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How to Use Professional Development to Improve Employee Retention

28 Jul 22 by Sourced

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With technology and digital recruitment becoming ever more challenging as competition for talent increases, it is wise for employers to try broader strategies for acquiring and building the skills they need in their business.


Setting out to retain good employees is one strategy. When a highly skilled and knowledgeable professional leaves a role or company, it can be especially expensive and time-consuming to replace them. High-value employees are the key jigsaw pieces in effective service delivery, client satisfaction and growing a company’s bottom line.


Current trends indicate employees prefer jobs and companies where they feel supported and encouraged to grow personally and professionally. For employees in Australia and New Zealand, access to ongoing training has grown the most in importance by 16.7% since 2020, LinkedIn research shows, while 59% of workers globally rate professional development opportunities as a top area for investment to improve company culture.


By improving employee retention, employers can reap several major benefits - higher engagement and morale, increased productivity and attractive company culture, to name a few examples.


Offering professional development plans is a clear signal that a company invests in its workforce – which in turn is going to motivate your employees to stay. So, how do you ensure that your company can retain its best workers for as long as possible?

Align Development with Business Goals

There is no one-size-fits-all framework for professional development strategies. As there are so many ways to approach this it is sensible to start by outlining the company’s current priorities and how these policies can help meet them. Aligning development initiatives with company goals ensures time and money are well spent and relevant to business activity. It will also make employees feel motivated to remain with your business for longer.


Start with an appraisal of your organisation’s strategic goals and challenges and then decide which of the development initiatives you adopt will help your employees to achieve. Using clear and measurable targets for each employee will help keep everyone motivated and accountable.


These strategies can also help employers identify internal candidates for promotion. As competition for tech talent in Auckland, Christchurch and other regions remains high, organisations may find it easier to fill positions internally if they have committed to their employees’ learning and development.

Create Tailored Development Plans

Professional development plans are personalised, so arranging one-on-one sessions with employees is critical to the process. Everyone has unique ambitions and weaknesses they would like to address.


Ask employees what they enjoy most in their current role and what they’re having issues with. What are their career goals? Perhaps they have identified skills they want to build by training or getting involved in a new area of the business?


Make notes of these discussions so you can map out development plans for each employee. Setting time-bound goals can help everyone track progress and keep employees motivated to continue their development. When you tailor your development plans with your employees and their goals, you are showing people that their professional goals are important to you as an employer – and that’s key to retention.

Foster a Culture of Learning

In the technology and digital industries, most professionals are naturally motivated to keep learning new things. You can also cultivate a workplace environment that encourages employees to adopt a continuous learning mindset.


Approaches employers can use include:

  • Making learning a key priority from day one for each employee, by giving access to training courses and learning-related activities
  • Allocating time for regular education and development activities 
  • Creating a library of resources that new and experienced employees can access  
  • Encouraging subject matter experts to create and contribute to learning resources.


A strong learning culture makes a company a more engaging place to work, which can have positive long-term effects on retention. Global data gathered by LinkedIn and Glint shows employees rate opportunities to learn and grow as the top factor that defines an exceptional work environment.


Further, employees with a positive view of their company culture are 31% more likely to recommend working at their organisation.

Summary

Many tech professionals are motivated by continuous learning and are more willing to stay with a company if they can keep building on their strengths and developing new skills. Promoting a learning culture is not just useful for improving employee retention, it can also make your business a more attractive place to work in a competitive talent market.


At Sourced, our broad network of talent and clients in Auckland, Christchurch and beyond enables us to collect the most up-to-date insights on hiring and candidate trends. If you’re ready to make your next great tech hire, get in touch with our technology and digital recruitment specialists today.