Economic pressures and technological transformation are fueling change. Businesses can’t afford to stand still. To meet the challenges posed by rapid change, organizations need to encourage and facilitate the progression and development of their people. This should be an obvious win-win: opportunities for career development benefit both the organization and its staff.
As businesses invest in people so its people invest in the business. That’s why onboarding is such a critical phase in the development of employees. It’s not just about preparing them for their new role, it’s about showing them pathways to progression. Onboarding is a time when many employees decide whether their future lies with your business. Many new hires who quit within the first six months of taking up a job cite a poor onboarding experience as the reason.
Even if you’ve got onboarding right, you need to continue to create opportunities for employees to progress their careers. By putting the right support in place, businesses can engage and motivate employees. From their perspective, staff need to be able to map out their future and be ready and confident to take on new roles and responsibilities as opportunities arise.
Offering and facilitating progression brings considerable benefits to the organization, helping to retain and grow your own talent rather than buy it in from outside. Staff retention saves costs and helps maintain levels of performance. Having clearly defined paths to progression also keeps people invested in the business.
By setting employees realizable goals and giving them the means to attain them, backed by a system of recognition and rewards, you help keep them motivated. Progression planning helps you to realize potential and develop leaders and a culture of continuous development lets you address skills gaps and upskill from within. This is the ideal picture. But, to provide a system that is fit for the purpose of developing people, we need to recognize the realities of career development today.
The days of a job for life with a well-defined career path are truly gone. Organizations have flattened their structures removing many obvious steps to advancement. Contract working and outsourcing have changed the composition of the workforce. Automation has eliminated some jobs, transformed others, and reconfigured the way we do business. An increase in remote working, triggered in part by the pandemic, has led to a loosening of the ties between an organization and its staff.
Instead of a single career ladder, we have a multilinear approach to working life. It’s been reported that 45% of college graduates will only spend two years or less in a job and a quarter of workers will have had five jobs by the time they reach 35. And, with no clear path ahead in an organization, people are more willing to switch jobs to find better opportunities and a better salary. Shortages in key skills only exacerbate this tendency to job hop.
So, how do progression and development work in a world of increased employee mobility? It’s clear that people are ready to switch jobs multiple times to further their development. This fact only underlines the necessity of having a clear program for progression and development: to attract talent and develop and keep your own people. Indeed, the demand for new skills creates an opportunity to provide upskilling and reskilling in-house so that you retain existing staff and allow them to take on new roles and learn new skills.
With remote workers, who could easily work for other organizations without moving location, you need to reach out and extend to them the same opportunities as those working in the office. That could involve working in a new role, with a new team, taking on a leadership role, or increased remuneration for improved performance or a new job.
Above all, organizations need to be serious and explicit that career and people development is part of their ethos and culture and tied to employee welfare and performance. Even if you can’t hold on to people for life, offering them the chance to progress and develop is critical to getting the best out of them for the time they are with you. A clear policy of continuous development is mutually beneficial. It creates a virtuous upward spiral as people find a reason to stay, develop new skills, adopt new roles, and perform better.
The picture of career progression is no longer clear-cut, with a single defined pathway. So we need to create a learning and development environment that takes account of the disruption to job roles and career opportunities and responds to the challenges.
In today’s climate businesses have to keep on the move. And, as the way you do business changes, you need to have your people with you. That means implementing a clear program for progression and development. Businesses that don’t risk losing key assets. While those that do attract and retain talent and continue to operate with maximum performance.
Making continuous learning possible by deploying digital content via a Learning Management System as part of a CPD program ensures you get the greatest potential out of your people and positions your organization to meet the challenges ahead.
Get in touch to find out how Learning Pool can help you with this process.
Patricia has been with Learning Pool since 2015, working within the Service Delivery team, having previously worked within the Financial Services and Telecommunications industries.
Key projects supported and delivered by Patricia include a number of cross-functional internal projects such as LMS upgrades and customer migration projects.
Patricia is an effective communicator who is skilled in change and project management who will work with your organisation with an open, enthusiastic and hands-on approach.
In her spare time, Patricia likes to spend time with her family and when she gets a chance, get out for a run with her running group.
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