Why Invest in Career Development?
By Kristen Leverone on March 28, 2013
Many companies are struggling to gain a comprehensive view of their talent, the skills that currently exist across the organization, and what skills will be needed in the future. This makes long-term planning difficult and puts objectives at risk. However, we are seeing a trend in some organizations to invest more in career development for employees at all levels as a way to address current and impending skill gaps, and as a way to prepare for growth and innovation. These companies recognize that without the right people with the right skills, they will be too slow and ill-equipped to stay competitive – whatever the economic conditions.
A recent LHH survey reports that 91% of employees say career development is vital. Employees today recognize the importance of keeping their skills sharp in order to remain relevant and competitive. They are willing and interested in taking on new opportunities and honing new skills. Companies have a terrific opportunity to tap this enthusiasm and offer learning and development programs that foster career growth across functions, regions and business groups. This is a key strategy to ensuring organizations retain and engage talent, boost productivity and performance, and remain competitive.
Unfortunately, we know that few employees feel their career development needs are being addressed. In an LHH poll, most workers reported that their managers were not particularly interested in helping them develop in their careers. What can organizations do to address this?
- Provide employees with information and awareness about learning opportunities, stretch projects and career options
- Provide employees with tools and resources to learn new skills, interact with colleagues in other functions and partner with more senior level employees
- Support managers with coaching on how to conduct meaningful career conversations and provide constructive feedback that is critical to development
Career development needs to be viewed as a priority, not as a hindrance; an accelerator rather than an obstacle. With the right strategy, organizations can help employees build competencies, achieve goals and chart career paths that are aligned with the needs of the individual and the business.
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