Are you grappling with a job listing that's been gathering dust online for what seems like an eternity? Maybe you've witnessed your star players bidding adieu as they chase new horizons in our ever-evolving job market.
While that may sound a bit dramatic, it's no secret that there has been a surge in employees pursuing better opportunities and benefits since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this highly competitive job landscape, employers must adapt their strategies to attract fresh talent and ensure their current workforce remains motivated and engaged in their roles.
Wondering how your organization can conquer the job-hopping trend and become a talent magnet? This may seem like an overwhelming task, but the solution is pretty straightforward — consider taking a good look at your benefits package and sprinkle in some career-boosting programs for your employees. A survey from SHRM suggests that 29% of workers consider quitting due to a lack of career growth opportunities, which means there is plenty of demand for development programs. These programs can keep employees motivated and engaged, and are the secret sauce for retaining top talent.They also serve to make your company more enticing to potential new hires since it demonstrates that you are invested in their career development.
Professional development opens doors for employees, helping them advance in their careers and comes in various forms like networking events, ongoing education, and skill-building. While the specific opportunities vary by industry, growth potential exists at every career stage.
Why Provide Development Opportunities?
There are plenty of ways you can adapt your benefit offerings in order to stay competitive, so why should you bother including development opportunities? In the most simple terms, professional development programs are a way of investing in your employees. Doing so of course benefits the employees, but it also benefits the company as a whole in many different ways.
With a growing job market, there are so many positions available that can all seem the same. How do you make your company stand out from the competition? Offer something no one else is providing. Another SHRM report indicates that 49% of employees are interested in development opportunities but don’t know where to start. And many employees would be interested in changing jobs if the new position offered more training opportunities. Find and attract top talent by offering them the chance to develop existing skills and learn new ones.
While development opportunities can make it easier to hire top talent, they can also help retain current employees. Just as people searching for new jobs want to develop their skills, so do the employees that you have already hired. You have already invested time and resources into training them for their current position, so investing in their continued growth is a doubly beneficial choice. Employee retention is an important part of building a positive company culture, and development opportunities can make that possible. You can fight back against the Great Resignation by focusing more on factors of employee growth.
Although these are significant benefits for the company as a whole, professional development programs benefit individual employees in a myriad of ways. New learning opportunities help to inspire and motivate employees that may otherwise experience burnout. These programs also provide a sense of fulfillment as they allow employees to experience new environments and responsibilities. Of course, development opportunities are crucial for diversifying skills. As industries continue to evolve, it is important to provide employees with training and resources to keep up with those advancements. This can be as simple as cross-training employees to investing in online courses for new skills.
Examples of Development Opportunities
Okay, so you’re convinced that development opportunities are a good investment, but what do they actually look like? And how do you incorporate them into your benefit offerings? There are numerous methods and types of development programs, including online courses, webinars, internal training, and even networking events. Some types of development opportunities are suited better for certain industries, but these are some of the most common and effective examples.
- Employer-Sponsored Continuing Education
Perhaps one of the most expensive development programs, employer-sponsored continuing education opportunities also offer one of the highest returns on investment. This most often comes in the form of tuition assistance for employees that are working on their degrees. It can ensure that employees receive their degrees while still being able to work and develop their careers within the company.
- Professional Certifications
A professional certification can be similar to a degree, but it is less time-consuming and expensive. For this development opportunity, employees complete coursework and take standardized tests in order to earn their certification. Positions within human resources, accounting and finance, healthcare, and social services are the most likely to require or benefit from additional certifications.
- Technical Training
As you might expect, some industries inherently have more opportunities for technical training than others. However, there are still many occupations that can use technical training to help individuals advance their careers and develop new skills, like programming languages and search engine optimization practices. You can find specific workshops and classes for technical training, but you can also have existing employees host training on skills that they have.
- Additional Duties and Responsibilities
The above development opportunities tend to be more formal, but opportunities can be as simple as offering employees new projects and additional assignments that allow them to develop skills outside of their usual job responsibilities. Provide new challenges within their current positions or internal promotions that help employees advance in their careers while staying at your organization. This familiar environment with new duties is a great way to improve employee retention and engagement.
- Foster Developmental Relationships
In addition to providing specific development opportunities, you can build a culture that encourages growth by fostering relationships and encouraging learning through interaction. Coworkers can build connections throughout the organization in different departments, as well as with team members, which helps to diversify their skills. Even performance reviews and feedback can be a chance to build developmental relationships.
Part of fostering developmental relationships includes opportunities for mentorships. Through these interactions, employees can gain valuable industry insights that usually only come with experience. It also provides the opportunity for employees to challenge themselves and look for areas within the company that they are less familiar with as they work to improve their skills.
Despite what most people think when they hear the term internship, these can be great learning opportunities for learning at any point in your career. Internships allow employees to explore different jobs that may be better suited to their skills and interests. They are also, of course, an effective way of attracting new hires who are interested in your company but unsure if they are a good fit.
- Leadership and Management Training
Many employees are interested in advancing within their current jobs, so leadership and management training can help provide them with the knowledge and confidence to be great leaders. These trainings can include skills such as effective delegation, self-management, effective communication, and other topics. And good managers lead to improved employee engagement. Whether you offer leadership training for existing managers or for employees who are interested in taking on more leadership roles, they are a worthwhile investment.
- Teamwork and Communication Training
Hard skills are crucial for success in the workplace, but don’t neglect the soft skills either. Things like communication and collaboration between team members and departments can make all the difference in how smooth operations are and how satisfied employees are in their roles. These particular development opportunities can be formal or informal.
Incorporate Development Opportunities in Your Benefits
Employee career development is a growing concern on the part of both employers and employees. If you are interested in making your company more competitive in the job market and in keeping your top talent around, take a look at what kinds of opportunities you currently provide and whether or not they are sufficient.
It is important to not only offer development programs but to make sure they address the needs of your employees in order to get the most benefit out of those programs. With so many examples of development opportunities available, you can tailor the programs and opportunities to your company culture and employee goals. Cultivate an environment that encourages growth and supports employees in their efforts to progress in their careers with different employee development programs.
Dive into the world of employee development, and discover how it can transform your organization. A robust wellness program can also supercharge your employee development initiatives since they are far more likely to stay at an organization that supports their wellbeing. Ready to redefine your benefits strategy too? Connect with a Gympass wellbeing specialist today to learn more about how we can help improve the benefits that your organization offers its employees!
- 20 Career Development Opportunities. (March 10, 2023). Indeed. Retrieved March 23, 2023 from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/career-development-opportunities.
- A Closer Look at the Professional Development Opportunities Employees Really Want. (April 27, 2020). University of Massachusetts Global. Retrieved March 23, 2023 from https://www.umassglobal.edu/news-and-events/blog/in-demand-professional-development-opportunities.
- Bergeron, Paul. (March 24, 2022). Employees Want Additional Opportunities for Career, Skills Development. SHRM. Retrieved March 23, 2023 from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/pages/employees-fear-employers-dont-offer-enough-career-skills-development.aspx.
- Developing Employee Career Paths and Ladders. (February 17, 2017). SHRM. Retrieved March 23, 2023 from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/developingemployeecareerpathsandladders.aspx.
- Professional Development Examples. Retrieved March 23, 2023 from https://hr.buffalostate.edu/professional-development-examples.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.