One of the biggest issues facing businesses — and workers — today is career development. According to a 2015 Gallup survey, most people advanced their careers by changing jobs. Only around 7% advanced within their current places of employment. Workers don’t want to be stuck in a position that feels stagnant or repetitive. Offering poor career development opportunities leads to problems with employee retention and morale.
What Is Career Development?
Career development is the process by which people gain new knowledge and skills in order to advance their career. While many workers develop these skills naturally, others need more help. The wrong environment can stifle any natural development. Companies can help their employees — and themselves — by offering ways to learn. There should also be clear paths of advancement. Areas of training include project management, interpersonal communication, and employee management (for team leaders).
Individuals can take charge of their personal career development by taking a complete inventory of their skills. This allows them to improve areas where they’re weak and to hone areas where they’re naturally gifted.
Poor Career Development Opportunities
Many businesses give their employees training without taking into account individual needs. One person might learn better on the job while another could benefit from a seminar or conference. The next employee might benefit from being given “stretch” assignments — tasks that push them beyond their current level of work. Development should be happening through extra opportunities, such as classes, as well as in the workplace itself.
If workers aren’t finding these opportunities, they will eventually seek out companies with better options.
Improving Career Development
To fix poor employee development, a company must first address its culture and environment. A rigid setting where input is unwelcome will not foster creativity and growth among employees. They should feel confident in finding solutions in their own.
There are many proven career development programs and methods for businesses to use if they don’t feel comfortable designing their own.
Workers can take matters into their own hands by speaking with their supervisors or bosses to see what opportunities are available. Letting a team leader know that you’re willing and able to take on more is often step one to improving your career.