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Why companies should build career development programs

One of the main issues employers have been complaining about in past years is high turnover rates. Indeed, several factors have led to this moment. Nowadays, the digital revolution makes it much easier to find new employment opportunities. Plus, Millennials and Gen Zs are more focused on their personal objectives and well-being.

To make things even more complex, the global health crisis has generated a growing need to redistribute personnel. As a result, some functions have become temporarily or permanently unnecessary for departments and tasks that require more manpower.

Read more: How the pandemic transformed L&D

Consequently, a good answer to all of these issues is building solid career development programs.

Top performance retention and attracting talent

Offering career development programs will prove effective in keeping top-performing employees and hiring the best vacant positions. People who have already been successfully working for the organization will see a future in their current workplace and put in more effort. New hires with relevant resumes and experience will see it as a big bonus. Having room to grow and being offered professional support to do so are excellent incentives for choosing a particular employer.

Up isn’t the only way

Climbing the corporate ladder is not a new concept, but it is a big misconception, especially for the younger generations. Contrary to online viral memes, not all Gen Zs want to become CEOs as soon as they graduate from high school. It’s true that this generation has a more enhanced sense of self-worth and place great value on their time, but it’s not about having managerial jobs. What they want the most is to enjoy what they're doing. Therefore, any career development program should offer the possibility of exploring different roles in various company departments. Instead of focusing solely on leadership, these programs should focus on learning and mastering skills that their employees actually value.

Read more: How HR and L&D departments can stay on top of career mobility

Talent development is a good start

Most companies already have some form of talent development scheme in place. It’s essential not to equate talent with leadership skills. While leaders are critical in any organization and even more so in the current times, no captain can sail the ship independently. Of course, top performance should be rewarded, but this shouldn't be the main focus of talent development. Instead, companies should first talk to their employees if they want to find the best paths. Then, they should evaluate their strengths and work out a plan with benefits for the individual and the organization.

Read more: How companies can Improve their Talent Development and employee retention

Career maps are very useful tools

Since I made a sailing analogy above, I’ll keep with the nautical theme. Sailors have made some amazing geographical discoveries while not knowing exactly where they were going. However, going in blind into turbulent waters is not to the taste of most employees. Career maps are meant to provide orientation and a horizon of expectation for them. The first step in building such a map is self-assessment – the individual explores their strong points and the desired medium or long-term outcome job-wise. Then, there needs to be a discussion with either a manager or an HR specialist to see what positions are best and the milestones that the employee should achieve along the way. The last step is to periodically reevaluate to see if the employee is on the right track, if the position is still available and if there is a need for additional adjustments and support.

Read more: 3 Considerations of modern career development

Job rotation is very effective

We all know those stories about a person (usually a grandparent) who did the same job for decades, was really good at it, and everyone regretted doing so when retirement came. However, modern times are very different. HR people will tell you that it is actually a red flag if a person has spent a long time in the same role as it denotes a lack of innovation and ambition. The practice of job rotation involves the systematic movement of employees in various roles within an organization. Initially designed to give top talent employees a better view and understanding of the entire business, this type of program works very well for workers looking to do something different, not necessarily climb the corporate ladder.

Read more: Why companies should consider the gamification of work

Reskilling is a must for many companies

A bunch of factors has led to organizations having to radically change the way they operate. We have automation tools that can more quickly and cost-effectively perform human tasks. We're going through a global crisis that transformed office jobs into work from home positions. These conditions force companies to reskill their employees either to be able to redistribute them to vacnat positions or to allow them to find elsewhere on the market. It’s better both for a company's brand image and for its financial bottom line if it invests in training and development for its employees rather than deal with job terminations.

Read more: What you need to know about right-skilling employees

Closing thoughts

A positive career climate is always beneficial to nurturing an engaged, loyal, and satisfied workforce. Offering career development programs as part of the benefits package shows the company's dedication to its workers and solidifies its reputation as a sought-after employer.