Today’s recruiting environment is vastly different than five years ago, and it’s continuously evolving. Disengaged employees, Baby Boomers leaving and Millennials arriving, candidate experience, and employer branding are just some of the issues employers must keep pace with to keep a competitive advantage in recruiting. To attract and retain talent in the shifting sands of recruiting now, employers have to use the most current recruiting and culture building practices. One of the most important is providing opportunities for employees to grow.
Why Provide Growth Opportunities?
The potential for growth is a huge motivational factor in engagement. When you need top talent to drive your business growth, you need to look at your employment opportunities and work environment from the candidate’s and employee’s point of view. Is there training offered on a regular basis? Are there opportunities to earn bonuses and other financial incentives? Are there programs, policies, and practices in place to support employees’ personal and professional growth and satisfaction? If you answer anything other than a resounding yes to these questions, you are not providing growth opportunities and will not have the kind of magnetic employer brand needed to compete in today’s employee-driven job market.
What Kind of Growth Opportunities?
Four types of growth opportunities are important to candidates looking at continuing their careers with your company, as well as the employees who already work for you. Financial, career, professional, and personal opportunities for growth provide more reasons for employees to give extra effort and enjoy working for your business than just a title and a paycheck.
Opportunities for financial growth mean more than just regular salary increases for top performance. Is your company paying employees for referring top candidates? Are there bonus opportunities for exceptional performance with customer service, teamwork, product development, and other key business drivers? If your company doesn’t have a budget for financial incentives, it becomes even more important to provide other growth opportunities.
Many career-minded professionals want to know there’s opportunity for advancement in the company they help build every day. Professional growth opportunities are as important to ambitious candidates and employees as opportunities for advancement. Training to improve skills and gain advanced knowledge, opportunities to work on special projects and meet key clients, assignments to lead teams and work on committees are an important part of building and sustaining engagement.
Work environments and company cultures that incorporate opportunities for personal growth are important to veteran employees and new hires alike. Building fun and appreciation into the work environment, whether on a shoestring or with a large dedicated budget, creates motivation and keeps employees from becoming bored or disenchanted with work.
What the Research Shows
Research published in the Deloitte Review Issue 16, discussed by Josh Bersin, principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, shows retention and engagement is a top issue for business leaders. With 80 percent of organizations believing their employees are overwhelmed at work and 70 percent of Millennial employees who want to be creative at work, providing growth opportunities has become a pressing issue for workforce development. Changes in the workplace, such as 24/7 access with email and mobile communications, diverse employee populations, and an accelerated and transparent job search process and job market make attention to engagement a requirement to remain profitable and competitive.
Bersin explains that it’s not enough anymore to just issue employee engagement surveys to monitor culture and engagement. There needs to be modern, actionable solutions to workforce engagement, and that’s where growth opportunities come in. It’s part of what he calls making work irresistible to impact engagement from a core level. Growth opportunity is one of five elements that drive engagement today, along with meaningful work, hands-on management, positive work environment, and trust in leadership.
The Recruiting Division will look at these five elements of engagement in upcoming posts, and you should look at them in your organization. You need to look at your work environment and make sure you are providing growth opportunities like training and on-the-job support, facilitated mobility, and self-directed, dynamic learning in a high-impact learning culture. When candidates look at your company and your competitors, how does your company compare?