UNLEASH

Career Mobility: The Secret to Employee Retention

Liam Butler, AVP at SumTotal, a Skillsoft CompanyHR Technology2018 09 12
Career Mobility: The Secret to Employee Retention
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Years ago it wasn’t uncommon for people to work for the same employer for their entire career, but times have changed and job-hopping has become commonplace. Job-hopping is a modern phenomenon that sees employees change jobs every one to two years. The reasons that drive employees to change jobs vary, ranging from boredom to a better salary to wanting to move to a new city. Things like benefits, better career prospects and a change in direction are also factors.

But job-hopping can be hard on a company’s bottom line. The cost of onboarding new employees can be up to $63,000 per new starter, according to Access to Employment. Given that, it’s important that organizations do their best to retain their talent.

One of the most underused methods to increase employee retention is to change your corporate culture to offer career mobility, which lets employees explore new positions and responsibilities away from their current role. It permits lateral movement across departments, meaning that employees aren’t limited to the traditional career ladder. Career mobility programs have a number of benefits — including that they improve employee retention.

These programs take effort and involve communication between managers/HR and employees, but they make employees feel like their organization cares about their career progression and is offering a good future with interesting prospects. Career mobility also increases cross-departmental collaboration and can enhance productivity.

Career mobility is a worthwhile prospect to consider if you feel you could improve employee retention. Here are four steps to get your career mobility program off the ground.

Ensure Management Communicates with Employees

Communication is key in order to know what roles or departments employees are interested in. HR should make a policy change to ensure that managers catch up with their employees at least bimonthly. In these reviews, which can be as informal or formal as the organization desires, managers should ask employees how they feel about their current role and whether they’re interested in test-driving any other positions, and put a plan in place to make this happen. These reviews are very important for employee retention. They make employees feel valued and are important for motivation. Without regular reviews and action plans, employees may feel as though they’re in a dead-end role, which will likely mean they don’t stick around for long.

Utilize the Right Technology

Employee data should be organized into one simple cloud-based platform. These platforms allow HR and managers to record their employees’ career ambitions, check competency gaps and assess the skills needed to for employees to make any lateral movements. This type of technology will make the career mobility process much smoother, and reduce the likelihood of any slip-ups and confusion between departments.

Invest in L&D

Learning and development goes hand in hand with career mobility. It’s important to empower employees with the skills that they need for career progression or change. In today’s always-on and often mobile working environment, online learning is becoming more popular. Online learning programs allow users to study when and where they want. It’s important to invest in a program that offers content from trusted sources and that caters to the learning needs of the five-generation workforce. For example, some learners like to listen to audiobooks while others prefer to read.

Aim for a Culture Change

Career mobility ultimately comes down to cultural change. HR departments need to get executives on board and ensure that they encourage employees and managers to make use of the program. If employees know their company is offering to improve their skills and cares about their career progression, they’re more likely to stick around.

Ultimately, although HR can’t stop all employees from job-hopping, by considering a career mobility program and taking the above four steps to implement it, HR departments can drastically increase their employee retention rates.

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