career growth

As we make our way through the first quarter of 2018, it’s fair to assume that most of us are still striving to stick to our New Year’s resolutions. Some of us want to ditch bad habits, while others want to spend more time with family. And for many, resolutions require a renewed focus on career growth.

Driving success at work directly involves you, the employer. How well do you know your workforce?

Is your workforce engaged?

Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. However, nearly 70 percent of U.S. employees are disengaged at work — a statistic that should concern any employer.

Adults spend on average around one-third of their lives at work. If someone’s job is less than satisfactory, it can have a substantial impact on their overall happiness. Consequently, unhappy employees usually seek out more engaging work opportunities.

Money does not equal motivation

So, how do you keep your employees happy enough to stay at your company? A viable solution is to encourage career growth opportunities. The human desire for growth is powerful, especially when it applies to an individual’s career.

The potential to earn more money is not as important as having ample opportunities to learn and progress. While money may be a deal-breaker for some, employees — especially high performers — will remain in jobs that challenge them, utilize their expertise, and provide meaning.

Harvard professor Teresa Amabile confirmed this finding after tracking the daily activities of several hundred workers over the course of several years. Amabile’s analysis revealed that making progress in one’s work is more frequently associated with positive emotions and high motivation — not external incentives.

It starts with a conversation

Understanding what motivates your employees, lets you determine what steps you can take to help them achieve success. A suggested first step is engaging your employees in discussions about their career goals. Let’s review how you can foster their growth.

“I want to move up in the company.”

If your employee is seeking a new or more challenging role, suggest researching available positions within your organization. Learn about your employee’s career ambitions and commit to helping them get to the next level. Recommend meeting with colleagues, who work in the position that interests them, to gather information and compare their learnings to their own aspirations. Your goal should be to support your employee in making an educated career decision.

Once the research phase is complete, schedule regular follow-up meetings with your employees to ensure progress is being made and pertinent questions are answered. Initially, evaluate their current skills and document exactly what they need to accomplish to be eligible for the position they desire. This can become part of a strategic career development plan that can be revisited and revised as they move up within the organization.

“I want to broaden my skillset.”

If your employee wants to increase their knowledge, be prepared to share your internal knowledge. If your company offers benefits such as tuition reimbursement for a college degree or certification, or in-house technical or professional training courses, review those options with your employees and encourage them to take advantage of the resources available to them.

In addition to pursuing degrees or certifications, there are other ways to learn within the organization. Make the recommendation to volunteer to take on challenging projects and assignments, or sponsor a mentorship program to pair employees with top performers in your organization. This will not only expand their skillset, but it will also increase their overall visibility in your organization.

Don’t lose focus

Opportunities for progress are key to engaging your workforce. But outside distractions will inevitably creep into their personal lives. So, how do you ensure that your employees are able to maintain their focus at work? Let them know that you encourage work-life integration.

According to clinical psychologist Maria Sirois, the practice of work-life integration results in less stress and more overall fulfillment. Employees are generally more engaged, more productive and have higher morale.

You can support work-life integration by offering valuable resources through your benefits program. It’s a practical way to keep pace with the changing dynamics of today’s diverse employee population. Some examples include supplemental medical plans, identity theft protection, and student loan repayment programs.

Secure employees are happy employees

Offering the benefits employees need, helps foster professional growth and minimize the distractions that reduce productivity. One distraction that could cause your employees to lose focus at work is an identity crime. Once employees without identity protection become victims of an identity crime, they can spend an average of 18 hours trying to resolve the incident, typically during the workday.

Employees who don’t have access to restoration services to help resolve an identity crime can suffer emotionally and physically. It can take a toll on their well-being, and take hours away from productivity and overall business performance.

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