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5 Ways HR Leaders Can Encourage Career Growth Through Verified Skills

manager and employee in office representing how to encourage career growth

Change is the only constant in today’s rapidly shifting work environment. To meet the face of change and remain competitive, organizations need agile employees with a growth mindset.

Whether they’re your future leaders or the players who drive day-to-day operations, establishing a path for career growth is critical. Organizations that encourage career growth are better positioned to out-perform their peers. Why?

They attract top talent.

Building a culture and systems to encourage career growth can make your organization an employer of choice—especially when it involves helping employees develop new skills. According to a survey from Deloitte, 29% of Gen Z and Millennial workers chose new jobs based on learning and development opportunities—more than those who said they chose new jobs for higher pay and benefits.

A strong employer reputation means more applicants and higher quality applicants for your open positions—today and into the future. 

They engage their workforce.

Employee engagement is perhaps the top indicator of how productive and effective your workforce is—and how likely individuals are to stay. It’s nearly impossible to guarantee that every employee will always love their job. But by making career growth easier and more desirable, employers can boost engagement and job satisfaction.

They can quickly respond to changes in the business environment.

In order to remain competitive, your organization must adapt to changes swiftly—including changes in technology, your industry, and the overall economic landscape. Companies that encourage career growth and attract and retain growth-minded employees can change direction and shift strategies more quickly and effectively.

But all of this is easier said than done. HR leaders can’t snap their fingers and transform employee mindsets. They can, however, provide people a path to career growth through verifiable skills.

Five Ways HR Leaders Can Encourage Career Growth

Five ways HR leaders can encourage career growth

1. Identify employees’ skills and develop personalized learning paths.

Maybe Trish in accounting wants to master data visualization. Or Marco in marketing is interested in taking a deep dive into marketing automation skills. Whatever it is, chances are many employees already have professional interests or credentials their employers could tap.

The right workforce analytics tools allow organizations to connect with employees and gain insight into the skills and credentials every individual has earned at any point in their career journey—and create learning paths to encourage further career growth.

Organizations that provide resources for additional learning, including opportunities to gain verified credentials, send a clear message: “We support your career growth.” Data about employee interests makes it easier to align individual career growth with organizational needs.

2. Link skills development and learning with career advancement.

Making employee learning and development available to a company’s workforce says that your company values it. Making skill development a part of performance reviews reinforces that message and encourages career growth. Managers can discuss skill development in performance reviews, asking questions such as “What new skills have you gained this year?” and “What would you like to learn over the next 12 months?”

Job listings should also include specific skill requirements: Not just “financial analyst with four years of experience,” but “financial analyst with excellent data visualization skills.”

Companies that take a skills-based hiring approach send a message that encourages career growth. When interviewing or making job offers, hiring managers should communicate that someone’s verifiable skill credentials make them a strong candidate.

Finally, your organization should make it clear that you value skill building and career growth. Include that messaging in employee handbooks, your website careers page, internal communications, and more.

3. Provide career paths based on skills needed in the future.

There’s no crystal ball when it comes to the future. But with predictive analytics and workforce forecasting, you can assess your future workforce needs and create a plan for bridging the gap. Talent planning allows you to upskill, reskill, and redeploy talent to achieve short- and long-term business goals while encouraging talent to grow with your organization.

Career paths—typically focused on skill development and critical work experiences—create opportunities to organically develop the employees your company will need. And employees who can see a career path are more likely to pursue it.

4. Use digital credentials to drive recognition and engagement.

Learning new skills offers employees career benefits—higher pay, more responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment. And when the new skill is tied to a verified digital credential, there is the opportunity to build a stronger culture of recognition.

Some employees may develop reputations for their knowledge and be informally sought out as experts. This kind of recognition and status can deepen an employee’s engagement at work. It also illustrates, beyond titles and paychecks, the value of career growth through learning new skills.

5. Cultivate a culture of learning and development.

A culture of learning and development is one where employees are rewarded and encouraged to learn new skills and develop into more impactful workers. Organizations can nurture that culture by supporting learning and rewarding new skills.

This culture is strengthened when leaders discuss learning and development in positive ways and communicate how learning and development positively impacts the organization. Creating and maintaining this culture requires resources and commitment, but the result is a workforce that is proactive about learning and focused on career growth.

Encourage Career Growth and Unlock Your Organization’s Possibilities

In a Gallup poll of workers who voluntarily left their job, 51% said in the three months before they left, no manager or other leader discussed their job satisfaction or their future with the organization.

Consistently encouraging career growth—by providing learning opportunities, laying out clear career paths, building a culture of learning and development, and other steps—can drastically improve talent retention. That can save tens of thousands of dollars annually for each employee who stays rather than leaves.

To ensure an ROI on your organization’s efforts to encourage career growth in its workforce, start with systems that allow you to measure career growth through verifiable credentials. Our workforce solutions give organizations forward-looking analytics, forecasting tools, and verified skills data that workforce planning teams can use to take a skills-based approach to talent management.

Schedule a demo to learn more today.