5 Ways to Look After Your Employee’s Career Development for the Long Term
1. Get to know your employees
It’s surprising how little employers actually know about their employees. Many go to great lengths to explore their potential workers when they’re recruiting them. However, once they have employed them, their needs and desires and their hopes and expectations get lost within the confines of a performance management process controlled by the employer. Such a process is not always as open and transparent as the selection process might have been. Research evidence shows that employers utilize well less than 100% of their staff’s potential. Therefore, understanding your people is a very useful start point. When organizations understand that and also take a look at employees’ output, they can make better judgments about longer term effectiveness and what the workers need in terms of learning and growth. They can ask questions like how much their employees’ attitude has been put to the test and how robust and resilient are they. Do you, as the employer, really understand your team members’ position? Have you ever had that discussion with them? Have you ever really thought to understand that person in terms of their working life?
2. Seek out value
It’s very difficult to know what is best for both the employee and the employer. Sitting within that reality are our fundamental issues around what value the organization has that will help it sustain itself for the long haul. We could be talking 30 years plus. But it’s also important to identify where the best value for the individual worker and indeed the team and manager is. It’s this rich terrain that encourages development from the individual’s end of things. It’s about risk management. The organization has to assure itself that it gets good value every day over the long term.
3. Build relationships
The employer needs to focus on creating a relationship with their employee that goes way beyond where they are now. There is a lot of posturing and positioning and politicking that takes place as people manage their careers. It may well be endemic, particularly in times of change. The challenge for the employer is to create a deep and trusting relationship with its team when everyone’s going through those day-to-day dramas.
4. Communicate often
Speak openly and regularly to your employees, particularly those that you see as having a long-term future with the company. We’re not just talking about those who you think are going to be leaders but also those who you see as being in the ‘engine room’ of the business in the long term. The worst thing for an employee is surprise. The only way to avoid a culture of surprise within your organization is to communicate regularly. What ‘regularly’ means for you will be based on what is right for your business. Generally speaking, don’t let yourself believe an annual appraisal process is enough. We’re talking here about something much more regular.
5. Be willing to let go
If you cannot provide growth to employees who felt at some point that their long-term career development process would be more successful than it has been with you, you have to let them go. By keeping them you are being disingenuous. Another reason why they may need to be let go is because, from the organization’s perspective, they’ve become more of a liability to you. Don’t be afraid of letting them go. There is always the option of development of an ex-employee who you still think is good. Former employees make up a pool of talent that should not be lost to you just because they’ve left. Stay connected with them as they pursue their career path in other places. If they were good for you once, they can be good for you again.
By Position Ignition (www.positionignition.com) and the Career Ignition Club (www.careerignitionclub.com), the UK’s leading career change and career development company and platform. Also the author of 125 LinkedIn Job Search Tips (http://www.positionignition.com/100-linkedin-job-search-tips). Follow @PosIgnition for more help with your career challenges.