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Surveys have shown that companies that support their employees’ career development have better rates of worker engagement and lower rates of turnover. It turns out, businesses that invest in their employees are more productive and have a better shot at  reaching their business goals. 

Even with fantastic outcomes, investing  in employee career development is no easy task.  It’s an ongoing process of asking questions, initiating programs, gathering feedback, and iterating. This list will break down that process for you into five easy steps you can implement now.

1. Stay In Tune With Employee Wants and Needs

A massive disconnect between employee and employer was found in a recent survey conducted by Udacity and IPSOS. Over 75% of enterprise companies thought their learning and development programs were very successful, but less than 50% of workers surveyed agreed. This misunderstanding between company and employee creates resentment from workers towards the places to work, which eventually leads people into quitting or finding a new job.

To shrink this gap, businesses must conduct regular check-ins with their workers. This can be anything from anonymous surveys to comment cards, or even asking management to poll employees during 1:1s. The important thing is to prioritize collecting critical feedback from employees, then taking that information to heart and implementing meaningful changes over time.

2. Initiate Career Trajectory Check-Ins

When it comes to an individual level, workers that have a tangible goal  in mind for their career tend to be more motivated when working than those without. The best way to facilitate this kind of goal-formation is through career check-ins. Have each employee’s manager meet with their workers at minimum once a year (but preferably more often, like once a quarter) to discuss career aspirations.

The key to these check-ins is to encourage employees to dream big. Do they want to move up the management chain? Become a top expert in their field? Spearhead a new product or division? Find out what makes each worker feel excited, and play to those strengths. 

3. Encourage a Culture of Learning

When people stop learning, they tend to stagnate. Stagnation leads to boredom, resentment, and worse. The best way to avoid this is to establish a culture of continual learning at your business. This means celebrating any time a worker learns something new to apply to their job.

Developing a culture of ongoing learning can look like:

  • Offering a quarterly stipend for learning materials
  • Designating a few work hours every month as a “learning day”
  • Offering rewards and recognition for new and innovative ideas

When you prioritize learning, you’ll be amazed to see how happiness and confidence among workers increases, as well as productivity and innovation!

4. Develop a Mentorship Program

Mentorship programs may seem like they are designed to help the mentee — and they do — but really they’re majorly helpful to the mentors themselves. One of the best ways to solidify a subject in your mind is to teach it to someone new. Therefore, when people engage in mentorship, they’re not only helping their mentee understand a new subject, but also gaining a deeper understanding of it themselves.

If there are any new technical initiatives you want to become a core part of your business, like data science or cybersecurity, introducing a mentorship program focused on those subjects is a great way to encourage learning. In fact, Udacity has expert mentors that are industry experts. This means you get personalized attention, and a lot more chance at success. Udacity mentors help you with learning the basics of your chosen course as well as quizzes to ensure you are staying on track.

5. Provide Free On-the-Job training

While many employees love learning something new, they’re less likely to try and take courses when they have to pay for it themselves or spend time outside of work hours learning. Many employees feel that they already use up a large part of their day on the job. They want to unwind and spend time with friends and family when they are done for the day. Therefore, asking workers to upskill on their own time is asking a lot.

By providing on-the-job training, you can support employee career development by helping them gain critical technical skills while at work. This kind of compensated training makes employees feel valued by their employer, which encourages them to apply their learnings to their job.

Support Employee Career Development Today

If you’re ready to launch your employee career development program, check out Udacity for Enterprise. Our global talent transformation programs are trusted by top companies around the world, including industry leaders like Toyota, Accenture, and Shell. Get started today.

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Jennifer Shalamanov
Jennifer Shalamanov
Jennifer is a content writer at Udacity with over 10 years of content creation and marketing communications experience in the tech, e-commerce and online learning spaces. When she’s not working to inform, engage and inspire readers, she’s probably drinking too many lattes and scouring fashion blogs.