It’s no surprise that talent management is a key issue for organizations today. And I’m not talking about just in the United States. Employers all over the world are experiencing challenges finding the best talent. But hiring is only one piece of the puzzle. Once you hire that great candidate, now you have to retain them.
That’s why I was very excited to snag an advance copy of Alexandra Levit’s “Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future”. I’ve participated on conference panels with her and we’re both members of the Workforce Institute at Kronos advisory board. She’s a super smart business pro and I’m truly honored to call her a friend.
One of the chapters in the book that really spoke to me directly relates to employee retention. It’s the idea that employees want a say in their own career development. Personally, I can’t help but think this is a result of the edict that organizations gave to companies during the Great Recession – own your career development. And employees said, “Okay.” But now employees are saying, “Here’s what we want to develop our careers.”
My takeaway is that a decade ago when organizations said, “own your career”, they didn’t necessarily anticipate that employees wouldn’t want to give it back. Hate to say it, but my guess is employers thought when they’re ready to get back in the driver’s seat of career management, employees will happily relinquish it. Nope. Sorry, that’s not happening. In “Humanity Works”, there are three reasons presented for this disconnect:
- Organizations aren’t sharing with employees what career development looks like and the role they can play.
- Organizations are sharing career development roadmaps, but not in a way that resonates with employees.
- Organizations don’t have any idea what employees expect when it comes to career development.
It’s important to note that, when we talk about career development, we’re not always referring to promotions. Employees understand that career development is about experiences. I can totally relate to this. In thinking back on my own career, there were opportunities I had as a manager that some vice presidents never get. So here are six activities to think about when it comes to employee career development:
- Roles and responsibilities. Again, it’s possible that organizations can’t change an employee’s job title but a little shift in responsibilities could make a huge difference.
- Technology. Give employees access to new technology. Employees are accustomed to testing and using various technologies. This doesn’t mean you should not hold employees accountable for data security.
- Learning and development. It’s time for organizations to view their training sessions as more than simply training. Organizations can turn these sessions into something more impactful for employees.
- Flexible work and sabbaticals. Organizations willing to offer flexible work might find that employees use this time to develop their skills. Holding them accountable for the work (versus the time) could be a benefit.
- Job sharing and rotations. Personally, I believe many organizations used to do these things back in the 1990s but have let them fall to the wayside. It’s time to bring them back because when done right – everyone wins.
- Temporary assignments and special projects. These opportunities can give employees the chance to use skills they don’t use every day AND meet people in the company they don’t normally work with.
Of course, I’m only sharing a snippet of the takeaways you’ll get from “Humanity Works”. You won’t be sorry ordering this one.
Companies that are waiting for their talent management challenges to disappear are going to be waiting a long time. It’s time for organizations to develop a talent management strategy. One that not only includes how to find the best talent, but how to keep them. Because the last thing anyone wants is to spend company resources finding employees to have them leave after a few months.12