If You're Not Offering Career Growth, You Could Be Losing Valuable Employees

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Employers see career growth planning as one of the least important drivers of talent management success, but employees are quick to say that they will leave an organization if they can't find career advancement where they are, according to the ADP Research Institute® (ADP RI) report, Fixing the Talent Management Disconnect: Employer Perception vs. Employee Reality. It's critical for businesses to reconcile these views in order to engage and retain their best talent.

Development Opportunities Can Drive Value Proposition

A complimentary ADP RI study reports that 70 percent of midsized business owners believe that employee engagement is critical to organizational success. One way to increase employee engagement is through development opportunities. The truth is that employees want development opportunities, especially within their own firm. However, the study reports that just 15 percent of employees are given development goals for their roles, which is incongruous with their need for a clear path ahead.

Even more, the majority of employees don't see a correlation between advancement and recognition, title and pay. Seventy-two percent of organizations believe performance reviews are important milestones for development, but only about half of employees have this same belief, according to the ADP RI report.

There is also a gap between what employers and employees believe about training. Organizations don't believe they will see a high ROI in training, yet employees want to advance — and training may be the key. If employers don't see an ROI in training, it may be because the training they offer isn't helping their employees succeed.

How to Leverage Talent Mobility

Six out of 10 employees are looking for growth opportunities internally, according to the ADP RI study, but employers may be doing a subpar job of illuminating opportunities to help to meet those needs. The solution could be to focus on internal talent mobility, a practice that goes beyond static succession planning. Talent mobility is about connecting employee skills where they're needed most and developing stronger competencies while simultaneously meeting the needs of the business. In addition, talent mobility takes into account the employee's aspirations and career goals while succession is often just a top-down approach.

The current environment doesn't provide a clear picture for the workforce. According to study, "although employers are confident that the path to advancement is clear and fair, fewer than half of employees feel this is true. The path to success seems cloudy to employees, who are not sure about their prospects to advance and what happens if they meet their goals." While more than half of employers rate their talent management approach highly, only 40 percent of employees would agree.

Offer Training People Actually Want

It's not enough for employers to simply offer training — they need to offer what people actually want to participate in. The study reports that while 77 percent of employees say they have training available to them, just 40 percent took advantage of it in the last year. Creating a path that connects training and development to actual career goals may be the answer to increasing engagement — not just in training programs, but across the enterprise.

For a good, low-risk example of this concept in practice, Hootsuite's stretch assignment program provides a compelling story. Chronicled on a LinkedIn post by the firm's CEO, Ryan Holmes, the program is designed to allow employees to cross-train in other roles, contributing to greater development and organizational performance.

At the end of the day, the primary avenue to success is fairly simple — employers must be more transparent about growth and development opportunities in the business. Employees want these opportunities, and employers likely have them, but if there's a perception by the workforce that these opportunities do not exist, then workers could be likely to seek out employers that can meet their developmental needs.

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