Making Employee Development a Priority

Many companies focus on the outward aspects of their strategic plans and visions. It is important for an organization to know where it is going, and how it plans to reach its goal. Understanding and adapting to changes in the competitive landscape will help an organization reach new heights of success. However, a company does not reach its goals without a functional infrastructure and a well-maintained foundation. One of the critical aspects of keeping the company healthy and vital is leadership’s vision for employee development.

All About Leadership

A successful organization employs staff who are in the right place, doing the right jobs, but few, including top executives, want to do the same job for the rest of their careers. People crave improvement, and they want to have a goal that aligns with the trajectory they envision for their own careers. An organization needs to have a robust plan for personal development for employees.

Studies have shown that the lack of employee development within an organization is one of the major reasons for abrupt exits by junior executives and a lack of consistent, long-term retention within the employee pool. Career-minded professionals are constantly thinking about the next step, and if that next step is not within their current organization, they are networking and considering a move outside the company.

Outstanding leadership within an organization may draw employees from prestigious institutions with excellent academic credentials and strong internship experience, but retaining those employees requires leaders who understand that upward mobility is an integral part of a career trajectory. If the organization does not offer adequate personal development for employees, those same sterling employees are going to start looking elsewhere.

All About Context

While many employees are satisfied with their salary grades and their day-to-day responsibilities, what many find lacking is the formal development of their broader skill sets. Company executives may argue that offering training to employees equips them with skills they will take elsewhere, but the truth is that staff eager for employee development will go elsewhere to get this training if they cannot get it in their current jobs.

Organizational leadership needs to consider not only the current position an employee fills within the organization but also the positions an employee might grow into with the right personal development plan. Providing employees with a vision for their development, gives them the opportunity to realize it as their own. Showing them how their growth within the organization will benefit the organization can help improve retention.

All About Intent

Talented employees want to grow and build new skill sets. They want to achieve more in their careers, and they want to know that their employers support this drive. An organization’s plan for personal development for employees is critical to building employee loyalty (which has been shown to increase not only retention but also productivity). Moreover, employees feel more empowered when management shows a genuine interest in, and concern for, their career tracks. Employees then see the vision for the company’s growth and also understand their place within that vision, which enables them to contribute more effectively.

Promoting from within has the additional benefit of keeping institutional knowledge within the organization. Hiring externally is more complicated than merely finding a candidate who is qualified on paper — an organization has to determine whether that candidate will fit properly within the organization’s culture and make-up. If the organization mentors and elevates from within, not only is it facilitating employee loyalty and retention, it is also retaining a deep wealth of knowledge about company operations and function.

Just because staff seek personal development does not mean they forget what they have learned on the job over the years. Knowing how the company works from the ground-up will help future management understand the intricacies of the organization’s operations and its vision.

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