4 Ways to Use Professional Development to Keep Your Employees

Written by Mindflash | May 11, 2015 3:14:52 PM

We are very excited to have a special guest author on blogging with us this week!

Please enjoy the thoughts of David Niu founder and CEO of TINYhr!

Do you know how often your employees think about looking for a new job? TINYpulse’s research found out, and the news isn’t good.

As a manager, losing a top employee is one of the things you fear the most. According to CAP, the median cost of turnover is 21% of an employee’s annual salary. This price includes everything from lost productivity to the cost of a new hire and new employee training.

How should you fight this risk of turnover? Employee development.

Opportunities for growth are vital — and this doesn’t just mean promotions. Employees are looking to expand their existing roles, trying new responsibilities and learning new skills. Unfortunately, our own recent employee engagement report found that 66% of employees don’t feel like they have strong opportunities for professional growth in their current organizations. And if employees aren’t going to be challenged at your workplace, you can bet they’ll look for challenges elsewhere.

This is true for the entire workforce, but it’s particularly relevant for the millennial generation. According to the Kenan-Flagler Business School, over half of millennials say that opportunities for career progression make an employer attractive. And our own internal research found that 75% of millennials would consider leaving their job if those opportunities weren’t present. So if your company wants to keep employees from this generation — which is the largest one in the U.S. — you need to think about how to support their professional growth.

Paths to Development

The first step is to find out where your employees want to go. But how do you help them get there? Professional growth can be accomplished in a number of ways, formal and informal, resource-intensive and budget-friendly. Take a look at these four options to get you started:

1. Mentoring: Mentorship can be a valuable and rewarding experience for both sides of the relationship. Less-experienced employees get the kind of insights that only come with experience, while the mentors themselves can gain fresh perspectives.

2. Rotation programs: Take advantage of the knowledge already in your company by letting employees spend a few weeks working on a different team or a different department. Rotation programs open a whole new set of skills for your employee that they wouldn’t gain from sticking to the same routine. And if you move them to a new department, they’ll get to see the business from a different angle.

3. Coursework: Does your employee want to earn a new certification or even go back to school to earn an advanced degree? Subsidizing the cost of coursework will not only help your employee, but you’ll also enjoy the benefit of new training and knowledge in your workplace.

4. Online training: Education doesn’t have to happen just on a campus, of course. Learning management systems are a great way to make training and education available to a large population without enrolling into a school. This method is more accessible and easy for employees to fit into their existing schedules.

However you do it, supporting your employees’ professional development is one of the greatest investments you can make in your company. It’s a surefire retention strategy that raises the quality of your workforce at the same time.

David Niu is the Founder and CEO of TINYpulse, an employee engagement survey solution that empowers leaders with actionable feedback to make positive changes in their workplaces. David is a serial entrepreneur, having founded and successfully sold two prior businesses, NetConversions and BuddyTV. He attended the University of California at Berkeley for his BA and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for his MBA. He was named a “40 Under 40” recipient by the Puget Sound Business Journal and is actively involved in the Entrepreneurs Organization “EO.” David is also the author of Careercation: Trading Briefcase for Suitcase to Find Entrepreneurial Happiness.

Website: http://www.tinypulse.com

Twitter: @davidniu