Most people want to be the best they can be and achieve their full potential at work. As a consequence, personal development opportunities in the workplace are important for attracting, retaining, and engaging talent. People tend to be more satisfied at work when given chances to grow and develop.
Personal development can cover anything from training or building a new skill, to pursuing a passion, to increasing confidence or improving relationships with other people. It can also cover things outside of the workplace too, like achieving a better work-life balance, or being more present when spending time with family and friends.
We look at the benefits of personal development at work, and the valuable role feedback plays in helping people to establish goals to help them grow.
The benefits of personal development at work
Providing people with personal development opportunities is one of the best things you can do to nurture talent and keep people engaged so they want to continue working for your company. Plus, personal development makes your people better. And by making your people better, your business becomes better at what it does.
Personal development benefits people in the following ways;
Encourages a positive attitude - The more people feel like their job supports them to be better, not just in a working environment but in their personal life too, the more positive they will feel about their work.
Boosts motivation - Observing the results of our own personal growth can be incredibly motivating and encourage us to strive for even bigger achievements.
Increases confidence - Improving ourselves helps us to feel more confident. When we reach a goal we had set, gain a new skill, or learn something from a situation that helps us in our life both in and outside of work, the more we keep developing. And, the more confident we feel that we can achieve new things and experience greater fulfilment.
Develops strengths - Personal development isn’t just about helping people to improve on their weaknesses. It can also help people to develop their strengths. Giving people time to nurture and hone their strengths helps take them from good to great, and that can be extremely rewarding.
Gives people a purpose - Through ongoing personal development, people can learn more about their abilities and aspirations and figure out a clearer purpose for what they’re doing, both on a personal and professional level.
Improves career prospects - Personal development can be a great way to help people achieve their career goals. It’s not just about what they learn either. Being committed to personal development demonstrates a willingness to learn and grow, which is desirable for many employers.
Builds loyalty - People are more likely to stay with companies that provide good development opportunities.
The role of feedback
An individual’s personal development starts with understanding where they are at the moment, versus where they want to be, and what is expected of them to get there.
To understand and identify their personal development opportunities, people need to know their strengths and weaknesses. And this is where feedback can provide a ray of light.
Receiving feedback from managers and colleagues helps people become more self-aware of both their strengths and the areas they need to work on, as well as how others perceive them. And this gives people the opportunity to use this information towards their own personal growth. For example:
A person can take the learnings from feedback to establish goals for themselves. If they discover that they come across as hesitant when presenting to a group, they may choose to focus on developing their confidence. Or, if they learn that people see them as holding on to work, they may want to asses whether they could be letting things go a bit more, and how this could help them achieve a better work-life balance.
Feedback also helps people to see how their behaviours might impact other people’s development opportunities. For example, a manager might choose to use their own judgement when allocating tasks to the members of their team. But by doing this, he or she are effectively disempowering those individuals in the team. It might be that one person really wanted to do a task that was allocated to someone else because they want to grow in that area. But the opportunity wasn’t given to them, and this can cause them to lose motivation and confidence, and even resent their manager.
Personal development is important to everyone. Whether an individual wants to develop more confidence, pursue a work-related passion or achieve a better work-life balance, feedback gives them a more objective view of themselves and provides a great starting point to help them achieve those goals. And the more a person feels like they are getting personal fulfilment from work, the more likely they are to remain engaged, both in their job and in the company.