In today’s workplace, career development is changing. Static career paths are less relevant than in the past, especially as employees job-hop more than ever. With the Great Resignation underway, many underappreciated employees shop for new roles with better growth opportunities.  

To remain a competitive employer, it’s essential to keep up with these changes and recognize that it takes more than ever to keep employees around. There’s one obvious answer that only some organizations fully utilize: employee development.  

Even if you think your business already handles employee development well, it’s worth reconsidering your approach. LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report found that 59% of employees listed professional development as the top area their business should invest in to improve company culture. The importance of employee development to employees is evident – but are company leaders giving it the same attention? Within most organizations, there’s ample room to improve career development, allowing your company to make a meaningful difference in your employees’ lives.  

In this article, we will talk about, Why employee development should be HR’s top priority, we explain what employee development is and why it’s essential for every business to prioritize it.  

What is employee development?  

Employee development is the practice of learning new skills and honing existing ones. With their employer’s help, employees can learn how to use new technologies and techniques, develop their knowledge of an industry or subject matter, and grow their competencies across different areas. Employee development is essential because employers want highly skilled employees, and employees want to succeed in their roles.  

Done right, this ongoing education is mutually beneficial for both employer and employee. For example, it might not make sense for a business to pay a marketer to learn accounting skills if the organization doesn’t need them on its team. Still, if that marketer takes a class on digital marketing and can grow your online presence and secure new business for your company, that will be advantageous for both parties. Your employees can immediately flex their unique skills and see the value of their work firsthand, while your business can reap the rewards of their efforts and fill skill gaps 

A great way to find this overlap is to create a career development plan that identifies the skills an individual in this role needs today and the competencies they’ll need to move to the next level in their career path. Investing in skills that will help your employees and your business thrive in the future is a smart move.  

There are many different ways to approach employee development. Popular options include ongoing training programs, on-the-job training, mentorships, stretch assignments, conferences, and classes – to name a few. At Culture Amp, we think of career development in terms of the “3 E’s”:  

Experience: On-the-job experiences that help employees grow (e.g., stretch tasks, unique products, mentoring others, etc.)  

Exposure: Learning through observation (e.g., working with a coach, seeking feedback, shadowing, networking, etc.)  

Education: Structured learning (e.g., courses, books, conferences)  

An employee development strategy incorporating all three provides a holistic path to growth, resulting in well-rounded, successful employees.  

Why is employee development significant?  

As mentioned earlier, investing in employee development benefits your employees and business, but that only scratches the surface of why your organization should prioritize career development. Here are four more reasons to revisit your company’s employee development strategy:  

  1. Attracting top talent 

Employees want to know they can grow within your organization. Gallup found that 59% of millennials find development opportunities significant when deciding whether to apply for a position.  

To send a strong signal to potential job candidates – one that can help your business stand out during the application and interview processes – highlight any ongoing career development opportunities your organization offers. You want them to know your business will help them learn the skills they need to qualify for their dream role. Painting a motivating future for potential applicants shows you care about the longevity of their careers and want them to grow with your company.  

  1. Retaining employees 

Professional development does not just assist your business attract top talent; it also aid you retain top talent. That’s especially significance given the present context of the job market. The Great Resignation era is still in full swing, and it’s an applicant’s market, so cracking the code to retention can save your business expense.  

 HR’s top priority study reveals that development is the most cited reason for employee departures – by a longshot. A lack of opportunities for growth accounts for 37.1% of employee departures. That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. If employees think they’re in a dead-end job or aren’t learning, they can quickly become demotivated and look for a new challenge or opportunity outside your organization. Our data also shows that employees who don’t feel they have access to L&D are 2X more likely to leave a job in the next 12 months.  

If you’re wondering how to focus on learning development to increase retention, try experimenting with an e-learning solution, internal mentorship program, or passion project. Encourage your employees to make time during the workday to learn new skills and invest in their growth.  

  1. Engaging the employees 

Employee engagement is one of the robust metrics for every organization. Engaged employees are enthusiastic concerned to their work and feel connected. Professional development and engagement goes hand in hand as when employees feel their work is complexed and pushing them to grow faster, they are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and even creative and productive than employees who feel stuck. This can accelerate better business outcomes for your company, making career development a worthy investment.  

  1. Enhancing and imporving business performance 

Employee development can also nourish business outcomes. Why? Because professional development keeps employees up to mark on new techniques and industry trends, technology, and processes that can assist your organization increase efficiency and drive better innovation. This curates opportunities for your organization to introduce cutting-edge offerings and strategies to stay ahead of the market, and deliver better customer experiences.  

Parting Thoughts  

The true significance of employee development lies in business and employee growth. Your talent is your organizations most crucial asset, and any investment in their growth can enhance and accelerate loyalty and retention while increasing workplace productivity and creativity. These factors add up rapidly and assist you to build a future-proof organization made up of driven, talented individuals.  

Vega-HR is committed to helping its clients create a unified approach to the employee experience by assisting them in building cultures of workplace pride. Trusted by millions of users at some of the world’s most recognized employer brands, Vega HR delivers a comprehensive approach to building company cultures that inspire people to be proud of their work for their company.