Employee development is one of those rare win-win situations. People want to do their jobs well, and the company benefits when they do. It’s scalable, presents an attractive ROI, and can become an important part of a company’s competitive advantage. It deserves to be recognized as a growth engine.

 Successful employee development yields fruit:

  • Increased quality, increased productivity, and increased innovation
  • Job safety and satisfaction
  • Increased motivation and morale
  • Pride in contribution
  • Recruiting and retention of talent – organizations go through lengthy processes to recruit and onboard qualified and suitable employees.  
  • Opportunity for internal advancement
  • Risk management and waste reduction

What is employee development?

Employee development is the process of helping employees improve skills, increase knowledge, and grow both personally and professionally. It is an underutilized asset, but many companies are prioritizing it like never before, and – the potential for improvement is impressive. 

The development of soft skills, including workplace communications and team-building, brings many real-world behavioral changes. For example, customer-facing personnel can learn how to be brand ambassadors and create amazing customer experiences, increase customer satisfaction, and de-escalate difficult conversations.

Employees who are on the factory or warehouse floor can become safer, more productive, and more satisfied with their contribution to the company and their careers. This fuels the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization.     

employee development
Office presentation photo created by DCStudio – www.freepik.com

The culture of feedback

Employee development is pivotal to facilitating business growth and success. The concept has a “seat at the table” in HR planning and implementation. At the experiential level, it often manifests itself primarily as a culture of feedback, and corporations have invested in its continuation. The HBR article Feedback Isn’t Enough to Help Your Employees Grow puts this in perspective:

“The objective of training feedback is to help people improve their performance. We want people to up their game, live up to their potential, contribute powerfully to their teams, and effectively interact with work colleagues. For the sake of our employees’ development and betterment, we want our organizations to foster an environment conducive to open, competent communication among one another. Those are all worthy goals.

But here’s the thing: Telling people they are missing the mark is not the same as helping them hit the mark.”

In addition to feedback, successful employee development relies on excellent management, supportive working environments, and great employee training. 


Employee training drives employee development

 An investment in employee training can be an accelerant of success. That’s why many organizations are helping to introduce new skills or bridge skills gaps, build specific knowledge, and guide employees to reach their potential.

Employee training is a formal process developed by subject matter experts and training professionals. Here are things that make employee training successful:

  • Connecting with overall business goals
  • Onboarding new hires with the right information and skills to succeed
  • Offers and encourages interactivity
  • Solicits and takes employee feedback seriously 
  • Is measurable and accountable    
  • Provides actionable data and insights that enable continuous improvement
  • Is tangible proof to each employee that they are valued

Technology has reshaped and expanded the way we deliver training and the way employees learn. Increasingly, the method(s) of delivery have become critically important in increasing access, retention, and the “on-the-job” effectiveness of employee training. 

Delivery has become a differentiator

It’s certainly no secret that employee demographics are changing and with them, technological preferences and capabilities. To be effective, training must embrace all methods of delivery and devices in order to reach more employees and influence more lives and careers. 

Common training methods include:

  • Instructor-led training (ILT)
  • Virtual instructor-led training (VILT)
  • E-learning   
  • Microlearning
  • Self-paced Learning 
  • Immersive Learning 

Most enterprises use combinations of delivery methods in order to keep employees engaged and learning actively. This is known as blended learning.

Let’s explore today’s newest and most effective way to train and develop employees, Immersive Learning

Immersive Learning is impacting employee development in new ways. 

Immersive Learning uses Virtual Reality to reproduce on-the-job scenarios and prepare employees in a controlled environment. Virtual reality is combined with advanced learning theory, data analytics, and spatial design to enhance user engagement and efficacy.

Done well, Immersive Learning is more than just training in VR. It is a careful and thoughtful VR design based on behavioral learning science. The spatial design and experience make people feel “presence” in an environment without making them uncomfortable or ill. It is the ability to measure behavior in-headset and translate that to elevated real-world performance. Indeed, Immersive Learning is an entire methodology. 

The unique, game-changing benefits of Immersive Learning:

  • Provides real-world behavioral changes 
  • Engages learners physically for higher impact and retention
  • Enables repetition on demand
  • Provides safe access to risky or hard to replicate situations
  • Delivers actionable data and training insights 

One of the primary drivers of Immersive Learning efficacy for employee development is its ability to offer practice for skills that often can only be honed in the real world. In addition, employees can use VR to continuously improve their job-specific skills by simulating scenarios over and over again. 

In addition, Immersive Learning helps learners improve overarching skills such as visual recognition, situational awareness, and decision-making. Overarching skills are crucial for personal and career growth and contribute to key organizational goals like safety, efficiency, and customer service.

With an Immersive Learning platform, training leaders can then review and analyze the skills of their workforce to better understand performance, identify future leaders, and create employee growth plans. 

A competitive advantage in employee development

Immersive Learning gives industry leaders like Walmart, Verizon, Sprouts, and Bank of America an edge as they hire back the workforce and introduce effective employee development programs.