Effective retention programmes address all the varied needs of your workforce: a good fit with company culture, mission and values; employee direct report and peer relationships; employee’s need for the correct tools and support to get the job done well; recognition and reward; compensation and benefits; work/life balance and of course both personal and career growth. Today I’d like to delve into the latter.
Best performing companies change and adapt as they grow and this is really only possible if the people they employ are given opportunities to expand their skills sets, take on new challenges, cultivate new behaviours and entertain new ideas. Companies grow when the people inside them grow: when they feel their growth and development is happening alongside that of the organisation. People feel increased loyalty towards a company that invests in them. Make growth a priority and create a learning environment: this way you avoid losing your best people to environments that prioritise their development.
Begin by helping your people realise the importance of identifying their own goals. And then implement regular meetings to chart ways of aligning these goals to the goals of the position, team and organisation through training and development opportunities. Even if there are no direct movements up the ladder available to the person at that time there are always ways to offer growth and development so don’t be afraid to have these conversations. It could be lateral moves within the company or involvement in cross-department projects. Bear in mind that different growth opportunities appeal to different types of people so be sure to ‘individualise’ your approach and consider each of the four following areas as detailed by Victor Lipman, writer on management issues and contributor to Forbes:
- Financial growth. It goes almost without saying, that outstanding employee performance could be rewarded through financial incentives. Of course that’s not always possible, especially when times are lean and business is down. But even when major financial rewards aren’t forthcoming, other kinds of growth opportunities can still motivate.
- Career growth. Talented people generally (not always but often) want to advance in an organisation. Many individuals are highly motivated by loftier titles, added responsibilities, plusher offices, and the respect of others in the organisation… the various components of career advancement.
- Professional growth. Even aside from the tangible benefits of advancing in a company, good employees want to improve their skills and broaden their knowledge. Writers and researchers for Harvard Business Review have identified and described eloquently the motivational power of progress, the importance of making headway on a day-to-day basis. Whether employees are acquiring useful new skills or simply recording small workplace victories, such progress can motivate.
- Personal growth. So-called ‘softer’ aspects of life at work also play a constructive role in motivating.
Offer a spread of learning opportunities encompassing both professional and personal growth from a variety of channels, for example:
- in-house curriculum for skills training and development;
- outside seminars and workshops;
- financing college and continuing education;
- CD/DVD, podcast and online learning;
- having employees present workshops in their areas of expertise; and
- bringing in outside experts to educate employees about subjects that affect their personal lives.
It’s equally important to build in regular feedback sessions as to how the employee is meeting development goals and how this development is aiding the company in its growth. Help them set realistic timeframes and troubleshoot obstacles. Adjust their plan appropriately and recognise the accomplishment of milestones.
Investing in your employees’ growth is a lot less expensive than replacing them when they leave: it’s not just a warm, fuzzy management concept – it’s an active investment in the life and health of your company.
If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, please get in touch.