Help employees move up the career ladde
As you know, a career ladder refers to promotions that advance staff members to the next grade or level. But did you know that according to a Gallup® poll, when it comes to opportunities for career advancement, a whopping 67 percent of staff are dissatisfied.Maybe your agency or department recently downsized and put career development on hold. Reducing training and professional development might solve an immediate budget constraint, but it will cost you long-term. Think about the training costs associated with a new staff member and the impact on productivity. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), if an agency replaces 30 staff members quarterly, it will spend $360,000 annually for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and training.

By keeping your team moving up the career ladder, you’ll increase staff satisfaction, decrease turnover, and improve productivity. Simply put, human capital development will keep your agency healthy and happy. Not only that, but career development can be a powerful and affordable way to engage your workforce in tough times and be the biggest bang for the proverbial “taxpayer buck.”

So what can you do to help your staff move up in your agency? Here are some tips to help them get to the top.

Keeping your career ladder in tip-top shape

  • Plan and execute. Distribute training plans for staff growth at every grade and level. If you work in a large agency, chances are career ladder growth is outlined by specific policies and procedures. Find these programs and go over them with staff on a regular basis. Turn the plan into actionable goals for them. Go online and find practical tips, too. Kapta Systems, for example, provides a list of items to consider for individual career development plans.
  • Provide training. There are a number of free resources that can help your agency promote training for career development. Webinars are a great place to start and can provide training on almost any topic, whether it’s technical or cultural. There’s a lot out there, you just have to look for it.
  • Spell out the plan. Give staff tools they can use, like career planning checklists. Outline what they need to do to move up and make those steps visible in different areas of the agency. Hallway banners or marketing brochures that describe career advancement opportunities improve program visibility.
  • Keep employees engaged. Why not host an internal career fair to encourage people to learn about different jobs across the agency? Or have different departments host brown-bag “lunch and learn” sessions. Anything that educates staff on different career opportunities within the organization improves engagement.
  • Coach and mentor. Coaches and mentors can also help your team move up the career ladder. Assign mentors to point staff in the right direction throughout their career. From their perspective, it’s nice to know there’s someone who can give you a boost as you climb upward.
  • Reward and award. When an employee moves up, celebrate his or her success. Commemorating the event with an award is a great way to share enthusiasm and recognize staff for their accomplishments. Even small gestures, like acknowledging a new position with business cards in a special case are appreciated. Recognizing the staff member in an agency-wide announcement goes a long way, too. Send an email or a press release when someone advances, so staff know you’re proud of them.

Climbing up the career ladder can be challenging. If you’ve ever climbed an actual ladder, you know it is a vertical and difficult process, one that requires attention and confidence. But by making a few simple changes in your agency, you can make it seem less intimating, and hold the ladder as your team members climb to the top.

How to Deal With Your Dead-End Job.US News RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.

“Employee Retention: What Employee Turnover Really Costs Your Company.” WebProNews. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013.

5 Reasons to Emphasize Career Development During Sequestration.– Promising Practices. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013. <>.

Strategy Execution ResourcesFor Executives, Managers and Employees.How to Write an Employee Development Plan. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 May 2013.

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