Most managers have a lot of challenges to grapple with on a daily basis, and as such their focus tends to be very much in the here and now. They need to be well-informed and up-to-date about the current workings of the company, the welfare of its employees and general organisational performance.
However, when future planning comes in, it is often considered under the remit of overall company direction and organisational goals. Employee development is another integral forward-focussed area that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Every company wants dynamic, enthusiastic employees, but these individuals require the right assistance and motivation for them to develop and grow. Companies, who neglect taking into account the progression of their workforce, or to provide avenues for skill advancement, will more than likely regret their lack of foresight in the long run.
Conversely, fostering an atmosphere of learning and growing can have far-reaching benefits.
Company Loyalty is Increased
Employees who feel superfluous or unfulfilled in a given job role are much more likely to pursue a career elsewhere. If this is an area of concern for the majority of your workforce, it is likely that you will experience a significant increase in turnover, resulting in increased recruitment and training costs.
On the other hand, employees who are provided with career development opportunities tend to be more loyal to their employers. Employees like to know that they are more than a faceless cog in organisational machinery; they appreciate the idea that the company they work for, has genuine interest in their career and future.
As a direct result, loyal, engaged employees are much more likely to be productive. For SMEs, development planning need not be expensive or complicated. It can take the form of face-to-face, meaningful discussions wherein the manager gives the employees, advice and assistance regarding particular skills to improve.
Recruitment will Become Easier
Companies that place an emphasis on progression and skill building, develop a reputation for caring about their workforce. This is highly attractive to promising employees, who like to know that their careers will be taken seriously and that they won’t remain in the same role, unchallenged, for years.
This reputation helps attract the most ambitious, motivated individuals – exactly the type you want on board to minimise turnover and increase company productivity.
Communication is Enhanced
For career progression to be effective, regular one-to-one meetings and catch-up sessions are utmost necessity. This interaction between the management and employees fosters productive communication, wherein employees can receive feedback and input regarding their current performance levels, and they can ask pertinent questions about what skills they should develop.
This healthy discussion would mean that the management would have a firm idea on how the company is performing as a whole entity, and it gives employees the opportunity to discuss their career goals, including how they would align their skills and competencies with the overall organisational objectives and strategy.
More Skilled Employees
Allowing an employee to develop their skills in a relevant area, means that the company will ultimately benefit from a more experienced and knowledgeable workforce. Plus employees will be more confident and happy to exercise their strengths and abilities on an everyday basis to enhance performance and productivity.
Turnover is reduced
In a Harvard Business Review study, it was revealed that the main cited reason for high-performing employees to quit their jobs was lack of career development support. The simple fact of the matter is, more millennials than ever before are job hopping. It has become, as Forbes terms it, ‘the new normal’.
They are on a constant search for self-improvement, with dreams of scaling the corporate ladder. If they become aware of the fact that their present company doesn’t prioritise advancement, development or progression, they feel unfulfilled and have little incentive to stay. Turnover can be significantly decreased by providing a clear and distinct career path.
Tips for Constructing Personal Development Plans (PDPs)
In order to increase productivity and engagement, each employee should work in close collaboration with their supervisor to construct PDPs.
In order to maximise the efficiency of these plans, HR executives should remember to ask employees important questions regarding what they want from their careers, what skills they want to prioritise, what they think their current strengths are and whether there are any current obstacles to their development.
This information can be readily collected, tracked and stored using appropriate performance management software.
The effort of making progression part of your company’s focus might at first seem daunting, particularly if you already feel as if there are not enough hours in the day. However, taking steps to encourage an atmosphere of education will go a long way to showing your employees that you are just as dedicated to their careers and future progression as they are; this is a sure shot approach to attract longstanding, quality staff.
Authored by: Stuart Hearn, CEO of Clear Review, a company that designs innovative performance management software. Stuart has been working in the HR sector for over 20 years. His past experiences include working for well-known organisations such as Boots, BP, United Biscuits and Sony where he was International HR Director for their Music Publishing division. Stuart holds BA (hons) in Human Resources Management and is a Chartered Member of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development).