Changing expectationsWith employment at a ten year high and skills in high demand, workers know that they can demand more from their employer; and they expect to be rewarded in a meaningful way. Our research shows that almost three-quarters of workers would stay with an employer that recognised and encouraged their potential, yet only 13% think their organisation does so.
By focusing on career management, businesses can provide a benefit with a near-universal appeal to their workers, while also simultaneously investing in their people and giving them the skills they need to contribute even more effectively to the organisation. This is not to denigrate other forms of employee perks: gym memberships and cycle to work schemes have their place, but they lack the universal relevance and interest of career-focused perks.
The leadership challenge
Employee development might begin with mapping out the required policies and programmes, but it requires leaders who can articulate them effectively and have meaningful conversations about career aspirations.
Businesses should not assume that every manager has the skills to have these conversations. Only 37% of managers say that their organisation has provided them with development in people management skills. As effective career conversations are not quick “catch up” chats: they require a certain type of capability that focuses on assessing performance, identifying potential and crafting bespoke career development opportunities that align with the business and the individual.
Only 37% of managers say that their organisation has provided them with development in people management skill
How your managers can hold effective career conversations:
- Prepare: Spend time thinking about direct reports’ current performance and future potential, along with options for development. Come armed with possible topics for discussion
- Set the tone: Agree on objectives and reiterate confidentiality to build trust
- Let them lead: It’s their career after all, so let them speak. Use open questions to encourage dialogue – such as “what would you like to discuss today?”
- Agree an action plan: Set objectives and next steps
- Follow up: Put regular catch-ups in place to check on progress and to offer additional support to implement plans
By focusing on employee development as a benefit, businesses can give themselves a significant advantage in attracting, retaining and engaging top talent whilst simultaneously equipping themselves with better motivated, more highly-skilled staff.