I was shocked to learn from the 2014 Kelly Global Workforce Index, a survey of more than 200,000 employees that 57% said they would prefer more training over a pay increase. Also only 29% of employees said they had a clear career path with their current organization and only 35% thought they had any chance of advancing in their company.
These numbers show that in spite of some recent increases in training and leadership development, most organizations are still not focusing on growing, developing, and advancing their human talent. Even employees who are promoted from within often face challenges that come with not being offered training and development to help them succeed in their new role with the organization.
So, what can be done about it?
First, supervisors and managers need to talk with their employees about their work performance, goals, career aspirations (both within the company and externally). This should be done at least a couple of times per year – probably in conjunction with any formal performance evaluation or goal setting systems the organization has in place. If the company does not have any performance management program, the supervisor can add this to his or her staff coaching and development program for the department or team. If the supervisor does not have the skills and capabilities to have these career coaching discussions with her employees, the supervisor may wish to take advantage of leadership or coaching training programs, or a consultant who does career, work, or life coaching can be brought in as a partner to coach employees on career matters. This is especially helpful for employees who may not have advancement opportunities within the company, yet cannot see these limitations and needs an outside perspective to help them recognize the need to move on.
Second, when an organization promotes an employee for his or her technical skills, capabilities, and competencies for the job he or she is currently in – the company needs to recognize the need to provide training, development, and management coaching for the newly promoted employee. That employee may be great at his prior job, but that does not mean he knows how to be a supervisor or manager. Group training when many supervisors and managers are in this situation is a great option, and can often be tailored specifically for the needs of the company. Or if there is only one supervisor, manager, or executive who needs individualized training a professional or work/life coach can be very beneficial.
What other options could help employees and managers understand their career options and best achieve them?