Now that the gold-plated pension is a thing of the past, some businesses are trying to make themselves more attractive to both prospective and existing employees with enticements such as fresh fruit in the office, early finishes on employee birthdays and so-called “duvet days". But when a candidate has a choice of employers open to them, it’s unlikely that their decision will be swayed by a bowl of apples. Instead, businesses should be looking at creating career roadmaps, and providing the support and opportunity for people to advance and excel in their job, to the advantage of everyone.
With employment at a ten year high and skills in high demand, workers know that they can demand more from their employer; and they expect to be rewarded in a meaningful way. Our research shows that almost three-quarters of workers would stay with an employer that recognised and encouraged their potential, yet only 13% think their organisation does so.
By focusing on career management, businesses can provide a benefit with a near-universal appeal to their workers, while also simultaneously investing in their people and giving them the skills they need to contribute even more effectively to the organisation. This is not to denigrate other forms of employee perks: gym memberships and cycle to work schemes have their place, but they lack the universal relevance and interest of career-focused perks.
The leadership challenge
Employee development might begin with mapping out the required policies and programmes, but it requires leaders who can articulate them effectively and have meaningful conversations about career aspirations.
Businesses should not assume that every manager has the skills to have these conversations. Only 37% of managers say that their organisation has provided them with development in people management skills. As effective career conversations are not quick “catch up” chats: they require a certain type of capability that focuses on assessing performance, identifying potential and crafting bespoke career development opportunities that align with the business and the individual.
How your managers can hold effective career conversations:
- Prepare: Spend time thinking about direct reports’ current performance and future potential, along with options for development. Come armed with possible topics for discussion
- Set the tone: Agree on objectives and reiterate confidentiality to build trust
- Let them lead: It’s their career after all, so let them speak. Use open questions to encourage dialogue – such as “what would you like to discuss today?”
- Agree an action plan: Set objectives and next steps
- Follow up: Put regular catch-ups in place to check on progress and to offer additional support to implement plans
By focusing on employee development as a benefit, businesses can give themselves a significant advantage in attracting, retaining and engaging top talent whilst simultaneously equipping themselves with better motivated, more highly-skilled staff.
If you want to know more about how LHH Penna can help equip your managers with the skills and capabilities to have effective career conversations, call 020 7933 8333 or email [email protected]. Visit lhhpenna.com for more details.