone with employees, show them you care about their personal interests, and illustrate that you want to play an active role in helping them live happier lives.
Check In Regularly | Don’t limit goal-setting to one conversation. Check in throughout the year to discuss and analyze the progress your employees are making. Setting a variety of both short- and long-term goals will make these occasional meetings both urgent and forward-thinking.
Regularly reviewing goals on a quarterly or semiannual basis will keep everyone on track and on the same page. It will allow for you to applaud those who are making major strides in their personal lives, and it will enable you to make necessary adjustments if someone is struggling.
Make It a Team Effort | Consider creating teamwide goals that everyone can play a role in working toward. When personal growth becomes a teamwide initiative, everyone will get involved and cheer one another on.
I’ve found that my team really loves to focus on self-improvement, living healthier lifestyles, attending extracurricular classes to boost their knowledge, and reading books. With that in mind, we decided to enhance our wellness benefits. We now pay for gym memberships, we’re investing in an in-house gym facility, and we also created a “biggest loser” contest in which, believe it or not, our team lost more than 400 pounds in combined weight.
Regardless of what your team members value in their personal lives, it will be beautiful to watch them work in harmony toward a common goal.
If you go above and beyond to encourage personal growth and help your team achieve its goals, employees will notice your dedication. You’ll create a happier, healthier, more productive work environment and company culture which will have an undeniable impact on your bottom line.