As part of our 2014 Employee Engagement & Organizational Culture Report, we discovered that only 34% of employees feel there are strong opportunities for growth within their organizations. That means a whole lot of employees are feeling pretty down on what lies ahead.
Our research showed two prime culprits: 1) People simply don't know what those oportunities are, and 2) There is a lack of training and mentorship to grow professionally. But really, employees say it best themselves:
- "Nobody has talked to me about personal growth since [I started] six months ago. I don't know what opportunities are available for me. Outside of [working in a new industry], there hasn't really been an opportunity to grow, nor have I seen a path for growth."
- "I've learned a lot of skills, but there isn't a clear path to a promotion. I don't know how much revenue I need to bring in to be promoted. It's been [a while] since performance reviews and I've been in the same role since then, and there hasn't been any discussion on how to get promoted."
- "Now that I am working under a new Director, I brought this up a few times via email and during our goal review, and no communication was relayed to me at all if these objectives and path were still relevant. My professional growth is extremely important to me, and it is imperative I know I am working within a structure that will allow for my growth and progress upward."
Don't despair, there is a bright side. This is an issue you can actually address, and it all starts with surveying your employees:
- Start asking questions. This is the easy part. There are several straightforward questions you can ask like, "On a scale of 1-10, how much opportunity do you have for professional growth in this organization?" Or, you could try, "Do you feel you have the guidance and mentorship needed to grow within the organization?"
- Ask why. For any rating, ask for the reason behind it. It’ll give you the insight you need to see where you have a problem.
- Look at the negative responses. On a 10-point scale, anyone who gives an answer between 1 and 6 is feeling pretty negative. Drill into these responses. Really understand the reason behind their rating.
- Act. If you find, much like we did in this survey, that many employees don’t know what their opportunities are, sit down and start creating a professional growth plan for them. What are the skills an employee should be learning in his or her current role? How will those skills be measured? What training will be needed to get promoted?
We all want to offer clarity and support to our employees. Before that can happen, you need to know how you stack up. So go find out!