In celebration of American Education Week, which promotes parent and educator collaboration, Human Capital understands the value of promoting career development and would like to promote collaboration between employers and employees.
Over half the workforce (68%) believe training and development are the most important workplace policy.
Here are some ways employers can promote career development.
SMART is the mnemonic device used for goal setting, which refers to:
Specific: meaning that the goal should be simple, sensible, and significant
Measurable: meaning that the goal is data-driven or able to be measured in a meaningful way
Achievable: meaning that the goal is attainable
Relevant: meaning the goal is reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based
Time-bound: meaning the goal is to be attained within a specified timeframe
Utilizing SMART goals to guide professional growth and career development, goal setting may be a formalized process. To foster SMART goal success, managers should provide the resources, tools, and support to set employees up for success. Additionally, managers should assist employees in tracking their progress on their goals to ensure the results are documented, employees are rewarded, and career development can continue.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
Though your standard workaholic believes a job well done alleviates the stress of failure and oftentimes produces high-volume, top quality work, it can also be detrimental to long-term careers, as well as employees’ general health. By encouraging a work-life balance, employees can work smarter, boost efficiency, and enjoy their time outside of the office.
Robert Half reported 40% of employees prioritize personal life over careers moving forward, which places even more burden on employers to support work-life balance.
Lack of work-life balance can lead to employee burnout, lower productivity, and poor health. All of these factors impact an employee’s ability to grow within their roles and organizations. One way to encourage work-life balance is encouraging employees to use paid time off.
As the workforce is comprised of different generations, it is critical that employers are attuned to what their employees not only desire in terms of career development, but also provide the support for them to succeed. For example, a Gen-Z employee may be interested in learning new, essential skills, but may prefer a short-term plan than outlining a five to 10-year career plan. Conversely, employees nearing retirement may be more interested in short-term goals, such as highlighting a path to achieve their final career goals.
Additionally, a common misconception to career development and growth is that management is the end goal. While most companies invest in managerial positions (i.e., higher salaries, added benefits, organizational hierarchical rank), but fail to realize that not all employees are equipped or even seeking managerial positions. Companies should evaluate career progressions where status and compensation increase without managerial duties. A simple title change and compensatory increase without adding oversight of other employees may benefit an employee seeking career development absent managerial tasks. For example, a marketing coordinator who excels at their role but prefers not to manage others could move into a marketing specialist role. If they’d like to progress further, adding “senior” to their current role can give them the career advancement they seek without the stress of management responsibilities.
Finally, some ways to upskill include cross-training, continued training, learning new skills via virtual courses or webinars, and tuition assistance. Cross-training offers unique skills across various departments that can help shape an incredibly versatile workforce. Virtual training courses or webinars are great tools employers can promote for employee growth and career development. Tuition assistance can be useful for employees looking to climb the ranks in positions that rely on continued education. Offering partial or full tuition reimbursement, or even financial assistance for books or school supplies can promote continued learning for your employees.
Building Soft Skills
Soft skills are oftentimes underrated and even less likely to be promoted or developed throughout career development. One way to assist in building employees’ soft skills is opening discussions about what the employee truly desires in their career. While a promotion is always nice, if the promotion requires them to undertake tasks they do not enjoy or do not allot time to participate in current projects they enjoy, how much meaning will they find in their work?
The next step in building soft skills is providing the mentoring and training needed to succeed. Creating a formal mentoring program can offer employers and employees significant benefits. 97% of professionals who have a mentor believe mentors are valuable, yet only 37% have obtained a mentor. In addition to knowledge transfer from more seasoned professionals to younger professionals, both parties can learn integral insights and professional guidance from each other. For example, more senior employees may offer industry best practices and leadership support, whereas younger professionals can offer fresh ideas and teach the ins and outs of newer technology.
As many businesses have shifted to remote work environments, now is the time to promote career development. If you’re struggling with where to start, please contact Human Capital. Our human resources specialists can offer industry best practices, tips for promoting career development, and developing training programs to better equip your employees for higher successes.
 National Mentoring Day