Lots of directions this individual could take on their journey

Taking on a new employee means taking on responsibility for their ongoing career journey

If you don’t walk that journey with them, they’ll keep on walking right out the door.  

Imagine the scene: you’ve bought yourself a nice new pot plant for your office. You pop it down in the corner and feel pretty proud of yourself for snapping up such a lovely addition to the room. So you head off and think no more about it. A few weeks later you check in on it, and to your dismay, it’s wilted and died. So you buy another, but the same thing happens again. And again, and again, and again.  

All that time and effort and money you’ve wasted finding the same plant over and over again but with nothing to show for it. Maybe there’s another way?  

So the next time you buy that plant you also invest in a watering can and some nutrient-rich soil, and you place it in the sunshine in open view rather than in a dark corner. You tell everyone else about the new plant and work out a rota so that someone is popping in to water it every few days.  

Pretty soon that plant is flourishing and has grown halfway up the wall, adding a new dimension to the office that you hadn’t expected. It’s healthy, thriving, and soon becomes a feature of the office in its own right.   

Are you tending to your employees’ career needs? 

Now wouldn’t you say that extra watering can and soil was money well spent? So why wouldn’t you do the same with your new employees? Their career is just as alive and organic as that plant and it needs the same amount of care and attention. The difference is, they won’t wilt and die if left unattended; they will just get up and walk out and tell everyone they meet how they were left in the corner. Now that is not the kind of branding or reputation you ever want out in the market when you are trying to attract new staff. 

Career development as an attraction and retention tool 

Growing/developing your employees can only benefit your overall brand as well. A motivated, challenged, and engaged employee will be more productive and happier. From a retention perspective, this is critical; it allows you to feel secure that your employees are all working towards something and are focused, and it allows you to redirect your recruitment efforts into adding headcount to the team rather than reactively replacing any disengaged employees who drift off and leave. 

Investing in training and development programmes for employees, based on their individual skills and needs, is a huge part of what could attract employees to work for you. Sure, a strong financial offer is always a factor, but the idea that someone can join you and be developed, learn and come out the other end as a more complete article is a very strong benefit to have in your recruitment arsenal.  

Show don’t tell 

It’s all very well having a website choc-a-bloc full of detail around career development, but in the real world of job interviews, you need something more impactful. How about bringing in another interviewer into the mix who would be a peer of the potential hire and who could talk first-hand about how they have gone through some career development? Providing some time and space for that conversation will bring your career development offering to life and set you apart from other firms who interview in a more traditional way.  

The same goes for bringing someone into the interview who has been at that level but was internally promoted. It’s all about showing momentum and growth. It’s one thing to read about it on a website, but quite another thing to talk to people who have experienced it and talk enthusiastically about their experience.  

The benefit to you as a company 

Happy employees are loyal employees, but even more than that, they will be your best advocates out in the wider market, and that will increase your attraction capabilities in the long run. With living breathing case studies about career development and lots of success stories to tell, you will be able to differentiate yourself from other companies hiring in the same space.  

And best of all, you will create a workforce that is constantly developing new skills that will enhance your company’s ability to stand out and deliver a better, more up-to-date, and desirable service to customers. 

Hiring and retaining is a competitive environment, so think beyond pure salary on offer and the kudos of your company, and think on a human level about what each new employee needs. Listen to those needs, put plans together, and tell those stories to the next generation of potential hires.