According to a recent ADP Research survey, 40% of respondents now place career advancement on their priority list, marking a substantial increase from the previous year's 23%. In fact, it surpassed the importance of flexible working hours.
The ADP Research Institute underscores the continued importance of fostering employee development, emphasizing that it is crucial for both talent acquisition and retention. Nela Richardson, Chief Economist at ADP, emphasized, "Moving forward, employers who emphasize career growth while maintaining a nurturing and inclusive workplace culture are better positioned to meet the evolving needs of their workforce, both in the present and future," in an official statement announcing the survey findings.
However, in another survey conducted by eLearning Industry, more than 50% of respondents stated that their employers fail to provide adequate learning and training programs that could facilitate their professional growth and promotion prospects.
The report identifies a problematic trend of favoritism in promotion decisions, which sheds light on the absence of clear and unbiased promotion policies. 75% of workers surveyed revealed that leaders within their organizations exhibit bias, and 60% felt that promotions were primarily reserved for individuals who shared similar opinions with their superiors. This bias issue was prevalent across various sectors, including technology, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality. Nearly one-third of respondents expressed skepticism about their upward mobility within their respective organizations and did not perceive a fair chance of promotion.
The 2022 Better Workplaces on a Budget report from the Society for Human Resource Management confirms that, following compensation, the absence of opportunities for career growth and progression has been a primary factor leading to employee turnover. The top recommendation for addressing this concern is increasing promotions from within and publicizing these promotions to others in the company so workers can see realistic advancement opportunities.
Consider these five steps when creating an career advancement program:
Step 1: Assess Business Objectives
Before crafting employee development goals, it's crucial to align their growth needs with the company's business requirements. Consider both short-term and long-term business objectives. Developing internal talent to bridge skill gaps is a valuable investment, saving time and resources compared to external hiring.
Step 2: Engage in Employee Dialogue
Avoid assumptions about your employees' skill levels and career aspirations. Initiate conversations with each team member to understand their career aspirations and challenges within their current roles. Encourage them to self-assess their work and pinpoint areas of difficulty. Determine if they require additional training, mentorship, or stretch assignments. Some employees may have undeclared development goals, while others might need guidance and support to recognize their potential within the organization.
Step 3: Distinguish Potential from Readiness
Differentiate between an employee's potential and their readiness for a particular role. Potential encompasses desire, skills, and experience, whereas readiness involves being prepared for a specific position. Not every employee aspires to or should transition into a management role, as doing and managing require distinct skill sets. Avoid pushing employees prematurely into roles they may not be prepared for.
Step 4: Explore Various Training and Development Methods
Determine how employees will acquire the required skills. Beyond formal classroom training or online courses, consider cost-effective alternatives. Engagement is essential for effective learning, so explore options like stretch assignments, collaborating with subject matter experts, one-on-one coaching, mentoring, and local networking groups. Assigning employees tasks from the next level job can be an effective method for skill development and succession planning.
Step 5: Develop a Comprehensive Plan
Craft a detailed plan with specific, time-bound goals to measure progress effectively. Ensure clarity in objectives to gauge employee advancement accurately. Address logistical aspects, including preparation, involvement of others, time commitments, and work coverage during training. Clearly communicate the reasons behind skill development, expectations, and how it benefits both the company and individual careers. After training, facilitate opportunities for immediate application and feedback to reinforce and refine newly acquired skills, maximizing the return on your investment in employee development.
Today’s workers seek opportunities for personal and professional growth and expect these opportunities to be facilitated within their workplace. Establishing a robust career development initiative can increase employee engagement, bolster employee retention rates, and foster a positive company culture – pivotal in shaping the overall employee experience.
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Sources: Insala, SHRM, HR Dive, Insperity