Three reasons you should invest in career development

Natalie Stohr, Senior Manager of HR at online marketing company Glispa, discusses how career development initiatives impact employee engagement, collaboration and employers' unique brand offering.

The most widely recognised reason employees become unhappy and disengaged is due to a lack of vision and growth opportunities. The effects of this disengagement can lead to high turnover, resulting in significant costs for the company: the Centre for American Progress predicts that turnover costs average around 21% of the employee’s annual salary.

By investing in the growth of your employees, you establish an important level of trust and loyalty between the company and its valued workforce. Focusing on career development within your company will help you boost engagement, improve communication and create a strong brand that will help retain and attract top talent. This presents a scalable opportunity to turn good employees into great employees.

1. Increase employee engagement with a career development plan

You spend a lot of time and resources seeking out and hiring the right employees, so it remains important to prioritise investing in them to keep them engaged, motivated and committed to the goals of the company.

With a career development plan in place, each individual has the opportunity to carve a unique path of success with respect to their growth within the company and on a broader professional level. Consequently, the development of each employee’s career is a reciprocal benefit as you will have a more knowledgeable and engaged workforce powering the company.

When building your career development plan, start the conversation with employees, discussing their current job satisfaction levels and short-, medium- and long-term goals.

Setting up a fixed structure is a good start. We use the 70-20-10 rule. This involves investing 70% in daily work activities, improving skills directly related to the role, 20% on interaction with others, which concentrates on typical management and delegation skills, and 10% on concrete training such as seminars and workshops. Regular follow-up meetings in which goals are evaluated are key to ensuring the plan is on track. 

2. Career development plans improve knowledge management

Knowledge transfer, as people pass on their roles and responsibilities to others who join their team, is one part of knowledge management. Another is the value of knowledge sharing within and across departments.

But this does not always happen automatically: International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that up to 50% of company knowledge is not easily accessible. However, a prioritised approach to career development, in which people take on new responsibilities, will improve knowledge exchange and communication within your company as individuals and teams will actively seek out expertise from within the organisation to reach their goals.

Knowledge transfer, when implemented through a career development action plan, delivers to a threefold effect. The first is improved communication amongst teams, as they discover overlaps and shared challenges amongst themselves. The second is a sense of personal achievement as knowledge is passed on to others.

Lastly, the organisation benefits from enhanced productivity due to improved communication and higher engagement from more fulfilled employees. 

3. Invest in employees and you will develop a stronger brand

Jumpstarting your career development initiative goes hand-in-hand with an increased focus on your brand as an employer. If your career development action plan is correctly implemented, the rest will follow including higher engagement and increased retention. All that’s left is to make sure you talk about it!

Up to 75% of job seekers consider the employer’s brand reputation before submitting an application. As a part of your brand, remain transparent about how you invest in building the right team, attracting top talent within the industry and investing in career development. Job applicants and current employees will react to a positive reputation by choosing to engage and grow with the company once they join the team.

To build brand trust, get the news about your company’s culture and achievements out there: share stories of the unique problems you are solving or the team events that make you stand out.

By combining a strong brand reputation with opportunities to develop individually through an established career development plan, great benefits, and a commitment to maintaining a happy, engaged staff, you develop a unique offering. This investment will result in helping you attract people who are excited to work with a company they feel proud to represent.

Successfully fostering career development within your company is achievable with a comprehensive, detailed plan in place. Differentiate yourself as a company by prioritising your employees and it will guarantee a more communicative, engaged and loyal community in return.

Your approach to career development provides the opportunity to inspire action across the company and within your own team. It is an ongoing mission that takes the involvement of everyone—and it’s an important and evolving role to coordinate. 

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