Organizations want high-performing workers, and employees want to develop the skills and knowledge they need to advance their career and make them more valuable to the organization.
So far, it sounds like everyone is on the same page.
However, managers are the bridge from Point A to Point B – and that’s a problem because statistics show that without training and guidance, this is a bridge to nowhere.
According to a recent poll by Right Management, the global experts with ManpowerGroup, most managers are not actively engaged in career development. From January 5 through March 3, 2015, Right Management surveyed 616 employees in the U.S. and Canada and asked them one question: “Is your manager actively engaged in your career development?”
- 68% responded, “No”
- 17% responded, “Yes”
- 15% responded, “Sometimes”
However, the survey also reveals that 2/3 of managers need help developing coaching skills.
The responses are problematic, because earlier research by Right Management revealed organizations that provide career development are six times more likely to engage their employees and four times less likely to lose workers. These organizations are also 2.5 times more likely to be productive and three times more likely to be judged as one of the best performing companies in their sector.
It’s important to create a culture of career development, according to Bram Lowsky, executive vice president of Right Management. “Careers really matter to people at every level of the organization, and they matter to the organization itself. We’ve identified a shift in the workplace, and this shift has required organizations to become more agile to respond to changes. However, the key is to have high-performing talent.”
So why aren’t managers providing career development?
“It’s not a part of the culture – career development should be a part of the culture,” says Lowsky. “Most managers do not have the skills that enable them to have robust conversations with their employees on an ongoing basis. I’m not talking about end-of-the-year evaluations, but ongoing career development conversations.”
What can companies do to help their managers to provide career development?
Lowsky says they need to create a culture of career development, which entails 4 keys:
- Visible senior leadership that articulates the value and the importance of career development
- Career development must be employee-owned – people are responsible for their own careers, and the organization helps them by making the process easier
- Manager coaching – managers must develop the skill set required to coach and develop others
- Clear linkages – employees need to see a direct way to sync their career goals to the organization’s needs and wants
However, Lowsky warns that building a career development culture doesn’t happen overnight. “It is not a one-time event. It must have structure, definition, be ongoing – that’s how you tie it back to the organizational culture. Then employees can clearly see the competencies required, and they understand that senior leadership and managers make career development a priority.”