Do your employees feel that they have a living, breathing career with you…
… or are they just turning up for work and slowly switching off?
A great employee will eventually outgrow their current role, but a great employer will have put in place a career development programme to keep them engaged, loyal and happy to stay with the company and evolve within, rather than move to a new role in a new company.
You see, when you hire someone for a role, you’re not just hiring a set of skills or experience, you’re hiring a human being who will change and evolve over time. And that is exactly what should happen. The 30–year–old who you hired as a manager may not want to be a 35 or 40–year–old manager. Their aspirations may be totally different, either moving on up to director positions or moving laterally into different business units. Life may have jumped up and scattered their carefully thought out plans, and what you thought was right for them when they signed on may in fact be totally wrong for them a few years down the line.
So how do you know when things change and how do you step in and correct any negativity or stagnation before it takes hold and does irreparable damage? Well, the answers can often be found way back at the start of their career with you.
Back to the future
During their interview process, a candidate will often ask you about future growth, be that promotions and pay reviews or developmental growth areas like training and development and upskilling their technical abilities. Or it could be a particularly impressive CSR or diversity initiative that drew them to apply in the first place. These are very powerful signals for you to keep front of mind when they join.
Whatever their motivations, once they have started in their new job they will be looking to constantly grow and will remember those exciting interview conversations and will be expecting them to be delivered on. So do you have plans in place with clearly defined time scales – and targets if appropriate – and have you communicated that clearly and in writing? Have you asked for their input into their career development, and not just dictated what you think should happen?
No career is an island
None of us work in isolation, and simple truth is that someone leaving in order to be more fulfilled elsewhere will undoubtedly cause a ripple effect amongst your other employees. It may not lead to an exodus of course (the grass is rarely that green on the other side) but it could sow the seed of doubt in some minds as to whether they too have a future with the business. It’s at that point that you need to be able to refer back to their career development programmes and assess – from both perspectives – whether they are still relevant and exciting plans or whether some updating and re-evaluating needs to happen.
Remember that each employee who currently works for you – and especially the ones who move on – is a potential advocate or ambassador for your brand. They have insider knowledge and experience that trumps any website text, corporate interview patter, or cleverly-worded job adverts. Give them a personal and engaging career with you, built around tangible and aspirational objectives, and challenge them to grow throughout their time with you. Not only will it make them a better employee, but it will resonate out and others will take notice and want to work for your company too.