Learning & Development

Beyond the 9-5 with workplace personal development

Personal development (1)

Try as we might, for many of us, our working lives and personal lives are inextricably linked. With so many of us working under a hybrid or fully remote model, the lines between work and play are more blurred than ever before. 

Depending on your own experience, that could be seen as a positive or a negative. On the plus side, lots of employees now enjoy enhanced flexibility in their schedules. On the other, sometimes work seeps into our personal time. 

But one thing to consider is the role work has to play in our personal development. It’s unlikely that most of us would think about developing our assertiveness skills at the weekend or dedicating time to becoming more innovative thinkers, but have you ever considered that you might have access to resources that will help you do just that at work?


Personal development vs professional development

Theoretically, personal development and professional development are different things. While the scope of professional development primarily focuses on skills and behaviours that will be used at work, and there will often be timed goals to motivate an employee, in practice the two aren’t so different.

After all, if an employee is improving their communication skills in therapy or through the use of self-help books, these skills will naturally cross over into their work. Equally, if a manager recommends a playlist of resources to help an employee level up their presentation skills, this may well be useful in the employee’s personal life.

That’s why accessing learning content at work can have a surprisingly big impact on personal development. It’s a win-win: the company benefits from improved skills across the business, and employees get to carry them into their ‘real lives’, without having to give up their free time or spend their own money on self improvement.


What falls under personal development?

It’s in an employer’s best interest to support the personal development of its people. Very often, this encompasses the ‘soft skills’ that set apart a good employee from an outstanding employee. An employee can have all the technical expertise in the world, but if they’re abrasive, hard to talk to or can’t articulate their ideas well, their efforts can easily get overlooked or their ideas dismissed.

Examples of personal development area your employees may want to tackle include:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Goal setting
  • Assertiveness
  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Giving feedback
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Problem solving
  • Public speaking

What probably stands out here is that every single one of these skills will benefit employees both at work and in their personal lives. For instance, emotional intelligence can be useful for managers looking to empathise with their employees, for employees looking to relate to colleagues and customers and for everyone looking to build stronger, healthier personal relationships.


Tailoring personal development paths...

With so many potential skills and behaviours to develop, where on earth do you start?

The first step is for managers to encourage employees to proactively suggest areas they’d like to develop - perhaps in your regular check-ins or as part of a performance review. But equally, if you identify a potential development area for your employee, don’t be afraid to suggest it yourself! Often employees don’t know what personal development is available to them via work, so offering signposting to learning resources can be a massive help.

It also pays to be proactive. The learning team should work closely with managers across the business to find out which personal development areas are of particular interest to employees - both in general and within specific functions. The sales team may be crying out to build their public speaking skills, whereas your customer support team could be interested in improving their problem solving abilities.


... and nailing the delivery

Often, soft skills aren’t delivered via formal training courses. After all, can an elearning course really teach someone how to be more creative? That’s why personal development often relies on access to a bunch of different resources and activities - that might be scenarios, thought exercises, videos, quizzes, games or activities. 

There’s also the (not entirely untrue) concern that personal development can be unfocused. An employee can find it overwhelming to navigate through a wide selection of resources, so make it easy for them to find what they need by organising personal development content into easily digestible playlists. For instance, you could group together all content about creativity, or all content about time management, to keep each employee focused on their own improvement area.

And don’t be afraid to get your SMEs involved to create top-notch in-house content! If you have someone in the business who is known for their organisational skills, consider asking them to send over their top tips or collate the resources that help them stay organised. This way, their colleagues will benefit from the insights of a trusted expert, who can respond to additional questions via comments on the uploaded content.


Prioritise personal development with 5app's Plug and Play

Soft skills content in a super simple platform (1)

If you’ve realised your organisation is lacking in personal development content, help is at hand! We’ve joined forces with content partner Hemsley Fraser to create our Plug and Play solution, giving your people access to 350+ resources covering personal development, leadership, wellbeing and more. This could be just what you need to reenergise your quiet quitters by helping them learn skills that go way beyond the 9-5.

Whether you’re looking to bust business jargon, help employees express themselves in difficult conversations or even enable people to write more effectively, Plug and Play can help - and what’s more, you can be up and running in days.

Ready? Let's go!

Find out more about 5app and Hemsley Fraser's Plug and Play solution and get up and running in days!




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