Employee engagement is ever a work-in-progress, due to the continual flux as both organisations and employees continue to evolve as they adjust to the dynamic changes around them. This is why business leaders and HR experts around the world keep stressing on the importance of putting people first and planning strategic employee engagement programs and revisiting them for further enhancement periodically. The chances of attrition go high with employees who are not engaged, and everyone is well aware of the costs of attrition, as teams are left floundering without the right talent, and productivity takes a hit until new talent is brought in and learns the ropes, all over again.
For an employee to stay engaged or connected to their organisation, some aspects of the relationship are non-negotiable, and go beyond the pay cheque they draw at the end of the month. We have talked about how company culture, work-life harmony, technology adoption, rewards & recognition and career growth are an essential part of employee engagement programs, in a recent blog. We now want to talk about the importance of career growth as a non-negotiable aspect of employee engagement, and why it should be so.
Human beings in general want to grow, both individually and professionally. They seek progressive growth in their careers, as they get to shape their careers with the new skills they imbibe with every new role they undertake. According to a report from IBM, “New Employees are 42% more likely to stay when receiving the training they need to do their job properly”, reducing early turnover and attrition. A job that facilitates growth in one’s career would rank quite high on the list of things valued by employees, making it to the very top in employee engagement trends.
Let us now look at how an employer could make career growth an essential part of their employee engagement programs.
Helping people with their professional development through training need not prove to be a case of finding them better jobs outside the organization, if you can carefully design a career path for them within the company, in line with their engagement and ambition. Lack of access to training and better opportunities is responsible for nearly 40 percent of the turnover at a workplace, according to a survey. Companies that run L&D programs see high employee engagement even as they nurture their talent and build for the future. Organisations need to look beyond the skills that people need to learn so that they can deliver on their jobs. The real benefit in learning would accrue to the organization in having employees who are better trained to deliver on the job, transition to higher responsibilities. Attrition levels take a nosedive, while employees find the skills they acquire will add to their credentials through their extended careers. The motivation provided by such opportunities helps them strive harder to achieve even as expand their horizons along with their skillsets.
Annual performance feedback mechanisms are quickly becoming outdated, especially as younger generations eagerly demand to know how they are doing. Organisations look upon mentoring as a great part of employee engagement and are happy to meet their need by providing them support to grow through mentoring. Mentoring is basically having a person share their knowledge, skills and experience with another to help their growth and progress. Not to be confused with coaching or training, mentoring happens at a personal level, with the sharing of one’s experiences which led to self-development and resolution of challenges faced at the workplace. Mentors today are also focusing on adding industry-specific skills along with soft skills needed on the job to speed up their mentee’s development and quickly set them on the path to further growth in their career. Engaging with a mentor from a different function, department, or location can expand the horizons of an employee in understanding the objectives of the business and engage better by seeking a better fit for themselves. Having access to the support and guidance offered by a mentor could make any employee weather the stresses of the workplace with more confidence. They can also achieve their goals and realize their potential.
According to a report from LinkedIn, 44% of people put personal development and career advancement opportunities as the reasons for their choice of jobs. This is why, it is important to institute promotion programs that are consistent, fair and visible and to make sure that any promotion program instituted happens in a timely fashion, and at frequent intervals. It doesn’t really come as a surprise to know that a poll by Gallup found that 87 percent of the millennial workforce also consider development to be important in a job.
Employees today would never stay at a workplace, where their careers could stagnate. Organisations today vie with each other in creating a learning environment in the workplace, helping employees to learn, grow and advance. They are investing in learning and development programs, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by e-learning platforms which take the whole effort online and on-demand. Set them on the path to constant learning and a path to growth as they turn into valuable assets who keep progressing onward in life.
It is easy to accept the findings of Randstad, which list out the top reasons for leaving a job as: insufficient pay (44%), limited career paths (43%), lack of challenging work (30%), work-life balance (28%), and lack of recognition (27%). Keeping in mind that the future of work is never going to stay static, let us formulate agile strategies to deal with the agents of changes like technology, newer workforces entering the workforces and changing global equations – never forgetting that only the fittest survive.