“What is this miracle intervention?” she asks. “Nothing fancier than career transparency, or a clear sense among employees of how they can grow in their jobs and how the company will support their efforts to reach their goals.”
Better yet, supporting employees on their career paths costs little or no money (at least at first) and retains employees who likely want to be there; they are just restless and looking for new opportunities. So why not offer them opportunities—or the path to new opportunities—at your organization?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, from April through June 2021, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs. Even more alarming, new surveys reveal that anywhere from 50 percent of employees to an incredible 95 percent of employees included in a Monster.com survey are looking for or would be open to a new job. Read more in part one of this series: The ‘Great Resignation’ Part One: What Steps Is Your Organization Taking to Retain and Entice Employees?
Jack Altman, the CEO and co-founder of Lattice, told Stillman that the best way to ensure employees “see the road ahead” is regular and continuous communication about personal and career growth and development plans.
His three suggestions include:
Create a growth plan. “Not all employees are interested in a traditional growth plan,” he said. Some want new experiences, more responsibilities or a different role at the same company. Be reading, as a manager, to lose some good employees. But as an employee yourself, realize that the company is keeping a solid performer.
Check in with employees. Haven’t scheduled 1:1s with employees? Better start! If you’ve helped them create growth plans but don’t periodically benchmark against it, they’ll realize it was a lot of talk and no action.
Celebrate wins. If employees have reached their goals or even made progress towards completion of goals, mention it during their 1:1s. And remember to review compensation, particularly when goals are achieved and progress on the growth plan continues. Employees cannot survive on compliments alone and in this market, they don’t have to.
Deliver on Promises and Retain Employees
If you want to lose good employees, there’s a surefire way to do it: Fail to deliver on promises.
“I’ve spoken with my boss multiple times over the past three years about what I needed to do to advance my career. I loved the company, and I liked my coworkers and the work. I did everything that was asked of me and more in terms of achieving stretch goals, obtaining training and education, dedication to the work and more,” one former coworker told me. “My reviews were great. My boss was supportive and positive about everything I had done.”
After literally, years of working toward career advancement at a company he loved, he accepted a position at another company. “When all was said and done, I felt like I had been deceived. When I tendered my resignation, my boss and HR went into overdrive. They offered me more money and even told me the promotion was ‘just around the corner.’ But I’d been hearing that for nearly three years, and I just didn’t believe them anymore. Trust was broken and it was too little too late.”
The exact opposite was true of a former coworker at a different company. She was promoted from a staff position, to manager, to director and now is a vice president. It was a 7-8-year journey for her, but she stuck it out for similar reasons: She loved the company, liked the work and her coworkers. There was one difference, though: All along her journey, her immediate supervisors helped her create goals that were realistic and marked a straight path from where she was in her career to where she wanted to end up. And her managers delivered on promised promotions.
“I felt fully supported along the entire journey,” she now says. “I knew what was expected of me. The finish line never changed, I was rewarded for meeting goals and the rules of the race never changed.”
Not only that, as she moved up the ladder and became a people manager, she had nothing but great things to say about the company and its transparency and support when she was recruiting new employees and setting goals with her direct reports. “I was confident in telling them if you do this, this and that, you will advance at this company,” she said.
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Other articles in this series: