5 Ways to Retain Employees Looking to Change Careers

Retain Employees Changing Careers

This article was updated on July 11, 2018.

According to Gallup, 60 percent of millennials would leave their current job for a new opportunity. Job seekers aren't just looking in their fields, either. They're changing career paths seeking growth, better opportunities, higher compensation and more meaning.

Can HR leaders reduce turnover and retain employees changing careers?

Whether you're thinking about how to retain younger talent or how to help your more experienced workforce transition into their second career, HR leaders can support these employees by proactively creating a positive work culture, opening lines of communication and structuring recruiting processes that are friendly to internal candidates.

Here are 5 strategies that HR leadership can use to help retain talented employees looking to change careers.

1. Facilitate an Internal Applicant Process

Recruiting from within is a great strategy for cultivating your next generation of leadership. It can also help you retain talent by opening up opportunities within the organization to people who are looking. A successful internal applicant process provides confidentiality and doesn't penalize employees for considering job changes. Consider developing language that showcases your openness to work with internal candidates thinking about a change. Help them see their experience within the firm as an asset that shows their competence and capability.

2. Have a Clear Policy on Career Path Changes

The number one reason employees are leaving their jobs, according to Brian Kropp, human resources practice leader at business advisory firm CEB, is a lack of growth opportunities, per the Chicago Tribune. Having a clear policy on career paths helps individuals map their trajectory. However, businesses can also encourage nonlinear career paths by offering clear messaging and support.

Consider providing guidance to internal employees thinking about a career switch by offering a meeting with HR staff or career coaches. Extend educational benefits to employees to help them cultivate new skills that can broaden their horizons instead of strictly focusing on their current role. For example, supporting a product manager who wants to transition to a programming role could lead to a knowledgeable software engineer joining your team who also understands the intersection of technology and business.

3. Provide Opportunities to Do Meaningful Work

As career paths become more fluid, employees may seek career changes that allow them to have a bigger impact. According to the ADP Research Institute® report, The Evolution of Work: The Changing Nature of the Global Workplace, today's workforce is more guided by a search for meaning or importance than just earning a paycheck. Businesses can retain talent by helping them transition into these types of roles. For example, an employee might stay with the firm by transitioning into corporate social responsibility, charitable initiatives or a position that allows them to mentor young colleagues.

4. Find Opportunities for Second Careers

Millennials aren't the only ones changing careers. Many older workers also seek new opportunities, whether they've topped out growth in their current field or they're eager for new challenges. According to the American Institute for Economic Research, 82 percent of Americans over 50 who attempted a career change were successful. Many experienced workers have cultivated a host of skills from leadership and general business acumen to institutional knowledge and industry connections that can help them succeed in a variety of roles.

5. Use Analytics to Determine Engagement and Satisfaction Levels

While employee engagement doesn't directly correlate to an impending career change, low engagement levels signal a problem. HCM software is helping HR leaders keep a pulse on how their employees are feeling and performing. If someone's interest is dropping off or there are certain patterns that signal a career change might be imminent, HR analytics can help you identify this before the person leaves. By identifying which individuals may be looking around or thinking about a new professional path, it's possible to conduct outreach and provide resources to help them evaluate their opportunities if they stay with the firm.

Workers change jobs — and careers. It's a reality in today's fast, global marketplace where people want meaningful work, a shot at security and opportunities for growth. Just because an employee is interested in something new doesn't mean you have to lose their expertise. When HR leaders focus on how to retain employees changing careers, they're able to retain key talent and garner the benefits of fresh perspectives across the business.