Learning & Development

How can managers support with career development?

As an L&D business, it’s good to see “Supporting career development” ranking as a top three priority for managers in 2023. Helping people expand their skillset isn’t an area to avoid in the fear of losing employees – it’s imperative for businesses to grow.

Despite this, only 35% of learners have been encouraged by their managers to develop in the last six months. More employees are looking for career development than ever before, so businesses need to be committed to this.

So, how can managers support their employees with career development?

Present training plans and have conversations

70% of employees would be inclined to move jobs for companies who invest in career development. It needs to be a priority, and having conversations with every employee is a great place to start.

Sit down with your employees and ask how they want to progress. Provide them with different options their role can develop into, identify areas they are strong in and skills that will be useful for different pathways.

If your employees aren’t sure, try and give some examples of how others have developed to help envisage their journeys. This can help them identify areas they’re particularly passionate about.

Once you’ve done that, work with them to create a development plan which outlines tasks they need to complete in order to demonstrate growth. It maps out what they need to do in order to develop, which helps guide how they perform.

Demonstrate their value

Showing employees the value of growth is a tool managers can use to encourage career development. When creating development plans, demonstrate how acquiring new skills will elevate employees to take on additional tasks and responsibilities.

This motivates employees to work hard in particular areas of development, which they have chosen to enhance their skillset. More motivated employees perform more efficiently while feeling happier in their roles too – that’s great for everyone!

Empower employees to fill gaps

Managers can encourage career development by empowering employees to fill skill gaps across the business. Identify skill gaps or areas which need more support within your business – you can use a learning management system to assist with this.

Once you’ve done this, identify which of your employees have the potential to develop and fill skill gaps. Then comes the easy bit – give them the tools to grow!

Set objectives that will encourage your employees to grow and provide as many opportunities to learn as possible. Empowering them to grow is essential for career development and your employees will thank you for it.

An example could be that a senior factory manager within your business is retiring. With no direct replacement, it would normally pose a problem for you. But you were aware your employee would be leaving, so you booked your machine operator onto a management programme six months prior. Now when the employee retires or moves on, you’ve got a ready-made replacement. It’s perfect for those looking for career development!

Identify areas of improvement

An important factor managers need to focus on is identifying areas of improvement for their employees. Without this, how can your employees be expected to develop?

Ask your employees to choose areas they would like to focus on and feel are in need of development. You can then use this to identify where to focus training in order to maximise growth for your employees.

It’s important to remind your people that it’s an area of improvement and not a weakness, so it should be seen as a positive.

An example of how to do this is to write down a skill and ask your employee to give themselves a score out of 10. This will feel more positive for employees rather than stating areas they don’t feel as confident in.

Career development is a huge desire for many, with 74% of employees ready to learn new skills or re-train to remain employable in the future. We have outlined some key factors managers can implement as they encourage their employees to develop.

It’s a great tool for retention too, with 94% stating they would stay with a business for longer if they invested in it. So, if you’re a manager looking to maximise yours and your employees’ potential, start implementing our tips. Good luck!

Related: Employee development: are you encouraging this?

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