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Implement professional development and prosper

  13th May 2019       Hannah Darby
 Accounting & Finance, Client, Engineering, Science & Space, Employment, Human Resources, IT & Software Solutions, Office & Commercial, Recruitment

Finding and then retaining good employees is one of recruitment’s biggest challenges, especially as the ‘job for life’ work ethic has been overthrown by a more fluid career pattern. So it’s worth knowing that there is a direct correlation between a lack of training and development and resignations.

In fact, research published by Penna revealed almost two-thirds of employees say a lack of career development with their current employer would be enough to make them start looking for a new job.

When talent becomes transient

Today’s career dissatisfaction is set against a backdrop of career transiency. While we hate to malign the Millennial, research from Deloitte reveals almost half of Millennials plan to leave their current job within two years of starting – a trend that’s passing down the generations.

Meeting the challenge of ever-changing industries

Today, many businesses are also standing on ‘shifting sands’ – where every day brings a fresh challenge, a new direction or an unforeseen disruptor. A dynamic, responsive workforce is what’s required – made up of employees who feel compelled to fulfil not only the ambitions of their company but also their personal ambitions too. Whatever the age of your employees, businesses should give staff the ability to forge careers that feel fresh and relevant without having to look elsewhere.

What employees want from a job has changed

Research conducted by CEB involved asking UK employees what factors were the most important when choosing an employer and it found the top five factors were balance, location, stability, respect and future career opportunities – not pay.

It’s clear that nurturing staff in-situ is becoming just as important as turning a profit in terms of business objectives. You just have to note how ‘work life balance’ and ‘staff wellbeing’ have slipped easily into today’s employment lexicon to realise the changing fulfillment focus. The importance of professional development in the workplace is the final piece in the jigsaw for companies who want a truly holistic approach.

Retention starts with recruitment

Setting out your company’s pledge to develop employees can become an integral part of your recruitment proposition. Introducing a commitment to professional development as early as the interview stage sends the signal that your company invests in its staff and wants them to thrive within its workplace culture. It also negates the notion that training and development is a remedial tool only actioned when someone has made a mistake or needs reprimanding.

Train to gain

If you have gone to the hassle of recruiting and paying for the best talent, it’s vital you give staff the opportunity to continue learning to ensure they’re engaged. Keeping staff static in their knowledge and skill set is counterproductive. While it’s tempting to slip into the ‘train them up only for them to leave’ mindset, professional development within the workplace should be your first line of defence. As the famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said: “What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them!”

How to spot development potential

Line managers have a direct role to play as they see gaps in knowledge or technique first hand. At the other end of the spectrum, stakeholders and directors should be just as influential as they are more likely to be trend watching and steering the company’s overall direction, identifying emerging job roles and spotting new approaches.

Horses for courses….but not literally

Professional development is more than just sending people on a course or expecting staff to learn in their free time. Inviting in industry speakers is a great way to inform and inspire, as is giving staff the chance to work on projects with a different team.

Mentoring is another key tool in professional development and a company will often already have in-house resources to provide this style of training. Online courses are not to be baulked at either. Don’t forget, there should be rewards too. Promotions, bonuses and redefined career paths, as well as the opportunity to retrain or move departments in line with strengths and new-found talents.

Two things are crucial to personal development success – time and tailoring. Be sure to give staff ample time within office hours to train or learn, and customise every opportunity to each employee.

If you need something to kick-start your professional development programme, think about promoting Learning at Work Week 2019, which takes place from 13th to 19th May. There are plenty of inspirational and low-cost resources online to get you started.

Hannah Darby

Principal Recruitment Consultant

Hannah is a specialist in the Office & Commercial sector. Dedicated, hardworking and motivated, Hannah thrives on sourcing and placing the best talent from SME’s through to large blue chip companies across the region and in London. Hannah has grown an enviable reputation for sourcing high level senior appointments together …


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