One of the most important things you can do to nurture and retain talent is provide them with personal development opportunities. This can encompass anything from leadership training or building a new skill, to simply pursuing a passion that inspires an employee in and out of the workplace.

But personal development is not one-size-fits-all: In a Forbes article, Joe Folkman writes that most individual personal development plans fail because they’re not driven by the individual and his or her interests.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share 13 ways managers can show support for their employees’ personal development initiatives, while still giving them the autonomy they need to grow in their own way.

One of the most important things you can do to nurture and retain talent is provide them with personal development opportunities. This can encompass anything from leadership training or building a new skill, to simply pursuing a passion that inspires an employee in and out of the workplace.

But personal development is not one-size-fits-all: In a Forbes article, Joe Folkman writes that most individual personal development plans fail because they’re not driven by the individual and his or her interests.

Members of Forbes Coaches Council share 13 ways managers can show support for their employees’ personal development initiatives, while still giving them the autonomy they need to grow in their own way.

1. Create Growth Plans

At the beginning of the year or when someone begins working with the organization, do a “growth plan” with the person. Have 12 months blank and build a plan with them. It’s important to find out where they want to grow and support them. It could be reading three books in a year, learning how to hire, or shadowing someone in a different role. Failing to plan growth prevents growth. – MaryAnne GillespieRed Apple Coaching 

2. Build In ‘Growth Time’

Allow for employees to engage in personal development by allotting 10 percent of their time to personal or professional growth. The only rules: How they spend their time must be a stretch: something out of the box that has a benefit to the business, whether it’s building a skill directly linked to their role or improving their leadership abilities. – Lizabeth CzepielLizabeth Czepiel, LLC 

3. Set 90-Day Learning Goals

Encourage everyone to have a 90-day learning goal and to share what it is. On my team, we discuss our learning from the past 30 days and what we want to focus on for the next 60 to 90 days. We are committed to both individual and organizational learning. Making it safe to experiment with new ideas and report back on your learning is also a great way to encourage development. – Shawn Kent HayashiThe Professional Development Group LLC 

4. Offer Innovative Learning Experiences

Employees are more likely to get excited about personal development opportunities when they are innovative and entertaining. Mix things up by offering a variety of interesting and engaging learning experiences. For example, this may include destination learning, the use of cutting-edge technology or interactive exercises where the concepts introduced can be readily applied in context. – Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq.WordSmithRapport 

5. Map Out The Far-Reaching Benefits

Introduce personal development so staff can see the broader benefits beyond the job. If it feels like it’s strictly work-related, then people will compartmentalize what they’re learning and won’t feel the far-reaching benefits. Approach it from a whole-life perspective so employees bring their positive attitudes home and to their communities around them. – Nancy MarmolejoTalentAndGenius.com 

6. Make Development Opportunities ‘One Size Fits One’

The new generation of learning and development is grounded in one size fits one, being bite size and real-time accessibility. Understand the competencies and behaviors associated with the vision of the organization. From there, have managers get clear about what’s important individually for their employees. Next, provide an internal platform and external mediums to support development. – Alicia ReeceThe Reece Group 

7. Take An Active Interest In Personal Development

Set up one-on-ones on a regular basis specifically to discuss personal development. The frequency will depend on your business (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.). Find out what interests them outside of their normal job scope and encourage and support them in pursuing it. Staff performance and loyalty increases when employees feel supported and empowered to pursue their personal goals and dreams. – Gina GomezGina Gomez, Business & Life Coach 

8. Think Beyond Formal Training

Go beyond the thinking that development has to happen through formal classroom training. Create a book club where employees can discuss the latest trends in your industry; provide 15-minute “lunch and learns” where employees teach each other a skill; or create a company Slack group for social learning. Make development easily accessible (and easier on the budget) through useful, informal methods. – Loren MargolisTraining & Leadership Success LLC 

9. Ask And Listen

When you have your next one-on-one, listen with attention and intention. Give your employee your full attention, without getting lost in what you need to do next or what you want to say. Set your intention for the conversation to appreciate her perspective. Ask these two simple questions: What skills are you looking to develop? How can I help you grow? You’ll be surprised by the power of these questions. – Aaron LevyRaise The Bar Consulting 

10. Create A Culture Of Learning

All development is the result of learning. To effectively support personal development on a regular basis, organizations should foster a “culture of learning.” When a strong learning culture is embedded in the foundation of an organization, more employees see the importance of continuous learning. There are many mechanisms, tools and incentives organizations can institute, but start with culture. – Eddie TurnerEddie Turner LLC 

11. Train Managers To Be Mentors

Completing an annual development plan is helpful, but it could become a paper exercise. Train managers to regularly explore how and why a staff member wants to develop. A helpful question is, “In the next 6 to 12 months, how can you become a better version of yourself towards your personal career goals?” Managers can facilitate their staff’s development and help open doors. – Diane ChangDiane Chang Coaching 

12. Help Your Team Learn From Each Other

With some of my clients, we build communities of practice or peer learning groups where people can share their experiences and find people with similar challenges they can talk to. Another option is to support development by encouraging people to learn through cross-pollination (i.e. go see what others are doing in the same field) in other areas of the company. – Steffan SurdekPyxis Technologies 

13. Ask Employees What They Want And Need

Regularly soliciting ideas for personal development can help you understand what your team members want and give you some fresh ideas. If personal development is part of your company culture, people should feel free to talk about their goals and needs with their supervisors, human resources, and the rest of their team to develop solutions, within budget of course, that can benefit everyone. – Andrea MacKenzieLead With Harmony 

Source: Forbes.com