One of my favorite things about working for Mailtrust is their dedication to the personal and professional development of their employees. There are many ways that we go about this development: reading a book, attending a conference or a seminar, internal tech talks, external tech talks, involvement in the local development community, and so on. As a software development manager here at Mailtrust, it is often my job (and always my pleasure) to encourage and facilitate this development. This can be anything from ordering a book for an employee, to developing a relevant exercise which encourages best practices, to organizing an entire development conference (Thanks Matt!)
This may sound a little cliché, but I think that one of the things a lot of employers forget is that employees are people, too. If you want to keep the best people, you need to actively encourage them to continue growing. Set aside some money every year to send one or two of your best people to a conference of their choice. In the long run, this investment will pay you back in spades. Not only do you get the immediate benefit of having better trained employees, but those employees also have expanded their social and professional circle. And, that growth will continue well beyond the conference. Furthermore, we “thought industry” types assign more value to employers that help us grow which, in turn, creates more loyal employees.
I bring this up because I’m in a position where I conduct a lot of interviews. One question that we always ask is, “why do you want to leave your current job”? Easily, seventy-five per cent of the time the answer is essentially, “because my employer has no interest in helping me grow.” Please, take my advice and commit to your employees’ growth. If you don’t, you’re liable to watch your best employees walk out the door for places that will. If you think it’s too hard, or too expensive, to commit to their growth, that’s OK too…I’m always looking for new talent.