The One Activity You Must Do to Retain Great Employees
It’s not uncommon for organizations to promote professional development as a job perk, or a reason for potential hires to come on board. The whole notion of training and upskilling can be a career game-changer. It reflects a proactive work culture, one that’s committed to empowering its staff, evolving with the times, and practicing a mindset that supports best practices. It’s also a retention strategy for great employees—a LinkedIn survey showed that 94% of employees would stay at a job longer if the company invested in their career.
Problem is, even with the biggest and best professional development budgets, leaders commonly overlook the importance of a professional development plan. Without a plan, two things happen: 1) there’s no alignment between professional development growth of the people and the organization’s Vital Goals and 2) staff members, once on board, won’t feel like professional development really is important to the organization—and they won’t do it. So the money gets wasted. Consequently, the people never really grow or reach their full potential. Ultimately, that undermines morale, company culture and your organization’s ability to perform and get results.
If these dynamics are playing out in your workplace, here’s what we suggest you do:
Create the right plan. Much like a business plan, build a professional development plan, focusing on the Vital Few goals that align with your business plan as well as any contingency plan you have established for emergencies and/or times when unexpected challenges may arise. Your professional development plan should complement and even support both plans, something MAP can help with if you’re unsure of how to do this effectively. For example, if your business plan includes enhanced technology for your organization, the professional development plan would include tech training that supports that improvement.
Execute, Execute, Execute! Got the budget and resources to take action around your professional development strategies? Then discipline yourself to execute the plan and make good on its strategies. Set aside a regular time on your calendar and give your staff the time and support they need to work on their professional development. This is really important because if people feel they can’t step away from their roles to focus on growth because too much is at risk or problems will surface, then they won’t do it.
Build an environment that validates growth. This is the follow-through piece that ties directly to your plan. If people don’t use what they’ve learned, they’re going to jump ship and go somewhere that they can use their new skills, likely for a higher salary, too. Reinforce the value of professional development and give their learning meaning and purpose, applying that growth to activities that clearly deliver a solid return on investment for your staff members and the organization at large.