One of the best things you can do for your company’s bottom line is to increase your employees’ commitment to your business. Study after study shows engaged employees are more productive and less likely to quit or be fired than other workers. Employee motivation is not, however, always as simple as it sounds. What can managers do to improve their employees’ engagement with the company?
Simple: Support the employees in developing and pursuing a career path.
Most managers understand the concept of a career path from a theoretical perspective. It is, in general terms, a thorough understanding of the path an employee wants to take through his/her company and a specified set of goals for his/her personal career development. Unfortunately for many managers, a theoretical understanding will not increase employee motivation or retention, and it certainly will not increase productivity. That requires active support.
Thankfully, supporting an employee’s career path is fairly easy in practice. It simply involves providing a specific set of information on a continual basis. This information enables employees to understand all of the options for growth and development within the company and to fully comprehend the skills, tools, and experiences needed to get where they want to go.
The latter is vitally important to employee engagement. Knowledge of lateral opportunities and/or available promotions within a company will not translate into motivation if employees do not know how to obtain those positions. Managers have to keep employees informed of the essential skills and prerequisites for consideration. To do this, consider making the following information available to all employees on a regular basis:
- Detailed job descriptions, both for an employee’s current position and for any open or soon-to-be open positions;
- Detailed job specifications that thoroughly describe the ideal person for any open or soon-to-be open position;
- A detailed list of required competencies or prerequisites for any open or soon-to-be open position;
- Information on how to obtain the required skills for open or soon-to-be open positions (this is particularly beneficial for employees considering lateral moves); and/or
- Information on how to apply internally for any open positions.
Providing this information ensures your employees have what they need to develop a detailed and implementable career path. Additional things to consider implementing within your company include job-shadowing opportunities, a mentoring program, on-the-job training programs, and a formal succession planning process.