The main challenge for US employers today is attracting and retaining qualified staff. Could an investment in employee career management be the way to overcome this growing issue?
The lingering effects of the Great Resignation has made recruitment and retention harder. But many job seekers still want to create long-term career paths with the right organization. Organizations that invest in the career management process are ahead of the game. So, building an employee-focused culture is the way to attract and retain the best people. Those that do, develop, strengthen, and diversify their talent pool and organization capabilities.
Competition for the best workers has become incredibly fierce. So why should job seekers choose your organization over your rivals? To stand out, you must offer compelling reasons to join your company. Employee career management is what many are looking for and the focus of this article. But what does a career planning investment look like?
Twenty-First Century Career Management
Successful companies develop robust leadership pipelines through employee career management programs. It’s an ongoing process whereby an organization invests time and resources into the development of its employees to maximize their potential. Moreover, effective career development strategies naturally merge into leadership development plans. And that is what helps your company and workforce adapt to the changing demands of today’s dynamic economy.
Investing in career management skills is a win-win for employers and employees. Your company gets to increase worker performance by empowering its talent. And the workers get the career values they want with a developed outline of opportunities to advance within your organization.
|LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report (2019) Study Findings: 94% of employees said they would stay with companies longer that invested in their learning and professional development.|
Career Pathing—A Highly Effective HR Tool
HR managers have a new set of challenges. These are triggered partly by The Great Resignation, which has involved employees of every background and level.
Today’s employees, especially younger generations, do not offer employers loyalty easily. That’s why career pathing can be an effective tool in the HR recruiting arsenal. Career management points employees in directions that help pave the way toward an agreeable career future as part of the organization. When HR offers a workable vision for an employee’s career path, there is less long-term incentive for the employee to leave.
Career development in HR Management (HRM) is more than an offer of work-related experiences. It consists of a well-planned series of long-term career growth incentives. And that leads to increased responsibility, status in the company, control, and rewards. Employee engagement increases when they can see a long-term goal to work towards and a path to achieve their personal career goals.
This table shows the benefits of career management to employers and employees.
|Benefits to Employers||Benefits to Employees|
|Attract & retain new talent|
Help combat skills shortage
Train future leaders (succession planning)
Uncover potential new talent
Increased employee engagement & satisfaction
Long-term cost reductions due to churn
|Company supports long-term career journey|
More job stability & satisfaction
Increased earning potential
Improved knowledge & skills
Motivated to succeed
Ongoing performance reviews
Better alignment with the company & its goals
These combined benefits result in improved employee and organizational performance.
HR’s Role in Preventing Attrition
The US attrition rate continues to rise in post-pandemic America. HRM’s role is to identify why it’s happening within their specific industry. Only then can it act to slow or prevent more of the same. But HRM also knows that many employees quit when they feel stuck in their role without growth opportunities. Indeed, a 2018 study found that a lack of future career development was a key driver of US employee attrition .
It’s also part of HR’s role to ensure workers and prospects feel valued and appreciated. Recognizing and rewarding top talent is the best way to retain employees and stabilize your organization.
Career Management and Leadership Development
Effective career management is critical for the leadership development process. Through purposeful planning, it feeds naturally into your leadership-strengthening strategies. And that, in turn, expands your leadership pipeline initiatives. Ideally, it’s an ongoing activity starting with entry-level employees through to senior positions.
The current labor scarcity has resulted in a shortage of top talent, especially in the middle ranks of organization hierarchy. That’s why savvy companies now focus on internal development where possible. But your best employees are in high demand, and competitors are keen to poach them. You need a plan to retain and reward your best talent.
EWF’s Executive Education Programs
EWF knows what it takes for your leaders to inspire and motivate their workforce. Our executive education offers workshops and programming focused on transformational leadership. They are designed to help leaders better understand themselves and their leadership style, explore their challenges, and strengthen their ability to drive impacts for themselves and their organizations.
Learn How EWF Empowers Leaders for the Challenges of Tomorrow
Engage, Retain, Upskill, and Reskill
Successful leadership development strategies chart the right career paths for the right people. Professional mentors offer career advice and tailored guidance along the way. This approach keeps employees motivated, accountable, and aligned with your organization.
According to a 2022 Gallup report, 65% of the US workforce is disengaged. Likewise, an earlier survey found that highly engaged companies have lower absenteeism and turnover. And it is employee career development that drives engagement and retains staff  . Your organization can protect agains this by engaging employees in learning and development with a goal beyond being better at their current position.
How to Implement a Career Planning Process
Employee career pathing is an organized process that benefits workers and businesses. The idea is to align employees’ career goals and capabilities with company needs. HR management of larger concerns often dovetail career planning with career development and succession planning. These things matter in a world where only 29% of job-hopping millennials feel engaged at work .
Career planning follows a specific process cycle, starting with career exploration.
#1 Self-Assessment Stage
The first stage in the planning process is to explore occupational opportunities. It begins when an entry-level employee joins the organization and is reviewed throughout their career. HR may carry out orientation and induction training to help individuals find their path. It may take a while for the aspiration and goals to materialize with new, younger employees (see next).
#2 The Reality Check
HR departments may work alongside employees to help them realize their career aspirations. HR counseling particularly benefits younger staff who may still need to find their way in the company. It’s only possible to progress to the next stage after deciding on a career direction, or at least narrowing down potential paths.
#3 Collect Career Data
An employee may aspire to follow a particular career trajectory, but is it right for them? For example, someone may dream about becoming an astronaut. But only those with the potential skills, mental state, qualifications, physical fitness, etc., can follow through. The information-gathering stage helps your organization and its employees study career practicality and suitability in greater detail.
#4 Analyze Career Options
This stage requires an in-depth analysis of the data gathered in the previous step. Analyzing all options exposes potential opportunities and non-startes so that employees can make informed decisions about their career future. The process tells you where and how the person can progress from their current position. Some career options may require the employee to shift to another role within your organization. Once all parties agree, together you can prepare a career trajectory for the employee to follow.
#5 Goal Setting
The fifth stage sets specific, achievable goals and the best ways to reach those objectives. Again, it’s a process set up by the HR department in close consultation with the employee. These milestones act as concrete marks of progress along an employee’s outlined career path that they can target and you can use to gauge their success.
Career management should also be an active part of employee reviews. Taking a look at career path goals and what progress has been made to achieving them. As the employee becomes comfortable in maintaining their current role it’s important to recognize the natural progression of pay raise and promotion in addition to how their performance and development activities are helping the employee progress on their career path.
The employee review process should also discuss what obstacles stand in the way of an employee’s career path progression and how you can help to keep them motivated and provide the opportunities needed for them to continue advancing. It is also the right time to reassess the employee’s position and future opportunities. It is common for latent talent or a burgeoning interest to appear that warrants reevaluating the employees career path to keep them engaged.
How to Showcase Your Career Management
It doesn’t matter how impressive your employee career management is if no one knows about it. Over 95% of Millennials through Baby Boomers consider ongoing training a significant attraction for employment. So remember to mention your career progression initiatives wherever you target new job seekers. But be wary of hype when targeting top talent.
A company that over-promises and under-delivers on its career pathing will suffer a high turnover. Instead, be honest and upfront about what you can offer—specifically. When candidates know what to expect, you attract a more targeted applicant.
Highlight Your Career Progression Initiatives
Your career planning initiatives must appeal to prospective employees to attract and retain talent. Education and training that challenges ambitious types and teaches them new and valuable skills will always appeal. Showcase the initiative’s relevance to the advertised role and detail how employees can use them in their job.
EWF’s Corporate Workshops
Why consider EWF’s tailored corporate development and DEI workshops? We cover the vital topics needed to strengthen your organization from the inside. Our programs focus on effective team management, trust, resilience, and culture-building assets. You can choose from lunch-and-learns to multi-session and ongoing leadership development programs. Learn how EWF’s corporate workshops will improve your leadership pipelines, productivity, and staff retention rates.
More Here on EWF’s Corporate Training Workshops
Career Management Closing Comments
Your organization’s greatest asset is its people. With increased competition to recruit and retain great talent it takes something special for your organization to stand out from the crowd and keep employees invested once they are part of your organization.
Career pathing initiatives offer workers an opportunity to envisage, map, and track their future within your company. And, effective career management improves employee engagement, discovers latent talent, and improves retention rates. Again proving that an organization’s investment in an employee’s development directly informs an employee’s investment in their employer’s success.
How prepared are you?
Career Management Resource Links
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