Opinion by Denis Pennel, Managing Director, World Employment Confederation
Great Resignation. Big Quit. Great Re-evaluation. Quiet Quitting. Great Reshuffle. Every day, a new buzzword emerges to convey the same reality: Across all sectors, people are reconsidering what work means to them and how much space it should take in their lives.
What we observe is a gigantic employment puzzle in which workers don’t find their way back to labour markets. There are about 33 million people unemployed across OECD countries. In Europe, job vacancies are at the highest in a decade; in the United States, more than 11 million job vacancies were posted in July 2022 against a pool of less than 6 million unemployed. This mismatch comes from the fact that today’s workers want more than fair financial compensation for their engagement.
Employees Want to be Invested In
Recent research by Manpower Group found that 81% of employees expect employer-provided training programmes to help keep their skills up-to-date.
LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Talent Trends report says 63% pick work-life balance as their top priority when choosing a new job. Meanwhile, the Adecco Group and LHH survey highlighted that while salary is the top-ranked reason people leave their jobs, it isn’t anywhere near the top three reasons for why they stay.
Employees want to feel personally valued, both in the short and long term, with an opportunity for growth. Aligning to their expectations is not only key to attract workers but also for retention. One way in which organisations can demonstrate that they genuinely understand what workers want is to offer career support. With the expertise of a coach, employees can gain clarity and insight into their career journey, the areas in which they might like to gain additional knowledge and the steps that will be necessary to achieve their goals.
What to ask yourself before offering Career Coaching
474,000,000. Enter “career coaching” in Google, and this is the number of suggested inputs you will get. With this plethora of solutions, it can be hard to figure out what will best support your employees as they build a fulfilling, sustainable career path. To determine the right strategy, you should ask yourself these three questions:
- Does career support fit within your workforce strategy?
Whatever you do to support your employees’ careers, it should be compatible with your broader workforce strategy. Workers today mistrust that companies are really willing to invest in their career. Launching an initiative that’s disconnected from your strategy can lead to a perception that it’s purely lip service, which will ultimately damage your company’s brand. So before committing to career support and skilling programmes ensure that they match employee expectations of the company’s overall mission and vision.
- What is your skilling strategy?
Career orientation has proven to be a strong factor in engagement in skilling initiatives. Indeed, without the necessary support, practice has shown that only a limited number of individuals engage in sponsored reskilling activities. So, it’s important to invest in targeted career support. For example, if innovation and learning are at the forefront of your company culture, you might want to build a large-scale career support framework alongside specific mobility paths. This may prove much more effective in garnering engagement and helping employees succeed.
- Should I look for internal coaches or external expert support?
Embedding career support internally is often seen as more sustainable and affordable. Adopting technology to scale and having team leaders become coaches certainly helps build a culture of mobility. However, enabling mindset shifts and spotting new opportunities requires mastering a specific skill set, as well as a broader understanding of the jobs market. This can be a lot to ask of team leads who already have many responsibilities. Hiring a service provider might be a better call.
Moreover, the main reason that employees give for not participating in available coaching is because the coaches come from within the company. This keeps employees from feeling completely comfortable in sharing their thoughts and goals openly. Beyond getting expert advice, engaging with a career support services provider gives them permission to envision their ideal career without judgement. This helps build trust in your intention to do the best for your employees, which can be a game changer for the effectiveness of your programmes.
Professional pathways are becoming less linear, and transitions are more frequent than ever. This makes career support a fundamental feature for employee retention. Enabling fast and sustainable work transitions is of the utmost importance for all – including businesses themselves.