The landscape of today’s workplace isn’t what it was twenty years ago. It’s not even what it was twenty minutes ago – today’s environment is both fast-paced and competitive. Ninety-one percent of millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for fewer than three years. That makes it all the more imperative that employers find a way to keep employees energized, often with an employee development plan.
Unfortunately, employee loyalty just isn’t a given anymore. The modern-day workforce has experienced various changes to the economic climate. Employees have come to expect that if they invest in their employer, their employer should invest in them.
Christina Merhar of Zane Benefits wrote, “Companies can’t remain passive about their employee development programs because the cost of losing talent is high. On average, every lost employee costs about six to nine months of that employees’ salary to replace. And that doesn’t count the indirect costs of lost productivity.”
Employee Development Plans Aid Career Growth
In addition, millennials are career-driven individuals who need to see continual growth. According to Bersin, “Career management is considered a top priority by Millennials; they want and expect career development and progression within their place of work.”
Employees at every level want to feel engaged. Not only that, they want to see a clear development path in front of them. The more motivated an employee feels, the more useful they are to the company and the longer they’ll stay with the company. We’re not referring to an overworked staff. We’re referring to a well-motivated staff. That’s where a defined employee development plan comes in.
Benefits of Employee Development Plans
The benefits of a fully integrated employee development plan reach much further than just keeping current employees engaged. Employee development plans are also useful tools for attracting new employees. Prospective candidates want to know more than what the current required duties of a job they are considering are. They also want to know what that job will grow into and where it will take them in the future.
The existence of a standardized employee development plan reassures interested job seekers that a company is invested in their long-term success and advancement in the organization. As Bersin stated, “Companies with career management programs are better able to attract and retain top talent, leading to higher employee engagement and, in turn, a positive impact on the bottom line.”
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The Business Case for Employee Development Programs
Of course, you can’t simply have an employee development plan without strong employee development programs. That’s why forward-thinking companies are modernizing their engagement and retention tactics to provide all employees with what they want: an increased focus on companies and their employee development programs. According to Bersin, “High-impact learning organizations are four times more likely to have world-class career development, and 2.5 times more likely to have career development across 50 percent or more of their employees.”
As an employer, it’s only natural to wonder if investing in an enterprise approach to employee development is really worth the resources it requires. The answer is yes. Gallup estimated that actively disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses between $450 and $550 billion each year in lost productivity.
An enterprise approach can generate significant returns in many ways, including a notable improvement in career mobility and employee retention, reduced costs of external hiring, training and reused content, along with improvement in succession management and contingency planning.
Successful Employee Development Programs
Combined with a thought-out employee development plan, employee development programs give employees something to work towards. They know what comes next in their career, which allows them to work through challenges rather than feel stymied by them. Because of this, we believe they tend to look forward to what’s on the horizon for both themselves and the company.
Research from Bersin backs this up: “Career development programs were the fourth highest best practice identified, with a strong correlation to business outcomes, generating almost 30 percent greater business impact.”
Overall, employee development plans and programs help employees feel invested in their jobs and their company’s mission. A well-established program ensures that employees continue to feel driven to advance their own careers within the company, as well as to advance the company’s mission, rather than turning elsewhere for new opportunities.