Tales from the Corporate Frontlines: Career Opportunity and Employee Retention

This article relates to the Career Opportunities competency and explores issues such as internal growth opportunities, potential for advancement, career development importance, and the relationship between job performance and career advancement. Evaluating the Career Opportunities competency in your organization will determine whether your employees believe they have a chance to grow within the organization. Studies show that lack of career opportunity is one of the top reasons why employees leave an organization. Also, continually hiring open positions from outside the organization can be detrimental to morale when a qualified candidate is available internally. Topics covered in this competency are: perceived opportunity for advancement, existence of a career development plan, and organizational commitment to staff development.

This article, Career Opportunity and Employee Retention, is part of AlphaMeasure's compilation, Tales From the Corporate Frontlines. It tells how one company changed procedures to offer new kinds of career opportunities to its workers and improve overall employee retention.

Anonymous Submission

Career Opportunity and Employee Retention

Over the past decade, the company where I work has been through plenty of changes with regard to the way it hires, promotes, and utilitizes its greatest asset---its workers.

"Human capital" is the phrase often used in corporate literature. I'm not sure that I like the sound of it, but I must admit, it's an accurate description.

As a human resources manager, I was asked to review the results of our recent employee satisfaction survey and choose one category of interest and prepare a report outlining possible solutions. I chose employee retention, because the survey indicated that many employees were leaving or looking for new positions elsewhere because they felt a lack of career opportunity in their current positions.

Upper management had recently issued a directive---No new promotions into management for the foreseeable future. We were already overstaffed and the budgets would not permit any more spending in this area.

So, I set out to find some ways to make changes that would allow employees to learn, grow, and feel fulfilled without becoming a member of management. Together with a few HR coworkers, I conducted a focus group. The findings may be valuable to companies in similar circumstances.

* Employees don't expect a lifetime commitment from your company. But they do appreciate the chance to learn new skills on the job that will make them more marketable in the future. Practices like cross training and adding increased responsibility give employees the opportunity to show what they can do, and if they are eventually chosen for management, they will be better qualified. * Employees want to learn more about the business they work for, as a whole. Once they learn the big picture, they feel empowered to make valuable contributions in terms of how they can perform more creatively and efficiently.

Eventually, we developed a series of policy changes that brought our company current with the changing structure of business today. To create more opportunity for our employees, we offered cross training and lateral job move options, as well as information groups and training sessions to let employees in on company wide business practices, procedural changes, and new opportunities as they became available. As a result, morale, retention, and productivity have improved greatly.

2005 AlphaMeasure, Inc. - All Rights Reserved

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Measure. Report. Improve your organization with AlphaMeasure employee satisfaction surveys.

Josh Greenberg is President of AlphaMeasure, Inc.

AlphaMeasure provides organizations of all sizes a powerful web based method for measuring employee satisfaction, determining employee engagement, and increasing employee retention.

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