Why employees must be given career growth opportunities

Experts say employees must be presented with, and given clear cut career growth path and opportunities, and that complaints by employers that many workers do not make quick and expected progress in the workplace, is misplaced, MESHACK IDEHEN writes

Annually, particularly towards the end of every quarter when many serious and business minded organisations carry out performance audit and evaluation on their workers, a high sense of expectation and mixed feelings pervade the workforce.

This anxiety, said Human Resource Management Expert and Registrar of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), Mr. Sunday Adeyemi, is mainly because the outcome of such audits and evaluation produces “winners and losers”, in the sense that while some employees are elevated and others rewarded through promotions, some are placed on “watch list for non performers”, while others are disengaged from the company.

However, the CIPM Chief Executive Officer said in these exercises, that presenting all cadres of workers with clear cut opportunities for equal growth and advancement holds the key, as every employee’s growth and development is directly tied to the company’s growth, sustainance and development.

In that regards, Adeyemi explained that the ever fluctuating level of employees productivity and output which usually forms the basis of evaluation can be stabilised for optimum performance in and outside of work; and sustained at an all-time high, if such employees and their organisations work together to access and utilise opportunities that will advance the employees.

According to him, “Besides motivation, perks, wages and the material benefits of work, the need for employees to grow quickly on their job becomes more critical and imperative, when the place of competition from outside, and cost, time and energy of training and retraining is given thought”.

Speaking in the same vein, the Registrar and Chief Executive Office of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria (ISM), Mr. Adeyemi Mapaderun, said businesses and organisations must constantly fashion out ways and means by which old and new employees adapt to and grow on their assigned jobs in order to translate such quick growth into organisational objectives and profits. Mapaderun said the bulk of the blame concerning little or no advancement opportunities for a large portion of the nation’s workers, alongside the challenge of slow growth and development should be placed on the doorsteps of business owners, adding that it is usually not unheard of to see line manager being used by business owners to suppress growth and career advancement opportunities.

The ISM chief executive officer explained that, “by suppressing such growth opporturnities, the business owners is doing more damage to himself and his business, instead of the savings he assumes he is making”, adding that many employers and managers are unable to determine which aspects of the jobs in their kitty to give to new workers in order to hasten their learning, growth and development process.

Emphasising that career development and planning is important for employee retention, and by extension organisational long term survival, Management Trainer, and Chief Executive Officer of Team Building Nigeria Limited, Mr.Yinka Olugbodi, said one of the biggest factors for improving employee retention and company’s immediate and long term sustainability is presenting a clear and present career path. “People within your organisation need to not only understand that there is room to grow, but that efforts will be made from the top down to facilitate that career growth.

Creating loyalty is about thinking beyond salary and figuring out how to get your employees to genuinely care about the business”. Olugbodi explained that having a career development plan in place shows employees that employers value them for the work they are able to do now as well as what they might be able to offer the organisation in long-term, saying also that having a well defined career path empowers employees and provides logical steps to pursue advancement.

According to him, career development plan that comes with growth opportunities strengthens the links between the employee and the company, explaining that there have been many studies over the years which have looked at the various reasons why people leave their jobs, chief of which is the lack of career growth opportunities.

He added that one of the greatest reasons people stay within an organisation is because they have formed multiple connections others within the company and that it is a wise move by owners and managers to build the company’s reputation as a place where people can grow professionally.

“Employees can become some of your biggest brand ambassadors. That is, if they are satisfied. Creating a positive work environment with potential for advancement will not only keep your current employees happy, but those employees will help build your organisation’s reputation for being a place where individuals’ strengths are recognized and cultivated,” he explained.

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