Overall, the findings are largely positive – the headline statistic reveals that 63% of employees are satisfied with their jobs - this rises to 66% in the public sector.
Of particular interest to HR professionals is the finding that employers need to improve employee development and career progression if they're to hold on to valuable talent. A third of employees feel that they are unlikely to fulfil their career aspirations within their current organisation. Nearly a quarter are dissatisfied with the opportunity they have to develop skills in their job.
Both line managers and HR can have a direct impact on improving this perception of career progression. By implementing effective and regular appraisals and career conversations employees have the medium to air their ambitions – done well, team members will feel listened to, supported and have a clear goal to work towards.
Have the right attitude
Attitude is everything. Team members need to feel that you genuinely care about their career goals and aspirations and that you are not simply going through a tick box exercise. Make career conversations a priority – don’t belittle them by rushing through them or cancelling when workload takes priority.
Conduct career conversations periodically – quarterly or bi-annually as required. Plan the meeting in advance and create a ‘track to run on’ so that all parties get the most value out of the discussion. Ensure that the conversation is recorded so that it can be referred back to at a later date.
The meeting should be followed up with any key points and, if possible, an action plan. Each subsequent meeting should then start with a recap of previous discussions and an update on any action points agreed. This will help you to keep the discussion moving forward.
Having ambition is fantastic but sometimes it may need to be reined in. A leap from post-room to board room is certainly not out of the realms of possibility – it’s been done before – but the journey may need to be broken down into smaller, more manageable steps.
Don’t forget that not everybody will be ambitious in the same way – for some, obtaining or maintaining a work-life balance may be more important than a new job title or hefty pay rise. Establish each team member’s goals and aspirations from the outset and respect their differences.
You may find that you have a better feel for a team member’s strengths than they do themselves. For some, lack of confidence prevents them from aspiring to greater things. That’s not to say you should force or railroad them down a path that they don’t want to go down but gentle coaxing and support can really boost morale and open up doors they hadn’t previously thought possible.
Integrate progression throughout the organisation
Encourage a strong culture of internal mobility where employees are actively encouraged to move between departments and experience different areas of the organisation. Encourage work shadowing and strong inter-departmental communication as the ‘norm’. Not only will all employees have a far better understanding of internal opportunities within other departments but the whole organisation will benefit immeasurably from the increase in communication.