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Does Your Business Focus on Career Development? Here's Why It Should.

By Maurie Backman - Mar 12, 2019 at 8:48AM

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Employees these days want help in moving their careers forward. And employers can benefit from getting on board.

It's not enough to offer your employees a reasonable salary and decent benefits and call it a day. Workers expect more from their employers, and they especially want reassurance that their careers are moving forward.

Unfortunately, most companies don't do enough to foster career development, according to Bridge, an employee development suite. In a recent study, 79% of employees said they wanted monthly or quarterly career conversations with their managers, and only 2% felt that once-a-year career checks would suffice. Yet many companies uphold a practice of conducting a single performance review each year without regular check-ins.

Group of professionally dressed adults gathering around a table

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

If your company has been falling down on the career development front, your business is at risk of losing key employees or, in a less extreme case, seeing a decline in motivation and output. If you'd rather not let that happen, it pays to focus on career development. Here's how to start.

1. Carve out one-on-one time with each employee

Finding the time to give your workers individual attention isn't easy when you have a business to run, but it's crucial that employees feel that they're not being neglected. As such, it pays to schedule one-on-one time with your staff members throughout the year, and not just once annually to discuss their performance and career objectives. Some companies have a practice of holding weekly one-on-one meetings between managers and direct reports, but if you can't swing that, aim for monthly, or at least quarterly, discussions, as opposed to holding them once every 12 months.

2. Discuss your workers' goals

When you sit down to talk with your employees about their individual progress, you shouldn't just provide feedback about the things they've been doing right and wrong. You should also make sure to ask what they're looking for on the job both now and in the future. Those discussions might help inform which projects you assign to which people to cater to their interests.

3. Invest in your employees' success

It sometimes takes money to develop talent. If you want to show your employees that you care about their career progress, be ready to invest in their personal growth. Offering reimbursement for training courses, seminars, and business conferences, for example, is a good way to prompt employees to be proactive in advancing their skills.

4. Start a mentoring program

Connecting newer hires with seasoned employees is a good way for the former group to benefit from the latter group's experience. Rolling out a mentoring program is a solid step toward fostering career development at your place of work, and best of all, you can do so at virtually no cost. And while those on the receiving end of support and advice stand to benefit greatly, your long-standing employees might learn a thing or two from their less tenured counterparts as well.

Supporting your workers' career development is a great way to retain talent and get more value out of your current staff. And if you're looking to expand your team, it never hurts to have a reputation as a company that supports its employees in meeting their goals.

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