Professional Growth Opportunities: More Than A Nice To Have

2 min read
Dec 1, 2014

Professional Growth OpportunitiesNo one leaves a sign on the office door to tell you when it happens. There’s no note at your desk to notify you the moment your favorite employee realizes that his job has become a dead end. Most often, you don’t find out until his resignation letter hits your desk. Do you really need to ask what went wrong?

You already know the answer: you can’t just pay someone to do a job and expect that’s all they need to stick around. It takes more than that. Besides learning more and more about how to collect good feedback from employees, we’ve learned a lot about how they feel about work culture and what factors affect their decisions to stick with or leave a company.

Our research has shown that a solid 20% of employees who would consider leaving their jobs would do so because they lack opportunities for professional growth. When we asked people what they would consider the primary reason for leaving, we got some candid responses. Here are a few, in their own words:

  • “If I felt like I stopped learning and growing as a professional. If that were to happen, I wouldn't be able to contribute anymore to the company outside of my current skill set. That doesn't help me or the company.”
  • “The primary reason I would leave would be for a better opportunity to grow my career.”
  • “I haven't been given a career growth path, or the steps to get there.”

Think your company might be at risk of losing some key staff to the same kinds of failures? If so, it might be time to think about what you’re doing in your organization to be clear with staff about the opportunities ahead of them. To help bridge the gap, consider these approaches:

  • Try holding 1:1 meetings to track weekly performance and assess skills they need to improve.
  • In addition to weeklies, consider holding a separate 1:1 meeting each month specifically for discussing which projects are interesting/energizing to an employee
  • As part of these meetings, map out roles, expectations, and skills with your employee that can be developed over time to meet the person’s personal goals.

If you think all this is a hassle, remember: this is a win for both of you. An employee who knows there is progress to be made and a light to sail toward is one who will be more motivated to get there every single day. And teams full of happy, motivated people get higher customer service scores, higher job satisfaction ratings, and, on a personal note, are simply more fun to work with.



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