05252017

Career Development: 3 Things You Should Be Doing Better

Photo credit: Shutterstock / mrmohock

Is your career development program falling short? Check out these three things you should be doing differently.

Make fit happen. These words are housed on the popular clothing brand Bonobos’ careers page, referring both to their product and their emphasis on helping their talent fit in with the culture and their role.  

Offering career development to employees is crucial to engaging your staff — a concept that is easier said than done. Gallup’s April poll showed that only 33 percent of employees are engaged at work. But if you empower your staff to learn and grow with you, they will be more engaged and find more success.

Let’s take a look at three things you can be doing better with your career development programs:

Make it About Your Employees

Too many organizations use a one-size-fits-all strategy for their career development program. They focus on setting up a plan and making it an obligation.

As West Unified Communication Services’ State of Employee Training 2015 report found, one-third of the 200 full-time employees surveyed said current training programs aren’t productive, and another one-third said the material provided in sessions isn’t interesting or engaging. 

Tip: Create several career development pathways and allow employees to select the paths and programs that fit their individual goals. Not everyone wants to move into a management role, so you shouldn’t require everyone to complete a leadership training program.

Career development programs can vary by topic. Offer courses in areas like emotional intelligence, communication skills and business development. Make sure each of the programs are comprehensive, interactive and kept up-to-date.

Additionally, appoint an HR professional as your “career development guru.” This is who all your employees will go to when they want to see their growth options and establish personalized goals. 

Start on day 1

Career development needs to start right when a new hire joins the team. Emphasize how your company prioritizes their growth in your onboarding process.

Tip: Show new hires all their options for education and professional growth. Produce a visual guide for each role you hire for to demonstrate the mobility they have.

When you start them off, define what success looks like for them and show how their day-to-day efforts contribute to the larger organizational goals. Initiate ‘Monthly Meetups’ to encourage your new hires to engage with people throughout the organization.

Conduct these Monthly Meetups in a way that allows them to see their opportunities for growth and to inspire them with success stories. Then, allot time for open communication so they can mingle and learn how to manage their career development within your organization.

Team them up

Your best resources are often right under your nose. Tap into your current workforce and make the most of on-the-job learning.

This is especially beneficial for younger employees. Gallup’s June 2016 report found that 87 percent of millennials say development is important in a job. 

Tip: Team lower-level employees up with senior staff, but think beyond a mentorship program. Instead, you want a comprehensive career development program that enables employees to develop meaningful, long-term relationships.

Job shadowing, coaching and mentoring are just a portion of this program. You also want them to connect on a personal level so they learn how to communicate with each other and feel more comfortable working together. This sense of comfort and open communication will help the career development initiative be more effective. 

One way to encourage them to develop a personal bond is by assigning each team fun activities to do outside the office, like playing golf or going for a hike. This creates an informal setting they may be more comfortable in. Alternatively, encourage both the younger employee and the senior staff member to teach one another about a hobby they enjoy.

For example, the millennial may teach an executive how to kayak, and the executive may teach the millennial how to play tennis. This kind of fun, engaging interaction gives them something to bond over outside of work.

Then, encourage both of them to share how they perform their job duties, and start a ‘Role Reversal Day.’ One day per quarter, each team switches roles and works in the other person’s shoes.

How are you investing in your employees and encouraging career development?

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