(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by Career Engagement Group, a global consulting firm focused on creating inspiring careers for your employees. Fuel50 is their web-based SaaS solution that allows companies to deliver career engagement to every level of the business. Be sure to download their new whitepaper “Hold on tight – retention is now the issue” and enjoy the post!)
Companies have been very focused on engagement. According to the 2013 Talentkeepers Global Talent and Retention Report, 65% of all organizations budget for engagement initiatives. Don’t get me wrong, engagement is important. But employee engagement is only a piece of the workplace productivity puzzle.
During the Great Recession, businesses slowed their investments in talent acquisition and development. Today, business confidence is growing but the investments into talent strategy are not keeping up with the growth. When this happens, even engaged employees are attracted to new and better job opportunities.
What’s startling about employee attrition is that the majority of it occurs during the first year of employment. Anne Fulton, chief executive officer at Career Engagement Group, says their research shows that 86% of workers leave their jobs because of a lack in career development.
The bottom-line: companies cannot achieve high levels of employee engagement if their employees don’t stay. So it’s only logical that the key to employee engagement is creating an effective employee retention strategy.
Kerr Inkson, professor of management at Massey University in New Zealand, says the secret to employee retention is a concept he coined called “career capital”. It’s the idea that our careers are assets, similar to our homes and personal wealth, and we should tend to them in the same way. Our careers should be evaluated regularly, have ambitious but attainable goals, and remain in a state of constant growth.
According to Inkson, building “career capital” involves three levels of knowledge:
Why is the purpose or meaning that connects us with our career. It’s possible that our feelings about our career evolve over time as we gain more experiences.
How represents the knowledge, skills and abilities we possess. These could be technical, interpersonal, or conceptual in nature. They could also be company or industry specific.
Whom are the relationships we build with co-workers, managers, employees and customers. We often keep relationships over the course of our entire career.
It makes complete sense. We are successful in our career when we are passionate about what we do, have the skills to do our work well, and enjoy the company of the people we work with.
Inkson’s work is very aligned with what’s taking place in corporations today. Companies are looking for employees to take responsibility for their own careers. Additional research from Career Engagement Group shows that over 75% of people are willing to use their own time to invest in learning opportunities.
But here’s the catch – organizations must do their part to ensure that employees develop their career capital in a way that benefits both the employee and the organization. It’s in their best interest. Here are 3 reasons that organizations should help employees develop career capital.
Employee understanding of competency development holds them accountable for their career. Organizations cannot expect employees to own their careers without providing some guidance. For years, companies have told employees what to do in terms of professional development. Give employees the tools, then hold them accountable.
Employees who are responsible for their careers become more employable. We’re not talking about marketability (aka employees finding new jobs). Employability is about brining value to the business. Organizations that give their employees greater control over their careers will see value by increased retention.
Competency development and employability lead to career success. Ultimately, this translates into company success. While Inkson focuses his model on the individual, it’s clear that the better employees are at their jobs, the more it benefits the whole company.
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The concept of developing career capital is something business people can understand. They know how to develop the assets of their business. Similar principles can be applied to careers. The key is building a solid foundation. Just like businesses have mission, vision, and values statements; strategic and operational plans; and marketing strategies, our careers must have the same: purpose, KSAs, and a solid network.
If you’d like to learn more about developing career capital and how it impacts employee retention, be sure to download Career Engagement Group’s new whitepaper: Hold on tight – retention is now the issue. You can also subscribe to their blog.