Employees Now Prioritise “Career Development” over “Job for Life”

July 23, 20158:25 am566 views

Today, career is seen more from a personal standpoint, as an individual’s journey to deepen and broaden his or her skills and capabilities. An employer can participate in, influence, and gain value from this journey but cannot control it.

Unless organizations recognize this new reality and are willing, prepared, and structured to prioritize career development for employees, they will find it difficult to attract and retain the talent they need to succeed.

Companies that embed career development into their people management systems significantly increase employee engagement and satisfaction, which further translates into greater customer loyalty, higher revenues, reduced talent acquisition costs, and increased retention of key talent.

Today, the career mindset for those with in-demand job skills has taken a 180 degree turn from the “job for life” days. The focus is on a “career for me.” Talented individuals still aspire to work for strong employer brands as previous generations did, but look for employment security within themselves, not the organization.

It’s critical for organizations to recognize the new reality of “career for me” and make the shift – strategically and operationally – from being job providers to being career enablers. This commitment has to go beyond mission statements and hiring promises.

Rather than working their way up the corporate ladder, top talent is more often looking for jobs that enable them to develop their skills and increase their value in a future role, according to a new report released by Right Management, the global workforce consulting arm of ManpowerGroup.

To attract and retain the talent they need to succeed, companies must abandon the hierarchical and often paternalistic people management structures of the past. They need to redefine their relationship with employees as a mutually beneficial partnership and build a culture that encourages personal and professional growth.

See: How to bridge the ‘skills gap’ in war for talent?

Managers need to shift from the old corporate culture that emphasized seniority and time-served, to one that aligns better with employees’ near-term development goals. If not, organizations will find it difficult to attract and retain talent going forward, says the report titled “Fulfilling Careers Instead of Filling Jobs.”

Of the many factors that motivate individuals at work, two thirds of employees believe career conversations works magic. Organizations benefit from the improved engagement and increased productivity that follows when employees are equipped to take on new challenges and opportunities.

Companies can significantly increase employee engagement and reduce turnover by focusing on management strategies that provide clear avenues for growth and prioritize employee development. The number one thing employers can do to engage talent and improve performance is to take a bolder, more proactive approach to creating and facilitating career journeys.

“People rightly see their skills, experience, social networks and ideas as assets—if companies aren’t helping cultivate them further, employees will look elsewhere,” said Mara Swan, global leader of Right Management and Executive Vice President of ManpowerGroup.

Some of the recommendations offered in the report to foster a culture of professional development include:

  • Create an Agile Talent Pipeline: Cross-train, re-skill, and upskill employees to develop a talent pipeline capable of meeting changing business needs
  • Continuous Learning: Understand the career needs and aspirations of all segments of the workforce—from the best and brightest employees to those with high potential but low preparedness — and create developmental programs that encourage continuous learning and growth
  • Provide Opportunities: Provide all employees with opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge to increase their value and employability
  • Develop Career Models: Develop functional and enterprise-wide career models, with career pathways
  • Integrated Resources: Integrate a wide range of developmental resources, including both person-to-person collaboration and technology-enabled learning

Swan added: “Unless your top talent is able to strengthen their skill sets and managers are regularly talking to them about opportunities ahead, pretty soon they’re going to ask: what am I doing here?”

How to embed career development into your work culture?

To attract and engage the best and brightest talent, an essential factor for organizational success is to create a culture that encourages individual career development. While meaningful work connects employees to an organization, empowering them to manage their own future fosters deep engagement.

How can the organization create such a culture? It’s more than just making training programs available to employees. The career development philosophy affects every aspect of the workplace, from who is hired to how they are developed and managed.

Demonstrating that the organization is committed to investing in careers can be a powerful way to position the organization as a talent destination and attract people with the right skills and aptitudes for growth.

Also read: Why Do Employers Miss Out on Recruiting Brightest Talent?

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