“If you are not growing, you are dying.” Applicable to life in general, this dramatic phrase applies to career development and growth as well. It is evident that lack of opportunity or career advancement is among the top reasons that people cite when leaving their jobs.
Employees are more engaged and committed when they believe the employer is concerned about their growth and so provides avenues for career progression. As a manager or employer, implementing a career growth plan for each associate is essential.
It directly impacts the success of an organization; the demonstrable commitment to career development improves employee morale, job and career satisfaction, and overall productivity.
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Why Is Career Development Important?
Career or professional development encompasses a combination of training, classes, and/or ongoing education to help one learn and implement new skills and stay up to date on the industry’s best practices.
Aside from the obvious benefits, career progress opportunities also provide employees with a sense of purpose, which promotes employee retention and organizational success in the broader spectrum.
With a career growth plan in place, an organization is less likely to struggle with its talent acquisition strategy framework, primarily because the most desirable talent will remain loyal to your workplace and company.
Ways to Encourage Professional Growth
Securing organizational growth begins with empowering employees; particularly, by letting them map their own career goals. Generally speaking, almost every employee has some sort of plan for their career, but they lack the knowledge or strategy to achieve it.
In instances such as those, the role of a manager is vital. Without mentorship or guidance, your top talent might seek employment elsewhere, and a job that better aligns with their career goals.
Not sure where to start? The guide below describes ways managers can contribute to the professional growth of their subordinates:
Assess Your Team’s Skillsets
It’s critical to gain a thorough understanding of your employees’ strengths. One way to assess their skills is to use the career mapping technique. Career mapping is a three-step process that involves self-assessment, the creation of a custom career map, and a full-scale examination of the opportunities within the organization that align with the employee’s goals.
Presenting your employees with the opportunity to assess their skills doesn’t just reveal their strengths; it also increases their self-confidence. This assessment might also bring to their attention undeveloped skills that they might continuously improve by obtaining the necessary training.
Provide Reimbursement for Educational Courses
Most employees want to enroll in educational courses and certifications to validate and enhance their skills but fail to do so because of the associated expense. Encourage your staff to embrace these learning opportunities by offering full or partial reimbursement.
Celebrate National Career Development Month
Make it a point to celebrate national career development month and let your employees evaluate their current career path and explore new options during that time. Celebrated throughout the month of November, there are several ways to maximize this window of time.
Company membership in organizations such as the National Career Development Association entitles your workforce to join global career development conferences, participate in mentoring programs, and expand their network by connecting with career development professionals.
Some benefits of participating in and celebrating National Career Development Month include:
- Introduction to important social and performance skills
- Exposure to new and emerging career paths
- Development of professional skills
- Groupwork and communal exposure
Promote Training and Development
Training and development are two integral elements of a successful employee career progression plan. Arrange in-house workshops and training programs to improve the skillsets of your employees and further train them on topics about which they are passionate.
Invite internal and external guest speakers to host learning sessions. You might also encourage your workers to share what they have learned at external events with their coworkers.
Offer Horizontal Career Paths
A horizontal career move allows a person to move from one job to another to gain the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience required to progress upward in their career. Employees will be exposed to challenging and exciting work, expand their skill sets, and contribute in new ways when they embrace horizontal exposure to many different and distinct responsibilities. It’s a win-win situation for the organization as well because key positions are ultimately filled by demonstrated performers.
In order for a career development strategy to work, you must create a structured program to help each participant understand how his or her job equates to the success of the organization as a whole, and how individualized career goals intersect with the opportunities available in the workplace.
Offer Mentorship and Promote Job Shadowing
A mentorship program is a critical, long-lasting strategy that every business should implement. A senior team member can offer invaluable insight and professional guidance to new colleagues – advice on how to tackle challenging situations such as insubordination examples, workplace toxicity, and other unique circumstances that might disrupt harmony.
A trusted mentor can help team members develop necessary soft and technical skills and build key relationships in order to expedite their professional growth.
Another way to promote success is to encourage job shadowing, by which one employee observes another in a different role. This is an excellent means of learning new skills and exploring other niches. With job shadowing, you can teach your current employees to fill temporary roles or horizontally promote internal staff. You won’t have to search for the best temp agency in Pittsburgh or any other jurisdiction to find and source talent for the vacant positions.
Career goals cannot be realized unless both the employer and employee work together. Many organizations delay the mention of career progress until annual performance evaluations. While a performance review is an opportune time to review an employee’s accomplishments, strengths, obstacles, and areas for development, it is often not a suitable time to comprehensively discuss and understand an employee’s short and long-term personal and professional goals.
A dedicated career succession plan demonstrates that you want to invest in the future of your high-potential employees and see them evolve into business leaders.
What Is National Career Development Month?
November is the dedicated month for National Career Development. It encourages the organization of different programs and events to learn and share new skills, gain professional exposure, and embrace experiences that accelerate career progression.
What Is the Purpose of Career Day?
On Career Day, an organization (mostly schools) partners with local and regional companies to introduce students to different careers and discuss their future job outlooks with working professionals.
What Is the Purpose of a Career Development Plan?
A career development plan consists of both short-term and long-term career goals. It helps an individual find and build a personalized pathway to professional success.
Why Career Development Can Improve Employee Engagement?
An employee tends to stay with an organization that demonstrates a commitment to employee career development. Such commitment sparks motivation increases job satisfaction and encourages employees to perform at their best, all of which can benefit a business in a variety of ways.