As more Americans continue quitting their jobs at a phenomenal pace, leaving organizations with more vacancies than candidates, it is not surprising that top leaders are urgently prioritizing how to attract and retain talent, this year.
While strategies such as hikes in compensation, offering flexible work schedules, promotions, and facilitating easier remote working are great, there is one more option that demands priority. We are talking about employee professional development here.
It can be pretty easy to overlook employee professional development as a vital part of HR processes and customer experience management. You might think that finding and employing the right candidate for a customer-facing role is enough to keep your customers engaged and loyal. However, that is only partially true. Employee retention and engagement are equally vital for a successful customer retention management strategy.
Overlooking the professional development of your employees can most certainly lead to employee disengagement, dissatisfaction, and reduced productivity. And most alarmingly, it can trigger your employees to quit their jobs, thereby impacting your business in various ways. It can not only hamper the levels of production, but you will also need to undertake expensive recruitment drives to fill the gap, and bear with a negative reputation. But with the right professional development programs for employees, you can avoid many of these problems. You can
A recent study has shown that about 86 percent of employees want to be a part of professional development programs, and would willingly switch to a different organization that offers them this facility.
In what ways can you boost retention through professional development?
- Make employee learning a kind of ritual
When you make learning ritualistic, it helps your employees connect with the purpose better and cultivate a sense of belonging in their minds. For instance, you can encourage them to stop whatever work they are doing and join an online class at 3 PM every month on a particular Wednesday. It can be any course or program of their choice from the options available.
- Start a book club with virtual teams
When teams work in a fully virtual mode, it can be easy to feel disconnected from the team and organization and develop a sense of drifting away. This can be disastrous for your employees and consequently your business. Starting a book club can be a profound yet fun way to nurture an environment of connection and boost engagement among remote-working employees. It can offer them a unique way of learning together and thinking together, across virtual teams. The essence is to build and strengthen team dynamics by allowing them to connect with their teammates and show up as human selves beyond work.
- Launch employee coaching programs beyond C-suite executives
Coaching programs for employees are one of the most effective ways to boost retention and engagement. Not just the senior executives; you should have coaching programs for employees of all levels that help them develop essential skills for their respective job roles. It should ideally empower them to advance their professional development to the next level. For instance, you can coach your sales and marketing teams about the customer closed loop feedback system, and how to leverage it for customer experience. So, employee professional development programs are highly critical for keeping your customers engaged, loyal and happy too. (And not just your employees!)
- Start learning from early on, and often
Do not wait for your newly appointed employees to settle down in your organization and then enroll them in professional development programs. If they are encouraged to start as soon as they join your organization, learning can have a much deeper effect on their work experience. You can build professional development into the standard onboarding process so that employees can utilize this experience to interact daily with their supervisors. The aim should be to motivate them to show up at work feeling positive about their job role, and talents, and also that the organization values them.
The pandemic has managed to drastically change people’s priorities and preferences in life. Employee professional development programs are readily accessible and need not be costly, but they can provide employees with something that they genuinely want. After all, a successful customer experience management strategy relies heavily on employee retention and experience, too.