Why Employee Development is Important

Think of the last time you really felt personally aligned with your job or the mission of your organization. Or maybe try picturing the last time you felt both fulfilled and challenged by the projects and tasks you were charged with completing. When was the last time, if ever, you had a clear direction for career development with defined goals? Did you ever have a job where your boss met with you more than once per year to review your performance?

For your sake and your employer’s, I hope the answer to all, or at least some, of the questions above is your current job. If you never have felt that way, or if it’s been a long time since you’ve felt warm and fuzzy about your work situation, I’d take a guess and say that you are probably looking around for a new gig. You’re not alone either, according to a survey by CareerBuilder, one in five employees plans on leaving their job in 2014.

One of the recurring themes in studies that I’ve reviewed recently is how important employee development ranks in overall job satisfaction and engagement.

From the CareerBuilder Survey:

Offering frequent recognition, merit bonuses, training programs and clearly defined career paths are important ways to show workers what they mean to the company […].

From the Harvard Business Review, “Why Top Young Managers Are in a Nonstop Job Hunt:”

Dissatisfaction with some employee-development efforts appears to fuel many early exits. Workers reported that companies generally satisfy their needs for on-the-job development and that they value these opportunities, which include high-visibility positions and significant increases in responsibility. But they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring, and coaching—things they also value highly.

From CultureAmp, “With Development Opportunities, A Good Manager Matters,” based on their 2013 ‘New Tech’ Benchmark Report:

When we looked at the percentage of variation in team commitment we could predict with team ratings we found that the effect of career development and leadership far outweighed the effects of immediate managers and pay. The effect of career development ratings was substantially larger than any other factor.

And CultureAmp’s answer to the question, “Do people leave managers, not companies?”

No, people are more likely to leave companies that don’t provide them with good development opportunities and leadership. Even good managers are likely to struggle to retain key employees and manage team retention rates if these things are not looked after.

Development blog image 1 for 7.8Graphic Source: CultureAmp

In addition, a study conducted by Gallup last year shows that only 13% of the worldwide workforce is actively engaged at work. “In other words, about one in eight workers are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.” The rest of these workers are largely unproductive, and there is great concern their general malaise and negative attitudes could spread jeopardizing entire organizations.

So why aren’t more companies making the investment in their people? According to the HBR study, “Employers are understandably reluctant to make big investments in workers who might not stay long. But this creates a vicious circle: Companies won’t train workers because they might leave, and workers leave because they don’t get training.”

The bottom line is this – when people are given the opportunity to advance, they become invested, your customers benefit from the increased productivity and your top talent sticks around. Now isn’t that an idea worth exploring?

Author: Erin Kelley @MsErinKelley, Vice President Professional Development and Enablement, ANNUITAS







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