LaSalle Network recently collected data from more than 5,000 professionals on what they want in a job and company, and having a clear career path was the area professionals were most dissatisfied with at their current employer. What’s more, a top aspect that survey respondents deemed most important in terms of company culture was “learning, growth and development.”
Job seekers and professionals want to work for organizations that value learning and career growth. They want to work for companies that will invest in them. How companies offer this can vary immensely. Beyond courses and workshops, below are strategies that have been implemented at LaSalle Network that can be replicated at nearly any organization.
Stay interviews are frequent, one-on-one meetings with top performers with the goal of identifying their motivators and getting a pulse on their engagement level with the company and their role. It’s designated time for you to talk to your top talent about what they enjoy most and least about their job, what their relationship with their manager is like, what they like to achieve and more. Too often, companies get this information during exit interviews and, at that point, it’s too late to convince an employee to stay. By building this as a management practice you can identify employee needs and address areas of importance in a timely manner. When managers conduct one-on-ones, they can quickly identify team members who prioritize career growth and can begin planning next steps.
A great way to build an employee’s skills is to have them work with different groups on projects outside of the normal scope of their role. It will help them build a better understanding of the business and identify how their work links to the bigger picture. Encourage employees to sit in on other team meetings to learn more about what other groups are working on and challenge them to identify how their role can assist. This will help them grow their mindset to think beyond their day-to-day, and more about company growth.
Skip-level management, or corporate grandparenting (as The LaSalle Network calls it), is when a leader mentors someone two layers below them. The term “corporate grandparenting” was coined by LaSalle Network CEO Tom Gimbel, drawing a familial comparison. Parents are focused on the day-to-day tasks of their child’s lives, such as finishing homework, eating vegetables or being on-time for extracurricular activities. In the workplace, managers are focused on employees’ day-to-day tasks and helping them achieve those. However, grandparents have a different relationship and those conversations are more focused on values and the bigger picture. An employee’s boss’ boss (a.k.a. the corporate grandparent) has different conversations with an employee than their manager would. Those conversations are more philosophical and focus on the bigger picture, such as career growth and development, values, and aspirations. This relationship is invaluable when it comes to development and growth.
When someone makes a mistake, they develop skills like humility, vulnerability, resilience and agility. The ability for someone to take a step back after a mistake, identify what they’ve learned and apply that the next time is a skill that is learned, not taught. The best learning opportunities can come from making mistakes. It’s hard for leaders to sit back and watch it happen, but, realistically, leaders can’t constantly handhold. Great leaders don’t feed information to employees. Instead, they help employees discover the answers or solutions to business challenges, even if it means making a mistake along the path to discovery.
Career growth isn’t a one-time conversation. It should be revisited often, including during one-on-one meetings. If an employee says they want to grow, then they have to be open to feedback. It’s the manager’s responsibility to provide on-the-spot coaching and development. The key concept here? “On-the-spot.” Meaning, as it happens. Do not wait for a one-on-one meeting that you set up for one week from now. Instead, point to specific examples as they happen. That is how people will learn.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to development. Not only is every company different, but all individuals need different things. The key is understanding your employees and what they need, individually, to be successful.