Professional development is important to many employees, and a new study from international consulting company YouGov found more than half of American workers have a five-year career plan. Asking candidates what their plan is for their professional progression is common during interviews, but HR professionals shouldn't forget to continuously work to understand how employees want to develop.
When it comes to talent and employee management, HR professionals need to keep in contact with employees about their career goals. Without this communication, HR representatives can see themselves having to undergo expensive hiring and onboarding processes to replace top talent when simply providing workers with opportunities for further training and education could have kept them at the company. Investing in employees can pay off for companies through better worker retention and stronger staff performance.
Understand the Goals of Your Talented Workers
YouGov's survey received more than 1,400 responses from U.S. workers and 1,008 from employees in the United Kingdom. YouGov found American employees are more likely than their counterparts in the U.K. to seek out learning opportunities and tools for skill development – 79 percent of U.S. employees said they are continuously looking to improve their abilities while only 56 percent of U.K. workers said the same. Most U.S. workers (55 percent) had five-year career plans and knew how they were going to achieve their professionals goals, compared to only 40 percent of those in the U.K.
However, HR professionals should note that members of the U.S. workforce tend to be less patient than their European counterparts. Thirty-four percent said they would be willing to find a new job if their current employer didn't provide them with career development opportunities, while only 26 percent of U.K. employees said the same.
It can be beneficial for recruiters and HR representatives to take note of workers' five-year plans during the interview process. After employees have been with the company for a few months or a year, sitting down with workers and reexamining their plans can help HR professionals gauge how employees are feeling about their jobs. Employees may want to start taking the next steps in their career progression. If there are any training and educational opportunities available that can enhance employees' abilities, HR professionals should work to involve employees in these career development options. By not doing so, HR professionals could be inadvertently telling talented workers that they aren't valued at the company and should look elsewhere.