How employee career progression affects your business’s operational efficiency
I’ve just read an interesting report published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) – Employee Outlook, Employee Views on Working Life. It says that a third of UK workers are unhappy with their career progression and in response, urges employers to prioritise line management development and improved access to training. We have found through our own research at Beehive that clarity around how employees can progress their careers and actual career progression is strongly linked to loyalty. This was confirmed by CIPD’s report which highlighted that, in order to kick start their career, employees are more likely to vote with their feet and move into a different organisation.
Role of HR and organisational culture
In my view, encouraging career progression should be embedded in an organisation’s culture, from the top down. There may be many reasons why individuals don’t progress as they feel they should. Those from financially disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to feel they are being held back, because they can’t afford to invest in life-long learning opportunities. Employers can help remedy this by making a personal training and development budget available to their staff. Others may need to be informed of career path requirements and encouraged to be pro-active in asking for career progression support from their line manager or others in the organisation – but the key thing is the processes and culture need to be in place to encourage this.
According to the CIPD report, over a fifth of employees are currently looking for a new job. If your business fails to encourage fair career progression for all, you’ll likely incur higher staff costs and have to manage staff shortages while vacancies are filled. Surely investing in line management support and Training and Development offers a better return.
The challenge of changing organisational culture
Improving employee engagement and loyalty is a challenging task, especially for larger organisations where some employees may be less visible to policy makers. When deciding on business/ HR strategies to make improvements, it’s vital that organisations know where improvements need to be made. Employees don’t always feel comfortable voicing their concerns with their line managers, senior management or even their colleagues. Impartial collection of feedback is critical.
And whilst it’s interesting to find out what the general employee engagement level is and how your organisation compares to others, this does not necessarily give you the tools to make improvements that count. Each organisation is different, and apart from the style of the leadership team, factors such as sector, company size and company age will influence the culture and make it difficult to compare your organisation with others. Intelligent, considered research into employee engagement will distil the underlying causes of discontent and, crucially, provide your business with a set of measures that will have a positive impact on employees and the workplace.
At Beehive we have many years’ experience working with leading global organisations to help them understand how they can boost efficiency by improving employee satisfaction. Time and again we find that real change happens when they move from comparing index scores to acting on the underlying drivers, as this table highlights (taken from an anonymised client study).
Measurable return on investment
It’s not a one-off process, staff attitudes must be continually and consistently measured. But research should measure how planned improvements impact operational efficiency (business departments working together) and business performance. In turn, this will provide you with the return of investment and encourage future investment in managing your valuable human resources.