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Why Continuous Employee Development is No Longer Optional

Why Continuous Employee Development is No Longer Optional

Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends includes a section devoted to careers and the way career progression will change in the future.

Building the 21st-century career” emerged as the third most important trend in the survey, although only nine percent believed they were very ready to deal with it. Deloitte goes on to define such a career as “a series of developmental experiences each offering a person the opportunity to acquire new skills, perspectives, and judgment.”

It’s time to think about career progression as more of a process of constant reinvention. No longer are employees boxed into one category and expected to rise within that. Professionals need to consistently learn new skills to adapt and move about in an ever-changing workforce. In other words, if you have not already done so, it’s time to lose the ladder and switch from infrequent developmental milestones to a model of continuous development. Continuous development starts with pre-boarding and onboarding and continues throughout an employee lifecycle.

What does this mean for employers?

We surveyed our Skillsoft Global Leader Forum, a group comprising top-performing human resources and L&D professionals, for their thoughts on what career development will mean for organizations.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said career development is necessary for companies to attract and train the next generation of organizational leaders, and to grow and develop employees. Forty-two percent of respondents said career development is necessary to attract new talent.

Employees have high expectations of how and where they can grow within an organization. If employees do not see opportunities for career development, they will leave.

Career development also serves a strategic function, a purpose that we sometimes overlook because we assume it only pertains to employee ambitions. Career development is instrumental in supporting an organization’s business objectives and can assist with the alignment of the needs of industry. For example, if you are a manufacturing company and the latest innovation means the current production process is no longer viable, then retraining current employees to perform new roles will enable your organization to adapt.

Are organizations taking a pro-active stance?

Yes and no. Although the majority of respondents indicated that they are pursuing a pro-active alignment with employee development to combat shrinking numbers of qualified workers, none have defined metrics that align career development with strategy. The cost factor is an issue, and why almost half face resistance to providing career development.

As the issue of talent continues to reverberate around HR and executive circles, it will be those companies who recognize and execute strategies around career development which will survive and thrive.

How can an organization move to a lifecycle approach to career development?

Enable employees, not just managers

One of the primary reasons for employee turnover is the lack of career development and coaching from managers. By putting employee development tools in the hands of employees, everyone can get on-demand access to developmental suggestions for their current and future jobs.

Bring disparate processes together

A unified approach to employee development rather than siloed training plans, development plans and career plans can help support the transition to continuous employee development.

Leverage new machine intelligence technology

New tools can uncover non-obvious career development opportunities and recommend developmental activities and career paths based on crowdsourced and data-mined intelligence. Not only are the recommendations more meaningful, but these highly personalized developmental recommendations are also more engaging to employees.

Create an engaging environment for development

One way to improve usage and effectiveness of developmental tools is by tying your employee development programs to social communities and reinforce positive actions via gamification. These peer-supported communities, combined with an opportunity to earn points and badges, increase usage by making the process fun. Finally, one of the easiest ways to improve engagement in the employee development process is by providing access to development tools, resources and content via easy-to-use mobile apps that can support quick, targeted micro-learning.

To learn what else our Global Leader Forum has to say on this subject, check out our Career Development for Your Talent Pool infographic.

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