How to Approach Employees About Career Development

A LinkedIn report suggests that 94% of employees surveyed feel that providing learning and career development opportunities encourages them to stay longer with the organization. 

With the advent of the great resignation, it can be deduced that the current workforce isn’t the same as it was three years ago. People are quitting their jobs in search of more fulfilling career opportunities, and thus, the way talent management used to work has to evolve.

Businesses must realize that prioritizing retention and attracting top talent is paramount to organizational success. From offering opportunities to work remotely to providing pathways for career progression, businesses should shift their focus on adopting employee-centric initiatives to improve the appeal of their work environment to current and future employees. 

Old-school talent management practices boast of training employees as one of the best practices for talent management. However, the contribution a robust career development provides to the company’s success is invaluable. This blog aims to understand the significance of employee career advancement opportunities, its benefits, and best practices.

The Concept of Career Development 

Career development is an intra-organizational mechanism that shapes employees’ career paths. The process aims at planning, preparing for, and advancing an employee’s career over time. It involves coaching, mentoring, skills development, networking, and setting and achieving career growth goals.

The process of career development is crucial for both employees and employers. It includes the continuous upgradation of the skills and competencies of employees to meet the job’s current demands. Additionally, it provides organizations with a workforce ready to handle challenges head-on, thereby successfully navigating the complexities of the evolving work landscape. 

Benefits of Career Development for Employees 

Career development in the workplaceA survey by Gallup found that 87% of millennials feel professional growth plays a pivotal role in creating a robust employee experience. Employees who lack opportunities for career growth and guidance in setting their career goals often experience burnout, leading them to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Employees need to feel valued, that their goals and development are essential, and that their employer cares about them achieving those goals. Here are four ways career development benefits an employee and the organization.

  • Boosts Productivity 

When employees are assigned definite goals and given access to resources that help in achieving those goals, they learn new skills and, in turn, improve their productivity. Employee engagement also increases when employees are given a practical training ground to exercise what they have learned. Consequently, what employees learn can be passed on to their team members, contributing to the team culture.

  • Helps Employee Retention 

Talent retention is one of the biggest challenges that labor marketing is facing today. Providing employees with career development opportunities is a great way to invest in talent because it communicates to them that they are important. A survey by Better Buys reveals that professional development can improve retention rates by up to 34%.

  • Attracts Top Talent 

A LinkedIn report regarding hiring trends highlights that employees consider organizational culture as one of the core factors while looking for a job. They feel that career development is one of the major factors in determining an organization’s culture. To attract and retain the best talent, an organization must offer incentives that its counterparts don’t.

  • Increases Profitability 

One of the most important benefits of an employee development program is the potential to increase an organization’s profitability. Employee career development boosts engagement, thereby creating a collaborative and productive workforce.

Engaged employees align their personal goals with the organization’s vision and values. This alignment not only encourages retention but also drives up profits and productivity. When team members prioritize their roles and find fulfillment in working towards a shared goal or vision, the organization’s profitability can significantly increase.

Also read: Benefits of Implementing an Employee Career Development Program

How to Support Employee Career Development? 

Following are the seven strategies employers can use to promote the development of employees:

  • Take an interest in employee career goals 

Make sure you communicate frequently with your team members. To assist employees in seeing their future with the firm, managers must describe a possible career path for them within the organization. This involves determining the precise benchmarks for success and the supplementary resources workers may need to use along the way. Open, direct communication between managers and employees regarding career trajectories is crucial. Showing a personal interest in an employee’s career goals becomes even more important when managing a remote team.

Also read: A Beginners Guide To Effective One On One Meetings
  • Provide training and development opportunities 

Regular on-the-job training and education programs should support employee learning and development. Employers should encourage team members to enroll in appropriate business courses and online learning portals to boost their professional development. 

A survey by Zippia reveals that 92% of employees feel well-planned learning and development plans can positively impact employee engagement. Apart from nurturing individual needs and honing specific talents, it’s crucial to keep employees updated on broader industry advancements.

Hosting lunch-and-learn events via video with either external or internal guest speakers is a convenient and affordable strategy. Moreover, give your staff the time and freedom to attend professional events.

  • Implement mentoring and job shadowing 

Job shadowing is a training program wherein new hires learn tasks by following and observing an experienced employee who has been performing the role for some time. Encouraging a formal mentoring program or job shadowing can help workers grow personally and professionally.

Senior employees can share their well-earned knowledge and advice with less experienced peers. In turn, they can gain from emerging personnel’s new ideas and technical know-how.

  •  Promote job rotation across departments and levels 

Job rotation promotes employee growth and reduces employee turnover and stress. The practice creates an atmosphere that fosters fresh thoughts and perspectives on the work being done by the organization and further helps improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

  • Support employees’ work-life balance 

Encourage your staff to work efficiently, be as productive as possible, and take time out for extracurricular activities. Being proactive about the health of your team members can help reduce their stress.

Organizations can boost employee morale by implementing flexible work policies that improve work-life balance. Assist employees in prioritizing work, managing personal responsibilities, and even partaking in professional development events that can enhance their careers.

  • Recognize and acknowledge good performance 

Employees’ roles become more meaningful when their contributions to the company’s mission are recognized. Additionally, it increases their desire to take on more responsibility and move up the organizational ladder. Hence, give regular feedback on employees’ performance and let them know how their work impacts the organization daily. Highlight the company’s progress towards important goals and appreciate employees for their contributions to the company’s success.

Also read: Best Employee Recognition Ideas For 2023
  • Create a succession plan well in advance 

Succession planning aids in retaining top talent by providing career development opportunities and a clear path for advancement. Have a succession plan in place for all the key positions in the company. It helps motivate employees to learn new skills and work on new projects needed for career advancement.

Examples of Career Development Programs 

Organizations implement several career development programs to accelerate employee development. Below are some of the real-life examples of career development programs undertaken by organizations to support employee growth:

Workday employs a skill-based HR strategy to help staff members identify and develop certain skills. Using exclusive technologies like Career Hub, they link people with opportunities to work in various teams and departments.

Randstad has successfully implemented a global mentoring program for its employees. It has established a university for its internal learning management. The in-house LMS (Learning Management System) provides employees with an extensive catalog of courses related to workplace compliance, business development, etc.

Heineken adopted the reverse mentoring program to help senior leaders connect with junior employees and gain new skills and experiences. Additionally, Heineken’s diversity and inclusion program (DE&I) gave its employees the tools they needed to embrace the culture of the various countries it does business in.

Also read: Building Diversity and Inclusion In Your Workplace

Growth Ideas for Employees Examples 

Embarking on a career growth journey involves cultivating a deep sense of purpose while being vigilant in seizing opportunities as they present themselves. Here are some proven strategies for fostering career advancement:

  1. Expand the job description of an employee to allow them to learn more. 
  2. Offer promotions to let the employee move up within the current organization.
  3. Offer more responsibility and a better job title.
  4. Facilitate employees in forging meaningful connections and expanding their professional networks by enabling participation in conferences and meet-ups aimed at enhancing their networking capabilities.
  5. Allow employees to contribute to the decision-making process.

Summing Up 

As workplace dynamics continue to evolve, businesses seeking to retain talent and improve their bottom line will need to pivot. One of the most powerful strategies to adapt to an evolving marketplace and retain talent is to build a strong and resilient career development program.

A good performance management system is one method companies can use to help employees understand their goals and contributions to the business’s overall growth. Engagedly offers a great performance management solution for a more accessible user experience. The all-in-one platform ensures employees have a robust career development plan that they can create in collaboration with their managers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What does an effective career development program include?  

An effective career development program incorporates tailored training, mentorship, and opportunities for skill enhancement, aligning individual goals with organizational needs to foster professional growth and advancement.

Q2. How does career planning differ from career development? 

Career development encompasses career planning and management. Career planning is part of career development. It includes identifying and implementing actions to achieve certain career goals.

Q3. What initiatives can organizations take to build an employee’s career path?  

Building an employee’s career path needs to start from the onboarding process itself. Learn about each employee’s career goals, including their skills, education, experience, and other qualifications. Define professional development levels and assess the skill gap that needs to be addressed to help employees advance to each level.

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Benefits of Implementing an Employee Career Development Program

Lack of career development is one of the most compelling reasons employees quit their jobs. Experts find that employees working without a clear chance of career progression are more likely to experience burnout. Once this phenomenon happens, it is common for their motivation for work and quality of service to plummet.

Employers and other company stakeholders should worry about burnout and how the lack of employee career development creates this problem. After all, losing employees too often is expensive and potentially debilitating to organizational operations. For this reason, companies should cautiously invest in competitive career development programs.

Employee Career Development Programs: An Overview 

A career development program is a company-prepared plan that helps employees establish a career path and attain professional development.

benefits of employee career development programs

The program helps employees:

  • Gain and enhance skills 

  • Excel in current roles

  • Navigate through organizational systems

  • Acquire experience to qualify for career advancement opportunities 

Career development programs may be specific and timebound, but they are not set in stone. As and when an employee’s career path changes, the programs should undergo necessary alterations. A well-suited program coupled with the support coming from the company would bring about significant benefits that may positively impact all involved stakeholders.

Also Read: Importance, Implementation, and Benefits of Training and Development Program

10 Major Benefits of Implementing Employee Career Development Programs

Career growth

The benefits of employee career development programs are not entirely exclusive to employees. Depending on the success and consistency of the programs, other stakeholders, such as the employer, may also experience improvements in various aspects. Here is a more comprehensive look at the different advantages of having an employee career development program:

1. Reduce attrition

Employees who do not see and experience career advancement in their current position are more likely to quit. When many employees think this way, the company will be in trouble because all dissatisfied individuals may resign simultaneously. This outcome is never ideal.

Companies must keep their employees satisfied with their jobs to prevent them from resigning. Besides compensation and benefits, a good career development program could be a valuable bargaining chip. It would be irrational for employees to work for many years in a company that does not promise any promotion.

Also Read: Why Your Business Needs This Foolproof “Talent Retention Strategy”

2. Encourage employees to work harder

It is not enough for employees to show up for work and do the minimum. If this habit continues, employees will become too complacent and deliver low-quality services and some may show signs of quitting. Ideally, employees should have the willingness to strive harder and perform better.

Implementing a career development program can help challenge employees to bring out their A game. Since they know they have goals to meet, they would consciously work hard to attain the said goals. A little work pressure will push them to move forward.

3. Inspire professional development among employees

There are multiple directions that employees can steer their careers toward. Most of the time, employees move their careers vertically or horizontally. Vertical career growth is about promotions and occupying a higher position, while horizontal career growth refers to a transfer to another industry or functional role.

Whether moving vertically or horizontally, having chances for professional development can strengthen employees’ love and respect for their jobs. They may reignite their passion for their careers and strive to be better.

4. Challenge employees to take on a new career path

Multiple career opportunities

One may need to explore multiple options before settling into a chosen career. Even after establishing oneself in a selected position, it is still possible to change into something else.

Many employees are not satisfied with their current career paths. Thus, employers should provide opportunities for employees to explore other paths which could later contribute to their overall growth. Once they know what is out there, they feel more motivated to strive harder.

5. Survive unexpected crises

Before leading to better career opportunities, career development programs equip employees with skills that may or may not relate to their current jobs. These skills give them better competencies in varied professional aspects. Most importantly, these skills will prepare them for challenging circumstances.
As employees grow, they develop faster and better reactions against crises. More talented and experienced workers will help companies keep up with drastic changes. Their contributions will be crucial for the company’s survival.

Employee Career Development

6. Improve overall organizational performance

Besides technical skills, career development programs also focus on soft skills. Teamwork is one of the most relevant soft skills to learn across all industries. As employees grow, they also learn how to cooperate with others and carry out common goals.

Organization at the workplace promotes orderliness and efficiency. For co-workers, being able to work well with others could signify the existence of a peaceful and functional work culture. Workers should get along with one another.

Also Read: Create a Positive Workplace Culture For Your Employees

7. Reduce work-related errors

As employees do better in their respective positions, they are less likely to commit errors.

work-related errors

These errors cover technical difficulties that one might experience while working on projects and interpersonal issues that may cause toxicity in the workplace.

Climbing the corporate ladder can be daunting, so people need consistent and reliable support. Ideally, employees should have access to career development opportunities in managing pressure, stress, and other negative factors to prevent them from continuously committing mistakes.

8. Attract the best talent

Creating employee career growth plans and other similar programs can also be relevant to recruitment processes. After the company establishes a culture and system for its employees’ career advancement, the public will know, and applicants will become interested.
Talented and high-performing individuals can be picky with their employers, so attracting them with beneficial proposals is crucial. When these exemplary employees excel, naturally, the companies employing them will also experience a boost in productivity and performance.

9. Prepare for succession planning

Succession planning is a preemptive strategy that prevents the interruption of business and operations. It is about preparing employees to take on a higher and more challenging position in case the previous person on the job voluntarily or involuntarily quits.

This initiative helps companies forecast who could be the company’s next leaders. It is a preemptive measure that helps ensure organizational stability. For employees, having concrete succession planning is good motivation to work even harder.

10. Instill a progressive work culture

positive work culture

Implementing employee career growth plans may improve a company’s work culture. Aside from the encouragement employees get after knowing that something good can be attainable for performing well, they may also develop a sense of accountability to keep up with their responsibilities. While it takes time, this perspective can spread to all employees and make them more goal-oriented and competitive.

End Note: Maximize Career Development Opportunities

Nowadays, there are endless ways for companies to foster employee career development. Besides onsite training and conventions, employers may also utilize career development e-learning courses for faster and more dynamic career progression. Regardless of how employers handle this situation, they should provide diverse improvement programs to accommodate employees’ varying needs and goals.

Employee Engagement Survey

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are the main benefits of career planning to an organization?

Ans. There are quite a few benefits in store for organizations who invest in an employee’s career planning, such as:

  • Attracting and retaining good talent
  • Promoting the brand image
  • Utilizing resources to their fullest potential
  • Preventing chaos and disruption in processes

Q2. What are the benefits of employee development and training?

Ans. Employee training is primarily about learning new skills and gaining specific knowledge that employees can apply immediately to make major gains in their current job positions, whereas development programs promote employees’ future performance and progress.

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