To reach the next level, every business has its own set of priorities and deciding which initiatives will have the most significant impact can be challenging. But what makes a business successful and distinguishes one organization from another is not what it sells or offers but the people within it. What your employees crave most is more opportunity to grow.

It’s not just about offering fun happy hours or paying for lunches once a week to take care of your staff. We all want to feel cared for, no matter where we work or what level we are at. Providing employees with personal and professional growth opportunities can be a significant way to accomplish this.

In addition to long-term benefits, employee development can lead to short-term gains, such as improved performance, increased engagement, and greater loyalty. Here are five ways to improve your company’s employee development program.

From the beginning, provide professional training
By providing employees with all the tools and resources they need to succeed in their role, you set them up for success. Training is also an essential component of this. To practice this from a new employee’s first day and beyond, create a knowledge base with critical information and best practices for new hires as your team grows. A training plan is vital for getting remote employees up to speed because they might not get the same opportunities to ask one-off questions at their desks.

Transform your managers into coaches
To become a successful coach, you need to gain insight into your direct report – their unique strengths, weaknesses, and motivations so you can guide them to success. To do this, you need to ask the right questions at the right time. You can start asking your people these five questions every week during check-ins and one-on-ones:

• What do you like about your job? Have you had any successes lately?
• What are your current challenges?
• How do you feel today? How is your mood today?
• How satisfied are you on a scale of 1-10? Please explain.
• Would you like to know how we can improve our employee development initiatives?

You will form deeper connections with your people if you regularly have intentional conversations with them. In addition to encouraging an environment where employees can be honest and open, these discussions also contribute to the psychological safety of the workplace.

Collaborate across departments
When businesses provide cross-departmental training that is genuinely cohesive, they can bridge the gap between cultures, motivate their employees to learn more about other parts of the company, and promote more empathy across the board. The majority of teams, however, do not naturally collaborate.

Some initiatives may not succeed unless you have the suitable structures to help your people connect. Some initiatives may not succeed. For example, in your marketing department, updated content is aimed at enhancing your brand, but the sales and customer service teams aren’t consulted. Marketing messages will not resonate if the team is unaware of the unique pain points of their customers. A collaboration problem could lead to more detrimental results, despite this being just one example.

Put an emphasis on soft skills
Soft skills are often overlooked in corporate environments. Soft skills seem unnecessary, but industry analysts argue they are not. The range of their application changes frequently, and it is highly complex.

A company’s most critical goal is to cultivate relationships among its employees, including the ability to communicate and collaborate.

Personal development = employee development
Your employees serve your organization more than just professionally. People are whole beings of physical, intellectual, and emotional experiences. Employee development must be holistic to allow employees to grow professionally and personally. Examples include:

The balance between the mind and the emotions
You might ask, ‘How are you feeling about your work lately?
Are you struggling with anything?’ This meets our basic needs to be seen, heard, acknowledged, and validated—needs that often are unmet in many work environments.

The development of intellectual capacity
Books and seminars aren’t just for business. You can use them to teach personal finance or promote healthy relationships.

Physical well-being
Encourage your people to step away from their desks when the workday is finished and allow them to practice self-care. This shows that you don’t just depend on the skills in their job description, but that you care about them.

By providing employees with the tools to do their jobs well and training to advance in their careers, they are more likely to feel inspired to accomplish their finest work. You might just encourage the best and brightest candidates to join your team by your reputation for stellar employee development.