Most people like to know where they are going. Rarely, are people comfortable being lost as it creates anxiety and can make us late if we are on a schedule. This is why almost everyone today has some sort of GPS system in their cars or on their phones.
We like to know where we are, where we are going, and the best way to get there. We have a route mapped out and milestones along the way to help us keep on track. By using a GPS system, we save valuable time and energy.
It is the same for our employees and their career development. They have growth and development goals and they want to reach them. Once it is established where they are currently, they want to know what career paths are available to them. Yet, for some reason, while everyone has some sort of GPS system to navigate roads, very few companies have a GPS system for helping employees get on the right path for their careers.
If you don’t have specific and measurable plans for your employees, they will often feel that you don’t see them as worth the investment. The majority of employees who are looking to leave their current employer cite lack of advancement opportunities as the number one reason.
In order to get them on the right path, spend time during the interview process and when they first start with you to assess their skills and interests. Each individual will have different goals and a different pace at which they want to go to achieve those goals. Some might prefer a fast-track route and others may prefer a slower and less direct route. Ideally, you can work together to find the route and pace that best meets their needs as well as the organization’s needs.
Once you determine where they are and where they wish to go with their careers, you can then map out which skills they need to develop to achieve their goals.
There are many ways that you can help them to develop their skills. Cross training, job rotation, job enlargement and job sharing are all ways that you can allow your employees to develop within their current roles. There are several benefits to these types of development. For example, cross training and job rotation allow employees to understand how other departments function encourages collaboration and better efficiencies among teams.
Allowing seasoned employees to train new employees takes pressure off Human Resources and hiring managers to do it, and is an excellent way to develop skills of an existing employee who may be ready for new challenges but might not yet have an opportunity for upward advancement. Training also helps the new employee get off to a great start creates an immediate bond with that co-worker.
Creating a culture that encourages employees to develop and grow has many benefits for the organization as well as for the employee. Investing in the development of your employees, helps them to feel valued and if they feel valued, they are more likely to stay with your organization. It builds loyalty and loyal employees are more engaged. The cost of high turnover and the challenge to find top talent in today’s competitive marketplace eats into companies profits. Organizations that can engage and retain their existing employees are more profitable because their employee costs are lower.
One final thought: Developing your employees does not require a costly or elaborate system. You can empower them to take control of their own career development plans with guidance from you to help them keep on track.