As anyone in HR would tell you, this is a continuous process; it is not a one-time solution or package that you can offer employees, but a long-term, deep-rooted organisational culture that ensures employees at all levels stay constantly engaged and motivated.
A big part of this process is career development.
Employees across the board, especially the millennials, understand that to grow and scale the corporate ladder they need to offer more value for money – i.e., additional skills, more experience or a mature and strategic thought process – some of these come with time and some need to be developed – but they all need the employer’s support.
Whether it is offering your team opportunities to stretch their minds and resources or giving them time to study further or offering in-house skill-building opportunities – the organisation is the first port of call for an employee’s career development. Almost all employees look internally for professional growth opportunities, and when they don’t find it, they eventually leave!
You are probably thinking – “hey, we know all this! But there is only so much we can do with our budgets and resources.”
Agreed! It is not our intention to teach you your job, what we hope to do instead is highlight some companies that are implementing this successful programme – to maybe leave you a bit inspired for your next L&D meeting!
So, without further ado, here are a few career development initiatives we really liked –
Successful Career Development Initiatives
1. Pixar, AT&T, and Schneider Electric
Why we like them: Huge investment in creating university-style learning environment and infrastructure for all employees.
All these three global giants have invested a serious amount of time, money and thought into developing huge learning centers for their employees.
While at Pixar the focus remains on fostering creative thinking, at the AT&T University the scope is broader, and they have achieved this by partnering with well-known online and physical universities; all employees can choose from a large variety of courses developed in partnership with Georgia Tech and Udacity Inc.
At the other end of the spectrum is Schneider Electric; they have created a learning center that is very specific to their domain and offers over 200 courses on energy efficiency and data centers.
2. Culture Amp
Why we like them: The initiative lies with the employees, and it’s not all about professional learning – the initiatives are really about what the employee wants not what’s best for the company.
Culture Amp has really given the responsibility of learning to the people along with the tools. They have two great programmes which can be implemented by companies of all sizes –
Coaching for Everyone – Every single employee is provided with sessions with an executive coach or a life coach at 6, 12 and 24 months and they can use these sessions for anything they like – professional or personal issues.
Learn Yourself Up – a quarterly budget for training is open for all to use – for anything they like. Employees pay for a part of the course fees – a smaller percentage for professional courses and a higher one for a personal one. But again, it can be anything they like.
Why we like them: Employees are given budgets to use as they see fit.
Optoro offers its employees an annual professional development budget that they can use – in conjunction with their managers – to further their professional skills.
They also provide skills-based seminars on a plethora of topics the whole year round and actively encourage all employees to participate in the conferences, organizations and learning programs that will keep them expanding their professional knowledge.
What we like: No questions asked, equal opportunity for all
If you have been an Amazon employee for at least one year then you are eligible for a course worth $12000!
The Career Choice Program by Amazon pre-pays 95% of tuition and fees for certificates and associate degrees in areas that are in high demand, such as aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, nursing, and so on – regardless of whether they have any relevance to work at Amazon!
We doubt there is any organisation out there, large or small, that is not working hard to engage and motivate employees to the best of their abilities and budgets.
But, it is easy to get caught up in the business of running an organisation; of meeting targets and deadlines. Which is why you need to remember these three things –
- Employees WANT to be good at their work and they WANT the resources to do better.
- Career Development planning doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming or very elaborate – but it has to be meaningful.
- If you don’t fulfil the development aspirations of your employees, the most talented of them will leave. And this will cost you in the long run.
Whether you have a robust L&D programme or are just starting to put down the foundation of your career development policies, it always pays to understand the needs and aspirations of your employees and this is where we can help.
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