Why Career Development is an even bigger business issue than your first thought


Feedback from colleague engagement surveys is leading to an explosion in investment by corporate companies in career development programs. So why do companies care about career development? The reason is simple -- companies want engaged staff, who in turn work more productively, and colleagues themselves have told companies that career development will increase their engagement. This seems a win-win but the reasons to invest in career development is more complex than that;


  1. The high cost of having a leaking talent pipeline -- Corporate companies are increasingly talent organizations offering a services rather than a physical commodity. Lost talent is not only expensive to replace, with estimates of up to £200,000 a year, but companies are also loosing intellectual capital each and every time a colleague leaves. The reality is that the more talent based the role, the trickier it is to find a replacement. This places a strain on the entire team which in turn may make them all think about leaving.

  2. It creates a strong corporate culture -- Colleagues, not HR, create the company culture. If colleagues feel that there is a career progression then they are more likely to invest in the culture of the company. This could be by using discretionary effort to support affinity groups such as a Balance Network or a Women's Group which are recognized to have a significant impact on building the culture of an organisation. Engaged colleagues also tend to have strong internal and external networks which can also help positively frame the company within the wider sector.

When a team feels they are working towards a common goal, supporting a strong corporate culture and have the right incentives to maximize their discretionary effort then magic happens. If colleagues feels there is limited progress to be made within a vertical or wider organisation they are more likely to under perform. This can then impact their wider team through group think and the whole team could then move away from a growth mindset into a disengaged one. The disengagement could be a loss of productivity, slow down of product development or event poorer customer service, all of which affects a companies bottom line and decreases shareholder value.


Increasing investment in career development can defiantly be a win-win situation but only if it is done well. From talking to friends across the corporate world one thing is clear - career development is generally relatively standardized across companies with a large investment in a single platform or provision. The reality is that something that is suitable for those at the start of their career may be quite different than for a returning mother who is mainly sitting in life overwhelm. Personalization is the buzz word right now and career development is no exception. Offering a variety of choices for career development allows the individual to choose what is working for them right now. This also means you are more likely to get an even more engaged employee - the main aim of career development programs.


If you enjoyed this post please check out my other blog posts on the topic including How to Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable and How to Deal with Mental Load Overload.


All opinions are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.

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