Employees may be working hard but they’re still devoted to finding time for professional development. If their current employers won’t help them carve out opportunities for self-improvement, they’re willing to jump ship to new employers that reliably support employee growth.
This desire for personal and career growth is shared by workers across all industries. However, it’s especially prevalent among those in tech fields.
According to HR Dive research, about three-quarters of technical employees plan to switch roles or companies within three years. And their main reason for leaving was to give themselves a clearer path to occupational success.
These types of findings should make corporate leaders sit up and take notice. With the Great Resignation in full swing, companies risk losing talented personnel if they don’t treat them well. No organization can afford an increase in turnover when a labor shortage is making recruitment efforts tricky.
Yet what more can businesses do to foster greater learning and development among their team members? Many offer on-the-job training and some even provide stipends to cover school tuition and loans. However, there are other creative ways employers can help their employees thrive. Listed below are four.
1. Prioritize mentoring.
Workers shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to figuring out how to set goals and achieve dreams. For example, employers who support employee growth can set up a mentorship program. Workers can turn to these seasoned pros for support, guidance, and insights.
The topic of mentoring is a hot one at the moment because so many people favor it. As pointed out by MentorCloud, a cloud-based employee mentoring platform, 76% of individuals believe it’s essential to have a mentor. Unfortunately, only about one-third of workers can say they have a mentor on their side.
Instead of putting the responsibility of finding a mentor on employees, organizations can make the process easier by establishing internal mentor-mentee relationships. That way, up-and-coming workers will have someone in their corner. At the same time, seasoned workers can serve as valuable mentors and transfer their knowledge.
2. Allow time for learning.
Every professional has a desire to learn and test untapped skills. The issue, of course, is carving out precious moments each week to read, take classes, listen to podcasts, or just try something new.
Some companies, like Patagonia, have always allowed their team members to set aside time for whatever they want to do. Tight workloads and razor-thin deadlines don’t seem to matter, either. Patagonia allows anyone the freedom to take a few hours to exercise the body — and maybe exercise the mind, too.
Allowing employees to revamp their schedules to indulge in professional development serves two purposes.
First, it gives overworked people a much-needed break from their to-do lists. Secondly, it shows that the employer sees workers as individuals rather than commodities. As a consequence, employees don’t have to “sneak around” to upskill or steal precious moments from time with family and friends.
3. Encourage employee career roadmaps.
Managers can play a huge role when it comes to the support of employee growth and the development of a workforce.
Because they have more day-to-day access to workers, they can get to know each worker’s vision of the future. For instance, one employee may want to fast-track up the corporate ladder. Another might have aspirations of making a lateral move to a different department.
As managers get to know the people they lead, they can work with them to develop personalized maps that go from Point A to Point B.
These maps should include milestones and timelines, as well as relevant tasks that need to be completed to move from step to step. They can help support employee growth by furnishing a straightforward roadmap that’s easy to grasp.
Employees feel more confident when they feel in control of their occupational destinies. Having a clear, well-defined career path strategy keeps them focused on an exciting, fulfilling future. It also gives managers the chance to work with their bosses on succession planning.
4. Promote from within whenever possible.
Two-thirds of workers say they would rather be supervised by a former colleague than by someone from the outside.
Why? They feel more respect for and comfort around someone they know who earned their promotion.
True, it’s not always reasonable or doable to fill all new-hire roles with someone from the inside. This is especially the case when the responsibility requires very specific abilities that no one in-house possesses.
Nevertheless, many positions are well within the reach of people already in the fold. Allowing them to apply and interview for those positions shows their company supports the idea of upward mobility.
Internal promotions aren’t just good for reducing friction, either. They save money for the business.
An employee already on the payroll doesn’t have to be extensively onboarded or complete rafts of paperwork. Plus, the cultural fit isn’t a question. Additionally, the employee can assist in the training of his or her replacement to ensure continuity during staffing changes.
Finding a new job can be a stressful experience. Many employees would much rather stay with a company they know. They just need to know that they won’t lose their professional edge by sticking around.