With employee attrition at an all-time high, employers are struggling to find out what workers want.
The answer, for many, is greater meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in their careers. It’s a widespread phenomenon we’re calling the Great Realization.
One way that companies can meet this challenge head-on is by providing a line of sight to a career that allows employees to learn, grow, and have a positive impact. Call it upskilling, training or career pathing, companies that meet these needs will not only drive productivity and retention of their current talent, but help to attract the best talent in the market.
Stop Just Throwing Money at Today’s Worker
Many hiring managers make the mistake of thinking that it’s all about money. Numerous candidates now have trillions more in savings than they did before the pandemic, so they may be less concerned with salary. And throwing money at an enhanced talent search is bound to be equally fruitless—the candidate that matches your pre-pandemic job description may not exist in a post-pandemic world.
Instead, consider what makes today’s worker feel energized and engaged. In a Gallup report, 87% of millennials said that opportunities for growth and development were very important considerations for job satisfaction. 67% of other age groups felt the same.
If current and potential employees see a clear career path to learn, grow, and be connected to impactful and meaningful work, they will feel motivated and far more likely to stay. This necessitates alignment between individuals’ career goals and an employer’s approach to creating career growth opportunities.
5 things you can do boost employee career growth
Here are some ideas to help you build a career development strategy that will attract and retain talent. These ideas go hand-in-hand with enhanced onboarding and improved recruiting.
Broaden your definition of career growth:
Ensure that your organization has a broad definition of career growth beyond just promotions. Think of ways workers can grow in role, grow in function, redeploy across functions, even grow outside. Today, careers are much more of a lattice than a ladder. And it is important to even consider development outside of the organization, like the benefits that can come from volunteering in the community on boards or committees.
Empower employees to own their career:
When employees take ownership of their career, they feel a sense of purpose and belonging. Encourage them to explore their strengths and values and how they align these to the organization. Ensuring employees have mechanisms for getting feedback like 360 tools and career assessments can help. It is also important to teach employees how to network across the organization.
Train leaders as career coaches:
All managers should be expected to act as career coaches, using powerful questions to help employees explore their connection to their work. Questions such as, “What gets you excited at work?” “What is your dream job?” “How can I support you in making progress toward it?” Through coaching, managers can help employees uncover deeper meaning and purpose as well as grow for the future. These coaching conversations will also make employees feel heard and valued. If managers are reluctant to adopt this role or are still learning how to coach, enlist certified career coaches.
Enlist technology that enables career mobility:
HR competency software such as
Certain software allows you to map out the competencies needed by the organization in the future, benchmark your workforce against these competencies, and align employees with the roles that best match their skillsets. These tools use AI to support career pathing for individuals, which can be especially helpful in large complex organizations where opportunities may be hard to identify.
Accelerate careers of underrepresented groups:
Business Resource Groups (BRGs) are one way to foster inclusiveness and enhance professional growth, but they may not be enough on their own. Consider establishing a mentorship program within the BRG or through another formal program or informal network. It is also important to provide mentors with the support they need to understand their role and the specific ways they can support their mentees.
Those companies will successfully navigate the Great Realization and cross the finish line as winners in the greatest talent contest in history.