When we begin our professional careers, many of us have our perfect position at the perfect company developed in our minds; we also expect that to happen within a few years. However, as most of us soon figure out, the "perfect" career takes time, perseverance and effort. Sometimes, we are also helped along by employers who develop high-quality career development programs.
What do employees think of your training?
Saba's 2017 State of Employee Engagement Report found that when it comes to career development, more than a third of employees surveyed do not believe that the training provided by their employers is effective in developing and advancing careers.
While employees must always own their own career development, studies show that when an employer takes an interest in their employees with career development programs, employees become more engaged, more loyal and more likely to stay at the company (instead of leaving for the competition!).
From the Saba's 2017 State of Employee Engagement Report:
"Millennials are perceived to be the highest flight risk in any organization. Many businesses have tried to combat this by juicing up their culture with foosball tables and all-you-can-eat sushi lunches. But, as the 2017 State of Employee Engagement Survey found, the solution has been right in front of them the whole time. Indeed, 86 percent of millennials are more inclined to stay at their current company if they're given access to quality training and development. That's higher than Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers (62 percent), who are less likely to stick around even when they are given quality development."
The great news is that career development can start wherever you are: managing one person or a large team. Here are three ways businesses can contribute to employee career development goals and, ultimately, develop employees who are actively contributing to the company's growth.
1. Communicate the path
Communication is key in any relationship, and the line between employer and employee should always be open regarding career development. Start during the hiring process: ask candidates about their future goals and ideal career path. Later, as new hires, present the company's or team's expectations of the employee when it comes to career development. Make sure the employee has access to training and development resources, whether it's learning management software, content repositories or live training. Schedule one-on-one meeting with the employee to assess how the development plan is unfolding. Continue this active communication throughout the employee's time at the company.
2. Promote a culture of feedback
Many companies put a great deal of emphasis on the recruiting and hiring processes, but neglect to look at the employee's needs beyond that point. Managers should focus on the full employee life-cycle through ongoing people management, offering employees new challenges and opportunities. Companies can offer technology to capture ongoing feedback and frequently meet with employees to discuss their work aspirations and challenges. These discussions will help employees find their career path within the organization at the right pace for both the employee and the company.
3. Personalize each employee's development
Gone are the days when employees were just another number on a piece of paper; today's employees are the customer. Managers should carefully consider each employee individually in terms of their personality type, work style and career development goals. Consider using technology to assist with helping employees to map their career paths based on their aspirations and help employees reach their potential with personalized development plans and recommendations.
Career development is important for every employee to meet their long-term goals, but it is also important for employers who want to develop a well-trained and loyal team. When employers help shape employee careers for the future, employees become more dedicated to the company, more engaged and contributors to business success. Additionally, employees who are on a path toward career development develop positive feelings about their brand and company, which in turn helps with future recruitment. Try one or all three of these strategies for successful career development programs. Your employees will thank you!