From benefits to personal development: the advantages of investing in the career growth of your employees

For workers to perform at their best, organizations must promote autonomy and strong relationships between workers and managers. (Photo: Shutterstock)

As “The Great Reshuffling” spreads across industries, many HR professionals are more determined than ever to increase employee satisfaction and lower replacement costs for their top performers.

The figures of the resignation started to tick around August 2020, following massive pandemic-related changes. As much of the global workforce moved from the office to their home in the spring of 2020, employees reflected on both their personal and professional lives. When asked what benefits they are most interested in going forward, more than half has made professional development and coaching one of its top three priorities – a step change from the previously sought-after benefits.

Related: 4 Ways Companies Can Foster Employee Learning and Development

It’s becoming increasingly apparent to employers that employees no longer appreciate office perks like ping-pong tables and free lunches. It’s not just because remote work has made them obsolete, but also because employees want more control over their careers.

According to LinkedIn, the new world of work is “all about rapid skill development at scale”. Desktop games don’t generate these results, but good learning and development programs do. A more meaningful investment in the careers of your employees, such as coaching or mentoring, not only helps the employee, but will also promote the success of the organization as a whole and, therefore, can also be a significant benefit for the company. ’employer. What kind of benefits can employers expect?

Stronger Relationships

When the world pulled away last March, employers debated the concept of tracking tools to monitor employee productivity. The employees quickly pushed back. They wanted to feel that their employers trusted them and would support them through uncertain times. Instead, it was as if someone was looking suspiciously over their shoulders. For workers to perform at their best, organizations must promote autonomy and strong relationships between workers and managers.

Strong relationships come from investing in leadership development, not monitoring. Good leadership development programs produce better leaders and employees that organizations can trust. For example, coaches and mentors can work one-on-one with employees to hone specific skills, identify areas for growth, and encourage improvement. These investments give employees the tools they need to grow, inside and outside of the workplace. And they benefit employers, who will see engagement rates and productivity levels increase as employees feel more supported, trusted and inspired.

Increased retention and promotion rates

As the pandemic evolved over the past 18 months, many workers reported feeling stuck in their jobs and limited in their upward mobility. As a result, recent trends in employment reports show that employees are ready to jump ship: 95% of workers in a June survey said they were considering quitting their jobs. The second most cited reason for wanting to quit was lack of career development opportunities. The gender and racial disparities are even more striking. For every 100 men promoted to manager, the researchers found that only 85 women were promoted. Of this full sample size, just 71 Hispanic and 60 black women were promoted at the same rate.

Additionally, black workers are more likely to be overrepresented in low-wage, entry-level jobs and underrepresented in management and leadership positions, making them good candidates for mentorship programs that are often inaccessible to them. Implementing mentoring and coaching programs can increase retention and promotion rates among employees regardless of background, but can have a particularly powerful impact on employees from underrepresented backgrounds who face additional leadership hurdles.

Optimized productivity

Career development benefits like mentoring and coaching help level the playing field for remote and in-office employees. Microsoft, Apple and Google are among the large organizations that have committed to a hybrid return-to-work model. While workers welcome the new flexibility, some fear they will be treated like second-class citizens if they stay at home. The right training and development programs can help organizations develop their employees, at all levels, at scale, whether they are in the office or not. Employees can feel supported wherever they are when they receive one-on-one career mentoring. In contrast, an asynchronous-only digital learning tool, which cannot deal with individualized situations in real time, may not have as much impact on their career growth.

For leaders looking to retain current employees and attract top talent, it’s time to put away ping-pong tables and office-independent but less personalized perks like digital-only learning tools. Workers want to grow in an organization that values ​​them enough to invest in leadership development with personal mentors and career coaches. And with the right tools, it is possible for organizations to ensure that they reap the benefits of these investments, by developing and retaining conscious and effective leaders.

Cameron Yarbrough is the co-founder and CEO of Torch Leadership Labs. In this role, Cameron leads business development, sales and marketing and sets the strategic vision for Torch. He brings 15 years of entrepreneurial experience to his role as CEO, as well as a strong background in mindfulness and psychotherapy.

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