No one wants to work at a dead-end job. The modern workforce values continuous learning and opportunities for professional development. According to Zippia1, 76% of employees are looking for ways to expand their careers.
Supporting employee career growth is beneficial for the individual employee and your organization as a whole. Employees who feel supported and encouraged at work are more likely to stay engaged, motivated, and loyal to your company.
In this article, we'll go over some effective ways you can support employee career growth.
What is employee career growth?
Employee career growth, often called employee career development, employee development, or professional development, refers to the progress of an individual's career within a company. It involves advancing and improving an employee's professional skills, knowledge, and experience, as well as their ability to take on more responsibility and higher-level roles.
Why should you support employee career growth?
Supporting employee career growth is a win-win situation for you and your employees. When employees feel supported in their career goals and professional growth, they're more engaged and motivated in their work. This leads to higher productivity and performance, ultimately benefiting your organization's bottom line.
Additionally, offering growth opportunities can improve employee retention at your organization. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that offers opportunities for advancement and development. According to ClearCompany2, 94% of employees would stay at their current company longer if it invested in their careers.
Upskilling your workers can also help fill skill gaps within your organization. By investing in employee career growth, you can prepare them for promotions down the line. This can save you time and money when you’re looking to fill future open positions.
Five ways to support employee career growth
If you want to help your employees learn transferable skills and achieve their career goals, here are several strategies and practices you can implement at your organization.
1. Provide clear career paths
If you want to help your employees with their career trajectory, give them a roadmap to success. Establishing clear career paths within your organization is one of the first steps in supporting employee career growth. This helps employees see a future for themselves with your organization and understand the steps needed to advance. Otherwise, they may lack a sense of purpose or direction.
That's why it's important to thoroughly communicate these paths and provide resources to help your employees navigate their career progression. By providing a clear career path, you can guide your employees to their desired destination at your organization or beyond.
2. Offer training and career development opportunities
Investing in training and development programs is essential for employee growth. Plus, professional development is one of the top employee perks that job seekers look for. Our 2022 Employee Benefits Survey Report found that 61% of employees value professional development benefits. However, only 40% of employers offer them. Prioritizing advancement opportunities at your organization can give you a competitive edge.
The training you offer can focus on soft skills, communication skills, or leadership skills. You can also offer programs on staff development or leadership development. Providing employees with the opportunity to enhance their skills not only helps them in their current roles but also prepares them for future opportunities.
With WorkPerks by PeopleKeep, you can easily offer your employees a professional development stipend to support their career progression. This set amount of money allows you to reimburse employees for expenses related to industry conferences, career coaching, online learning platforms, and more.
3. Encourage continuous learning
In addition to formal training programs, you should foster a company culture of continuous learning. You can do this by supporting employees in pursuing certifications or continuing education courses. Encouraging employees to continually expand their knowledge and skills through learning opportunities will contribute to their long-term goals and career growth.
Offering an education employee stipend can empower your employees to use their education benefits as they see fit. This stipend provides a monthly allowance for various education expenses, such as tuition, textbooks, courses, certifications, and more.
Educational assistance programs pay for various education-related expenses for employees. Now, these programs can also cover student loan payments, according to the IRS3. The maximum tax-free benefit is $5,250 per employee per year. Any assistance beyond that is considered taxable wages.
4. Provide coaching and mentorship programs
Pairing employees with mentors or career coaches can be highly beneficial for their career development. People who are already in leadership roles can provide guidance, share their experiences, and offer advice on navigating the organization. Coaches can also help employees set goals, identify areas for improvement, and provide helpful feedback.
Having a support system in place can significantly contribute to your employee's career growth and your organization's bottom line. A MentorcliQ survey4 found that 89% of mentoring participants said the experience helped them contribute to their current company's success. To fully embrace knowledge sharing within your workplace, you should make time for mentorship meetings on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.
5. Recognize and reward growth
If your employees are doing good work, tell them. You can do this through performance evaluations, promotions, or special recognition programs. According to a 2022 Gallup and Workhuman study5, employee recognition reduces burnout by 73% and decreases the likelihood of employees seeking new job opportunities by 56%.
You can also show appreciation to your employees by recognizing their extra effort or specific accomplishments with a spot bonus. Acknowledging, celebrating, and rewarding employees' efforts and accomplishments will motivate them to continue their professional advancement.
Leveraging benefits to improve employee performance
Another way to improve employee performance at your organization is by offering a comprehensive and competitive benefits package. Our report found that 82% of employees say that the benefits package an employer offers is an important factor in whether or not they accept a job. This can include things like retirement plans, flexible work arrangements, and health insurance.
Many employers offer health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) as a cost-effective alternative to traditional group health insurance. With an HRA, you can reimburse employees tax-free for their healthcare expenses. These expenses may include medical care services, premiums for dental and vision insurance, and other related costs, depending on the type of HRA offered.
Here are the HRAs you can administer through PeopleKeep:
- The qualified small employer HRA (QSEHRA): The QSEHRA is for small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.
- The individual coverage HRA (ICHRA): The ICHRA works for businesses of all sizes.
- The group coverage HRA (GCHRA): The GCHRA, also known as an integrated HRA, is for employers who want to boost their existing group health insurance policy.
By providing these types of benefits, your employees feel valued and supported. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and motivation to perform at their best.
Additionally, offering performance-based incentives, such as bonuses or profit-sharing, can also motivate employees to strive for higher levels of performance.
In today's competitive job market, employee career growth matters. It's essential for both the individual and the organization. With a growth mindset, you're more likely to attract top talent and retain your current employees. By providing training and development opportunities, offering mentorship programs, and fostering a company culture of learning, you can empower your employees to reach their full potential and contribute to the long-term success of your organization.
Holly is a content marketing specialist for PeopleKeep. Before joining the team in 2023, Holly worked in television news as a broadcast journalist. As an anchor and reporter, she communicated complex stories to the vast communities she served on a daily basis. Her background has given her a greater understanding of people and the issues that affect our lives. When Holly isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, exercising, and spending time at the beach.