The impact of technology on leadership and HR is clearly transformative. It needs to be, to be frank, because the impact of the next generation of workers through their use of technology as a means to develop their careers will be quite unlike anything we have seen before. This is a daunting challenge for employers and one which they can and must seize.
I written several times in the past that young employees are hungry for career development, but frustrated by the slow pace of change in employer attitudes towards them. The consequences of “doing nothing” about career development is no longer an option for employers but many still only see the issue in terms of costs and time spent. But let’s think about the potential upside for a business in accepting the challenge.
The obvious upside of career development is a positive step-change in engagement. Our own research has shown that while less than 20% are very satisfied with their career development opportunities, those who are will be much more likely to plan to remain with their current employer. Other evidence suggests that employees who want (and get) a genuine partnership with employers around career development will register higher levels of engagement and stay for longer.
The other upside is that good career development need not be happy coincidence of interests – it means accepting responsibility on both sides. While employers must accept the challenge to consciously develop the careers of those who work for them, responsibility for its outcome does not rest with them alone. It is employees themselves who need to think carefully about their career decisions and understand their own values, motivators and talents better in order to put together a coherent plan.
Fortunately, there is fantastic technology and software around today to accelerate this process of career learning for both employers and employees. Those who do plan, our research shows, are much more likely to achieve their goals, with managers more likely to listen and understand coherent aspirations and provide jobs that challenge and stretch staff. A career plan that does all this increases the chances of employee loyalty, engagement and productivity.
So the potential is great for employers and employees who accept the career development challenge. There’s not a moment to waste!
Michael Moran is CEO and a founding director of 10Eighty - a business committed to delivering success through people.