Are you providing a job for your employees? Are they filling a role and getting paid a salary? Do they come into the office in the morning and leave in the late afternoon? Is that where it begins and ends?
If this is the extent of the employer-employee relationship then you probably don’t need us to point out that, sooner or later, the resignation letter file will be expanding. The hiring and re-hiring merry-go-round may already be in full swing for you.
Providing a career development path for your valued people should be a prime concern for any business – and here are five big reasons why.
The biggest reason of all is to retain employees – no big shock there! Hiring and re-hiring is no good for the business or for the individuals concerned.
Even in these tougher economic times there is a big danger that, unless employees see career development opportunities in their current positions, they will move on at the first opportunity. It’s often said that a salary gets you into a job, but it doesn’t keep you there. This is perfectly true and there are other important factors that need fulfilling to keep a job attractive – among them employee engagement and recognition and, importantly, a career path.
Lack of opportunities is consistently quoted as the second biggest reason for employees leaving jobs, after salary and benefits. Recent surveys by CareerJournal.com and Right Management both estimated around a third of job leavers citing this reason.
Loyalty is a wonderful human characteristic that we all value in all our relationships – be it with our friends and family, our colleagues, our football teams or with our pets. In fact when people leave jobs because they don’t see any future prospects for their career, leaving behind their colleagues is usually cited as the hardest thing to do, because of an inherent sense of connection and loyalty to them.
In the employer-employee relationship, however, loyalty has been downgraded by the prevailing business mentality that values monetary success as the be-all and end-all of the reason for doing something.
Loyalty between a company and their employees is a two-way process. Providing a career path for your people shows that you trust them and are investing in their future, and it will be returned to you in spades, by the level of care and the connection they build with the business. People value loyalty very highly – and so should you.
Providing a well defined career path empowers employees with a sense of working towards something. If they know there is room to grow, then grow they will; I don’t want to get all cheesy on you, but it’s a bit like a tree spreading its roots and growing taller where there is room for it to do so, rather than being restricted in its growth and stunting its development.
Gen Y-ers are keen to do something meaningful. A dead-end job with no development opportunities and just a salary to collect at the end of the month does not usually fit into their global view and they will look elsewhere if you are not motivating them on this level.
A company that can offer a clearly defined career path is in a great position to attract talented new hires, keen to progress. It is a big draw in a recruiting environment where every company is after the best and brightest talent, and where it can be very competitive.
You need to sell your business to potential hires as much as they need to sell their talent to you; providing future opportunities for growth, development and career advancement will help you rise to the top of the pile of businesses they want to work for.
Companies rise to the top of the reputation charts not only due to the quality of their products and services – though Apple may make a good case for that. Nor is it due solely to their excellent systems and processes – though Ford would make a case for that.
Gen Y companies like Google and Facebook are increasingly renowned for the way they work, the working environment they provide and the opportunities for career growth and development.
Of course, these are sizable companies that most reading this can only dream about, but the concept of looking after your employees so they look after you is an important one. Some of the keenest advocates of successful companies are always the employees themselves. Motivated employees who feel their interests and strengths are catered for and cultivated, have a reason to be there beyond a salary; and they talk about you! This helps you build a reputation and, these days, word gets round quickly on social media.
Now you know the benefits of creating a career development path, how do you go about doing that in your company? That’s a topic for another post – look out for it next month. Meanwhile, if you have any comments about this or any other posts please add them below.