While helping your staff work towards their career goals might not be at the forefront of your priorities, studies suggest that workers who have a clear idea of what they want to achieve within their job are more likely to stay engaged. It seems that helping employees to succeed is one of the most effective ways to keep people focused and maximise their potential. But how can organisations assist their staff in their career development and improve employee retention at the same time?
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
First and foremost, in order to help staff achieve their career ambitions, managers need to have a clear understanding of what those ambitions are. Not only is it useful for managers to know what their employees strive for in their careers, but it can also be beneficial for staff who aren’t sure what direction to take to be able to talk it out with a senior member of the team. By ignoring this vital first step, managers could be leaving skilled employees in roles that aren’t maximising their potential and under-utilising their skills. Performance reviews are a great place for these conversations, but it can also be good to schedule in periodic informal chats throughout the year as well, to give staff a chance to talk openly about where they see their career going and how they’d like it to progress.
People change over time and as new tasks get thrown their way, it could be the case that the direction they saw their career going in is no longer what they envision for themselves. Organisations can sometimes hinder the progression of a team by leaving people in roles that no longer best align with that individual’s skillset. Take a flexible approach and notice when someone is performing above and beyond in a certain area, as it could well be that their role could shift to take on more of those types of assignments. Not only is this beneficial for the person’s career to learn new skills, it also maximises the strengths of the team as a whole for greater results for the business.
Invest in Training
One of the main barriers to helping staff progress and achieve more in their career is a lack of a training budget, but making this investment is beneficial to both individuals and the company as a whole. Businesses need to look on training and qualifications for their staff as a worthwhile investment that helps people to gain more skills that can be put to use to further the company’s goals. And it doesn’t have to always be expensive – allow staff an hour or two a week out of their schedule to focus on learning and building their knowledge in areas they find interesting or useful. This could take the form of sharing knowledge with others in the team, online training courses or reading the latest articles on new technologies or changes to their industry.
Celebrate Success in the Team
Success doesn’t have to be noticed just when milestones are hit – it makes working towards goals much more exciting and motivating when the process is celebrated just as much as the achievement itself. As a manager of a team, it pays to offer encouragement and reinforcement to staff who are making contributions to the team. Even small victories can be noticed, and individuals are more likely to want to continue on the path to their goals if they feel appreciated for their work. Times have changed and for many employees, the thirst for knowledge is greater than their thirst for compensation so as a manager of a team, it’s critical that leaders understand that support and acknowledgement is a top priority.
Encourage Internal Hiring and Transfers
If staff want to progress to new roles and teams, make sure it’s easy for them to do so and that they’re aware of new opportunities that come up within the company. Often, staff can feel stuck in their roles and may feel like they need to look elsewhere in order to progress in their career, but if opportunities in the company are made open, it can help businesses to retain employees that they’ve invested in. Advertising vacancies is the easiest way to ensure that staff are made aware of other roles they can apply for and social portals are also useful for posting opportunities so that all members of the company know about them. It not only helps individuals to progress without feeling the need to leave the company, but it also helps to build a positive relationship between employees and employers.
Help Managers Help their Teams
Managers can only do so much, so companies as a whole need to be able to provide support and the necessary tools to help senior members of staff to encourage their employees. Performance management can be time-consuming without the right software, so HR systems can often be utilised more effectively to help managers carry out appraisals more efficiently. Software is often easy to implement and helps managers to schedule in meetings for career discussions and ensures there is a central place for information and plans to be stored so that everyone can track what was agreed and what next steps involve. It also means that if employees move on or are replaced by other people, both internally or externally, there’s no confusion over what individuals are working towards, which keeps everyone in the loop.
From making use of technology to ensuring that staff feel praised for their achievements and contributions, there are various ways that businesses can help their employees to exceed their career ambitions. Managers need to understand where their staff see their careers going moving forward so that they can ensure that changes in the team or in workflows best align with those goals for suitable progression. In placing learning and development at the top of the list for each individual, staff can feel supported in working towards new roles and responsibilities.