There’s a 50-50 chance your top talent already has one foot out the door.
Need proof? Consider that 49% of employees said they plan to look for a new job when asked about their plans for the year in isolved’s HR Trends survey. Although many human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) professionals thought the economic downturn would result in an employer talent market, the economy hasn’t dipped enough for many employees to feel “stuck” in their roles if they aren’t getting what they need from their current employer.
While there are many ways to provide employees with better experiences, offering professional development opportunities can go a long way. In fact, the isolved survey found that 59% of employees said they felt like their current employer could do more to advance their careers.
So, what are you doing to keep your most important asset happy and to support their professional growth?
If your answer isn’t robust, it’s probably time to enhance your organization’s L&D offerings. When it comes to professional development, what you’re doing (or not doing) could be driving your workforce to hit “apply” on a competitor’s job posting.
Here are five strategies that can help boost both the employee experience and employee’ skills so that they aren’t as tempted to browse the job boards:
1. Empower with Self-service
Learning management systems (LMSs) are a great way to centralize and automate professional development efforts. Not only do they allow you to track the completion of essential compliance trainings, but they can host large course libraries with dedicated learning paths to help employees advance their skills and their careers. And self-service makes them instantly accessible with little to no administration on your part. This enables employees to take the courses that matter most to them at their own pace and in their own time.
2. Assign a Coach
Just 13% of the employees surveyed by isolved said that their employer supports them with professional coaching, which means there’s a good chance that setting up a coaching program is a strategy that your organization can benefit from.
Work with the managers in your organization to schedule a series of conversations that focus on individual growth and development (rather than daily tasks) with high-performing employees. Doing so can improve the employer-employee relationship in many ways — not only will your employees feel supported, but also, you’ll also get a better idea of how your employees want to grow within the organization. With this information, you can take steps to develop talent from within while catering to their career aspirations at the same time. Another suggestion? Encourage managers to conduct engagement check-ins (often called “stay interviews”). These are an informal way to see what an employee is most excited about (or not) and can be used to help identify training opportunities.
3. Initiate Job Shadowing
Coaching can also help you identify when employees may be better suited for a different role within your organization. When this is the case, job shadowing can be used to confirm a potential switch in positions or departments.
By initiating a job shadowing program, interested employees can be given the opportunity to follow and closely observe another employee’s role so they can understand what is required in that position. This type of on-the-job training (OJT) gives employees the ability to move into a different role in the company. Additionally, it can help weed out internal candidates that may not be a great fit for a position that they were initially interested in applying for. As a secondary win, it can also build pride and positively influence retention: Employees chosen to be shadowed will feel valued as high performers.
4. Start a Mentorship Program
Mentorships are valuable for many reasons, but especially when it comes to developing leadership skillsets. Despite this, the isolved survey shows that only about one-quarter of employees have access to mentorship opportunities.
Pairing top talent with high-level supervisors can give your employees the boost they need to be more confident managers and decision-makers. The best part is that mentorship programs are easy to implement — simply identify who the mentors will be, which employees are good mentee candidates, and then start a cadence of meetings in which the two can get together to discuss common workforce challenges and opportunities. Mentors can also recommend learning paths within your organization’s LMS that are beneficial to the mentee’s development.
5. Ask Your Workforce
Of course, there are many ways to support the development of your workforce outside of the four tactics listed above, from providing reskilling opportunities to creating a budget to support continuing education. But how do you know which tactic will have the most impact with your workforce? Just ask.
Use a pulse survey to understand what your employees’ expectations are and identify what areas of training and development you should invest more into. The results may surprise you, and at the very least they will provide a starting point to help you develop a strategy that will keep employees off the job boards and motivated to excel within your organization.