Forget the gold watch and corner office, employees want career conversations

Right ManagementRather than working their way up the corporate ladder, top talent is more often looking for jobs that enable them to develop their skills and increase their value in a future role, according to a new report released by Right Management, the global workforce consulting arm of ManpowerGroup.

“Fulfilling Careers Instead of Filling Jobs,” argues that companies can significantly increase employee engagement and reduce turnover by focusing on management strategies that provide clear avenues for growth and prioritize employee development. Managers need to shift from the old corporate culture that emphasized seniority and time-served, to one that aligns better with employees’ near-term development goals. If not, organizations will find it difficult to attract and retain talent going forward.

“Unless your top talent is able to strengthen their skillsets and managers are regularly talking to them about opportunities ahead, pretty soon they’re going to ask: what am I doing here?,” noted Mara Swan, global leader of Right Management and Executive Vice President of ManpowerGroup. “People rightly see their skills, experience, social networks and ideas as assets—if companies aren’t helping cultivate them further, employees will look elsewhere.”

Of the many factors that motivate individuals at work, two thirds are related to career conversations. Organizations benefit from the improved engagement and increased productivity that follows when employees are equipped to take on new challenges and opportunities. The number one thing employers can do to engage talent and improve performance is to take a bolder, more proactive approach to creating and facilitating career journeys.

The Report offers recommendations for employers (page 10, “What is talent hungry for?”) on how to create a culture of professional development, including:

  • Create an Agile Talent Pipeline: Cross-train, re-skill, and upskill employees to develop a talent pipeline capable of meeting changing business needs.
  • Continuous Learning: Understand the career needs and aspirations of all segments of the workforce—from the best and brightest employees to those with high potential but low preparedness — and créate developmental programs that encourage continuous learning and growth-
  • Provide Opportunities: Provide all employees with opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge to increase their value and employability.
  • Develop Career Models: Develop functional and enterprise-wide career models, with career pathways
    Integrated Resources: Integrate a wide range of developmental resources, including both person-to-person collaboration and technology-enabled learning.

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