Improve employee engagement with tailored career paths

As employers continue to devote tremendous resources to recruiting, hiring and training new employees, retention has become more important than ever. Competitive pay and benefits are essential, as is offering flexible work arrangements. Beyond work-life integration, workers also want the opportunity to grow their skill set, to feel cared about and to feel a sense of purpose in their work. All of this leads to greater employee engagement and retention.

As they look for new ways to connect with their work, employees want new approaches. They are looking to their employers to provide tailored career paths and learning journeys – paths that are personalized to their achievements and aspirations. Remember, workers are consumers too, and in the digital economy they are accustomed to highly personalized interactions. Businesses use data to personalize transactions, marketing and recommendations. Why not bring this same level of customization to career development? 

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One solution is a personalized career profile that includes data from every step of the employee's journey including recruiting, hiring, onboarding, performance, learning, career mobility, compensation and survey feedback. It also includes the employee's skills, experiences, achievements, license credentials and awards. A comprehensive internal HCM data set can supply this information, and when combined with external HCM data to provide benchmarks, the result is a powerful development tool. For example, the career profile can suggest specific training and development opportunities to advance the employee on a particular career path.

The career profile provides managers with a complete picture of the employee, allowing them to see the uniqueness of the whole person. Add to this data-informed insights and coaching content and you empower the manager to address issues in real time, strengthening the employee's connection to the organization, making them feel cared about and providing opportunities for them to learn and grow. 

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A comprehensive HR data set can also mine internal talent for career development opportunities, identifying employees who need upskilling or reskilling. This could broaden talent pools to attract people from nontraditional backgrounds and utilize internal resources before recruiting externally.

This kind of career development is essential to productivity and overall economic growth. At the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh underlined this issue. "There are jobs in America right now that we don't have enough people for. Upskilling and reskilling are key."

In fact, even before the pandemic, organizations were experiencing skill deficits. Fast forward to 2023 and we've experienced first-hand a tumultuous labor market, with workers reexamining their careers and jobs. Workers across industries are trying to figure out how they can adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and companies must learn how to match those workers to new roles and activities.

Giving workers the skills they need to advance doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. For example, mentoring or shadowing programs give employees the opportunity to learn alongside more experienced employees. All that's required is a little time away from their daily work. Employers should think outside of the job description "box," and instead, focus on transferable skills when looking for internal talent to fill an open position. Do they have a foundation? Are they eager to learn and grow? Are they excited at the opportunity? 

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Helping employees gain new skills must be a priority for every business today. Overall, this kind of personalized development can improve retention and result in more engaged and connected employees. To accomplish this, organizations must integrate continuous learning into their culture, encouraging employees to learn and develop, and giving them the time and opportunities to do so. Organizations should likewise build upskilling and reskilling into their strategies and look to leverage technology that truly personalizes employee development.

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Professional development Employee retention Workforce management