Every employee is different: meeting their needs and expectations is an ongoing task.
Personal growth is not just a pretty phrase you use in order to sell some organizers and promote your fitness app. Each person has a path: from day one, we are growing our mental and physical selves to the extent of our abilities. It’s not a journey we take alone, of course. Our parents, siblings, teachers, friends and mentors are there to point us in the right direction and give us the chance to level up.
Once you reach adulthood and start working, it gets a bit trickier. You’re no longer officially in the educational part of your life; there are no universal guidelines that you can follow. You’ve chosen a profession, and now it’s up to you and your employer to figure out how to proceed.
Now, a lot of companies will approach any and all employees with a somewhat structured plan on how to advance on a technical or professional level. It’s a great thing to have – a clear set of skills, knowledge and experiences that every worker should have in a certain position, combined with the evaluation of past work. Tracking your progress with these kinds of guidelines in mind becomes a simple task, with no additional effort spent on finding the best routes to improvement.
On the other hand, personal growth ca often be mistaken for an extracurricular activity. Your employer has a duty to help you reach your potential as an employee, but that’s where the story ends.
A friendly game to rest your thought process is just as important as a meeting to challenge it.
A quality company recognizes the need for rounded improvement. Professional and personal growth are connected, and there is no way to keep them separate long-term. In fact, no amount of professional growth can provide the peace of mind needed for a healthy mental life: the gap between personal and professional eventually turns into a crack, and this is a breeding ground for a number of problems.
So, what can a good company do?
Firstly, it’s a step in the wrong direction to separate personal and professional growth from the beginning. Starting with the lowest-level intern, each employee should have the necessary support to improve in all fields that are relevant to their personality and position. If you’ve got a fantastic QA engineer, support their desire to improve their communication skills by attending some seminars! It might not mean much to the company short-term, but this could be the first step to the engineer socializing more and contributing to a more inclusive work environment.
Secondly, every company is an organism that changes constantly. Sticking to the needs of RIGHT NOW keeps you blind to what might come next. A PO that wants to take up hiking might end up discovering new opportunities in mountain-wear, and you might be better off letting them climb every mountain than sticking them behind a desk every other weekend.
Lastly, the company is not obliged to supply immersive support personal growth of its employees – just to provide the opportunity for work-life balance that gives the employees themselves a chance to discover and explore their interests.
Nobody’s perfect – and nobody’s born with a clear vision of what their life will look like. Keeping an open mind and a reasonable amount of free time is maybe just what the doctor ordered!