Maggie Wu, a marketing manager in China who followed the Adecco Future Leaders Programme (IFL), shares her career progression journey through upskilling from a country role in China to her current regional role as a Senior Marketing Manager, EMEA. “My new role will officially start on 9th May. I can’t wait to connect with people from different markets and functions to set goals for the rest of the year.”

Beyond the benefits of training programmes for employees’ career advancement, investing in upskilling and reskilling programs may improve employee engagement and retention rates, spur collaboration across departments and regions, and increase the pace of technological innovation within an organization. Adecco’s International Future Leaders (IFL) development programme brings together young professionals from all over the world across The Adecco Group to become future leaders with a strong commercial sense, skills and passion to deliver solutions to real-time business challenges.

3 reasons employee development programmes are key

  1. Motivate and engage employees.

  2. Attract and retain talent.

  3. Develop a company’s innovation capabilities.

Employees have many options for pursuing professional development. By leveraging technology and online learning, it’s easier to foster a culture of learning in the workplace.

“My IFL program started in 2018 in hybrid journey based on TAG’s perform, transform, and innovate mission,” says Maggie Wu, Senior Marketing Manager with LHH. “I’ve had many virtual learning sessions, three in-person learning with my batch in Zurich, Lisbon and London, also completed a team project and an individual project throughout the learning journey to 2020.”

Learning and development opportunities and programmes have a huge impact on employee experience. Maggie Wu confirms that even during the application process she felt the kindness and support the company offered her to help manage change and make her plans happen. “I couldn’t express more appreciation to my manager, to IFL, TAG UK HR team, LHH HR team and leaders to make this change possible.”

Employee experience reflects what people value and, according to a McKinsey research article, work experience elements such as career growth and work organisation are in the top ten priorities of employees. Indeed, as McKinsey reveals, employees at leading EX companies are more inclined to surpass work expectations, having a 40 percent higher level of discretionary effort.

“IFL plays a key role in my skill development and mindset shaping in business and people. LEAN Six Sigma was one of the amazing learning we have had. I brought what I learnt from this approach into what I do at work and turned to improve many processes and increased the efficiency and effectiveness at work,” Maggie said. Giving employees the freedom to use their newly gained skills will benefit and improve a company’s capabilities. “IFL trainings also let me know myself much better and become the people's leader that I expect myself to grow into with my team,” she said.

Foundations for a successful employee development program

1. Continuous Employee Development.

A career growth process isn’t a one-and-done affair that ends with the employee getting a raise or promotion.” With so much knowledge and trainings available, the challenge we face today is how to secure the one-in-a-million skill. For that reason, it’s always important to keep in mind the goal that led you to learn what you learn,” Maggie confirms. Which brings us to another element of successful employee development programme: planning. “To move into a different job, do the research on relevant skills and knowledge you need, analyse the gap of where you are today and where you want to go tomorrow, and finally make your action plans. Skill development is a lifelong matter to one’s career.”

As Maggie mentions, without an obvious goal, strategy and persistence, any programme will prove a waste for business and employees alike. Effective learning follows the 70-20-10 framework. “My upskilling is a continuous progress filled with challenges and opportunities and I could put everything I’ve learnt in practice in the field. This is reflected in my career journey with The Adecco Group, where I felt enabled, engaged, and empowered every time I moved into a new position within the group.”

2. Employee control over their development path.

According to the World Economic Forum, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. Hence, it’s clear that for employee development plans, a one-size-fits-all approach is counterproductive. Employees should be given the space to decide about their training goals and career paths. “Today’s career is no longer linear, and it’s important to me to be clear with what I can contribute and take away every time I embark on a new journey,” Maggie continues. “I have no doubt that my new role will bring me equal joy and challenges, which will continue to enrich my career and experience with LHH and The Adecco Group.”

Empowering the workforce to own their career development will benefit both the employees and their organisations. "It will also make the trust, resources and investment placed in me worthwhile for the company reminding me of the responsibility to deliver ROI and to continue optimising what we do to grow and develop,” she said.

3. (Digital) Collaboration across business units and partnerships with other organisations.

“The IFL program played a very important part in my journey from Learning (skill and business), to Growth (mindset and career) to Connection (within BU and TAG). During my two transitions, I always reached out to my IFL program manager Bani when I knew there was a change happening. IFL also helped me connect with the Adecco Group UK HR and business teams to explore different opportunities.”

Employees are the most valuable assets of an organization. Companies that create a positive employee experience through well-designed learning and development programmes will improve business performance and employee wellbeing. Training programmes should meet employees’ goals and needs, just like business goals. Maggie Wu is a great example of how employee development programmes can improve employee engagement. “My new role will officially start on 9th May and I can’t wait to connect with people from different markets and functions to understand where we are today and what our business goals are for the rest of the year.”