Employees are the lifeblood of any company, and HR needs to ensure their career growth to retain top talent. Unfortunately, many employees feel unchallenged and stagnant in their careers. According to a Gallup study, 87 percent of millennials rate “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as important to them in a job. So how can HR help employees feel fulfilled in their roles and drive career growth within the organization?
In this article, we’ll outline six steps that any HR department can take to help employees reach their career goals in their organization. From developing a structured L&D process to encouraging internal or cross-departmental rotation, these steps will help your department stand out from the rest. Let’s start with understanding what career growth for an individual refers to and why an organization is obligated to ensure its employees’ career growth.
What does career growth for an individual refer to?
Career growth for an individual usually refers to their professional and personal development within the organization. It includes learning new skills, developing new competencies and relationships, and taking on new responsibilities. It also includes seeing their career progress in a positive light, getting recognition for their achievements, and feeling appreciated by the organization. Ensuring employee career growth is an essential part of HR’s job, as it not only helps promote a healthy work environment but also allows employees to reach their full potential.
Career growth for an individual involves both vertical and horizontal growth. Vertical growth might include career advancement, such as getting promoted or taking on a new role. It also involves professional development, such as moving to a different level in their current position, namely by climbing the corporate ladder. On the other hand, horizontal growth might involve increasing knowledge and skills in your field, broadening your skillset, or building new relationships within your industry. It may also affect gaining experience, expanding networks and contacts, and gaining more credibility and respect within your organization. Both are essential for ensuring that you stay ahead of the curve in your field. It also pushes you to continue to grow and develop as an individual.
Why is an organization responsible for the career growth of its employees?
One of the most critical responsibilities of an organization is to help its employees grow and develop their careers. Career growth is essential for employee satisfaction and motivation and contributes to the organization’s overall success. Career growth is critical for employee retention, inspiration, and productivity. When employees feel like they are stagnating or not learning and growing in their role, they are more likely to leave.
An organization should be responsible for the career growth of its employees. This is because it is good for both business and the employees. It’s a win-win situation. The organization benefits from having higher employee engagement and motivation. At the same time, employees benefit from having a clear path for their career development and growth. It also brings positivity to the company culture. You can achieve it by providing the employees with the necessary tools and resources to achieve their career goals. You can also ensure setting the right environment and culture for career growth.
What role do managers play in the career growth of their team members?
As team managers are the ones these employees report directly to, managers have a massive role in employees’ career growth. To foster a team’s career growth, managers need to provide employees with the opportunity to learn and develop their skills. Managers assess and help the employees understand the areas they need to build. What skills are they strong in? What skills do they require further development? Further, managers can help their team in their growth in various ways, such as providing employees with clear long-term goals, informing them about the training and development opportunities offered by the organization, and giving employees constructive feedback on their performance. They can also provide opportunities for employees to solve problems, help them gain self-confidence, and build good relationships with their teammates.
In addition, managers can also help their team members by providing networking opportunities. They may recommend them for employee development plans or assignments. Managers are also responsible for providing guidance, support, and resources to help employees achieve career growth. They should also create an environment that promotes creativity and innovation, encourages teamwork and collaboration, and encourages employees to take risks. By doing so, managers can help their team members reach their full potential and contribute to their success.
6 Steps For HR to Ensure Employees’ Career Growth
1. Having a structured L&D process
If you are looking to develop the career of your employees, you need to have a structured L&D process in place. A well-designed Learning and development process will help you assess the skills and abilities of your employees. It will help them grow in their current roles and in the future. It will also help you identify any gaps in their skills and allow them to acquire the skills they need to progress in their careers. A well-designed L&D process will also help you spot potential candidates for future roles. It will enable you to ensure that your employees are up-to-date with industry trends. HR can do it by recruiting or outsourcing L&D professionals to assess the training and coaching needs of the workforce as they very well know the best way to go ahead with it.
2. Inculcating learning behavior and mindset in the organization
The next step HR can take to help employees reach their career potential is to inculcate a learning behavior and mindset in the organization. It means creating an environment where employees feel comfortable and encouraged to learn new things, take on new challenges, and grow as professionals. By instilling this mindset in the organization from the start, HR can help employees develop a hunger for knowledge, pushing them to grab all the learning opportunities out there. It will benefit them both professionally and personally. Furthermore, by inculcating this mindset, they can set clear growth expectations for employees and hold them accountable for meeting those expectations. One of the ways some companies do this is by making employees contribute a small part of their skill development. This brings employees’ skin into the game. This way, HR can ensure that employees are motivated to do their best work.
3. Initiating reward and recognition programs for individuals who are seriously working on their growth
Another one of the most critical steps that HR professionals can take toward employee growth is initiating reward and recognition programs that recognize employees who are seriously working on their career progression. It will help if you design these programs to recognize employees for their hard work and dedication. It should cover celebrating the achievement of various milestones by employees and encourage them to keep up the excellent work. For example, if an employee completes any skills training programs, HR can give them a small gift to mark that event. Many companies offer rewards such as bonus payments, discounted rates on product purchases, or even cash awards. By rewarding employees in a meaningful way, you can help motivate them to keep up the good work and walk down their desired career path.
4. Enabling managers by providing them with the right resources
HR professionals have a crucial role to play in enabling managers to provide the best possible career growth opportunities for their employees. You can do it by providing them with the right resources, such as employee databases, skill matrix, industry benchmarks, and training materials. By doing this, managers can identify potential top talent and develop them accordingly. Additionally, HR can put the right software tools for managers and organizations to track all this. Further, HR can also help managers connect with industry players and other relevant professionals, enhancing their skillset. In turn, this leads to better career growth prospects for employees. By being a part of employees’ career growth, managers can also contribute to employee succession planning.
5. Put structured mentoring and buddy programs in the organization
For employees to develop and flourish in their careers, they need regular feedback and mentorship. It doesn’t just apply to junior-level employees but all employees in the organization. It is regardless of their experience or role. A well-structured mentoring and buddy program can help connect employees with senior-level professionals. These professionals can provide guidance, advice, and feedback on their skills and career growth. It will also allow them to exchange best practices and develop synergies with their peers. Additionally, buddy programs enable employees to connect with other employees who share similar interests and challenges. This can help foster a supportive work environment. It will help them develop their skillset and climb the corporate ladder faster.
6. Encourage internal rotation of jobs and employees across departments/business units
Another initiative that HR can take to foster employees’ career growth is encouraging the internal rotation of jobs and employees across departments/business units where ever possible. It helps to break down employees’ silos and helps them learn more about the different aspects of the business. It also helps them better understand how the company operates and how they can contribute to its success. In addition, it keeps employees appraised of new opportunities available to them. It also helps them stay tuned to the latest changes in the industry.
These rotations can further help employees gain valuable skills and experience in different areas. It will be possible by allowing them to work in various departments and learn from other staff members. By working in a different department and gaining a better understanding of the company’s operations, employees can help their chances of securing an increase in responsibilities and improve their career ladder. It can help them grow their careers and reach their full potential. It also ensures that they are constantly learning and growing in their positions. Having a system where employees are continually moving around creates a sense of camaraderie and teamwork within the workplace. This is essential for career growth. It will facilitate cross-departmental collaboration, which can help foster innovation and creativity in the workplace.
It’s evident that the times have changed, and with that, so has the way employees view their careers. With a constantly shifting job market, employees seek opportunities to grow and develop within their organizations. To support this growth, HR has a vital role to play. Implementing the six steps to ensure employees’ career growth will help the HR leaders ensure that their organization’s employees reach their career aspirations by providing the necessary support and guidance.