career development

Career development may sound like a huge and frankly daunting concept… especially if you’re a small business owner.

Although it’s tempting to dismiss career development as a luxury that only those larger organisations can afford (after all, they have their Learning and Development Managers and sizable training budgets), this blog aims to outline the different opportunities ALL employers can explore with their teams. We’ll then move on to look at seven key benefits that career development can bring to organisations of all shapes and sizes!

How can I offer my staff career development opportunities?

All employers want to retain the best talent and nurture a workforce who want to continually grow their knowledge and skills. So, here are a few ideas to help you collaborate with your staff and explore development opportunities:

Regular one-to-one conversations help identify how your employees want to develop and what opportunities there may be to facilitate this. These conversations also ensure that your employees take personal responsibility for their career development.

As an employee, creating a five-year plan to capture your aspirations and the steps you need to take to achieve your goals may be helpful. Check out my previous blog, which highlights a simple structure and steps you can take to create your plan. 

Allow your staff time to participate in networking and professional development events such as seminars, conferences and exhibitions.

Identify horizontal development opportunities, such as involvement in meaningful cross-department projects, secondments and colleague shadowing.

Create coaching and mentoring opportunities with other colleagues or professional coaches.

Explore formal qualifications and apprenticeship options. Visit my previous blog for more information on the different types of apprenticeships available. 

Find practical training courses to allow employees to acquire complex skills specific to their role or soft skills that are transferrable to all roles.

Effectively delegate to help your team develop problem-solving, collaborative, and leadership skills.

Look at implementing job rotations to help your team develop new skills, work on strengthening professional relationships and keep them interested and engaged.

Hopefully, you can see that most of these opportunities don’t require an immense learning and development spend. What they do need is careful thought, planning and involvement from the whole organisation.

Why not make career development a regular part of your team meetings and listen to what other ideas your staff may have? Buy-in is critical for making career development a success for everyone involved.

career development

Seven benefits of career development programmes

1. Increased retention
What better way is there to demonstrate to your people that you value their presence in your company and think they’re worth investing in than empowering them to grow and progress? Employees who don’t witness or experience any form of career advancement are more likely to quit their jobs and find somewhere that does offer progression.

Enabling employees to grow within a company can give them a sense of purpose, foster a stronger sense of loyalty, reduce stress and make them feel more confident. Reduce the risk of them moving on to something ‘better’ and help your staff feel like they want to come to work not that they have to.

2. Improved performance
Simply having employees who show up and do the minimum is hardly going to give a great message to other colleagues, clients, customers or investors. Regular conversations about performance, goals and advancement help employees know remarkable things are expected of them, and a little pressure can help bring out the best in them. Just be mindful of working together to agree on realistic goals that benefit the employee and the organisation to prevent unnecessary stress.

Upskilling your current workforce can also lead to fewer work-related errors, more engagement and better productivity. All of which are great for the bottom line!

3. Increased professional development
Career progression typically involves vertical movements to higher-paid positions with more responsibilities. Still, it can also include horizontal travel, either to different roles in the same industry or similar positions in an alternative industry.

Professional development can help strengthen interest and passion in a particular field, enabling employees to enjoy a fulfilling career.

4. Open up new doors for employees
Development opportunities such as being part of multi-department projects or shadowing colleagues allow employees to discover new interests and be exposed to career paths they might not have previously considered.

5. Helps develop problem-solving skills and resilience
Another benefit to boosting the confidence of your staff is the resilience it can build to deal with tricky situations down the road. This may include dealing with challenging clients or tough circumstances in their personal lives.

Whatever the dilemma, having a workforce who can draw on various previous experiences will improve their ability to remain calm, quickly weigh up the pros and cons of an issue and land on the best course of action.

6. Makes the company attractive to new talent
Besides a competitive salary and company benefits, a sound career development programme can be a powerful bargaining chip and help your company stand out from the competition.

7. Enables better succession planning
Instead of waiting for someone to retire or resign and then panicking to backfill a position, planned career development enables you to understand the skills and experience of your workforce, allowing you to make sound decisions and prevent disruption to business operations.

Have you ever heard the phrase “the accidental manager”?! It’s common for high-performing employees to be promoted into leadership roles without the necessary planning and training to enable them to do the role to the best of their ability. A career development programme can equip these employees with opportunities to hone their skills in advance, making the transition as smooth and successful as possible.

Are you interested in your own career development or do you want to learn more about how you can support your employees?

Let’s have a chat and discuss how we can work together on this. You can book your free virtual coffee and chat here.

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