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Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

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Four ways HR can help employees with career advancement


This article was written by Val Matta, vice president of business development at CareerShift, a job hunting and career management solution.

Want happy employees? You’ve got to help them get ahead.

HR professionals don’t need to be told employee dissatisfaction causes workplace issues such as decreased productivity, motivation, and engagement. But the downtrodden economy has left many employees unhappy in their current positions. According to a survey by Accenture, 57 percent of U.S. women and 59 percent of men are dissatisfied with their current jobs. If employers want to ensure they’re satisfying workers, they’ve got to aid workers with career advancement opportunities.

This is particularly important for Millennial workers, for whom job hopping is the new normal–while the average employee stays in a position for an average of 4.4 years, a whopping 91 percent of Millennials expect to stay in a position for half of that time.

This indicates a new type of workforce emerging, one based on varied experiences, skills development, and innovation. Traditionally, hiring managers and HR professionals have been scared away from hiring “job hoppers,” and with good reason–losing an employee and hiring a new one can be a lengthy, complicated, and expensive endeavor.

But if employers and HR professionals want to ensure they’re an attractive company to work for, they’ve got to provide career advancement opportunities to all workers. Here are four ways HR professionals can help employees with career advancement:

1. Create opportunities for workers to connect. Try creating a talent community for workers to engage with one another. Create a closed Facebook group or allow workers to collaborate internally with social business software. You can also create an open Facebook group to encourage workers to help with recruitment, and reward employees whose referrals lead to interviews or hires. Your workers will appreciate the opportunity to connect with current employees, discuss key industry issues, and recruit new workers.

2. Focus on skills development. Create a mentoring program that allows senior workers to engage with newer hires, or bypass departments and titles to create teams of workers. Have them gather regularly to brainstorm ideas or discuss ways to improve company practices. Giving employees a way to connect with colleagues outside of their department or area of expertise will allow for networking opportunities and skills development, increasing overall engagement.

3. Provide the right outplacement benefits. Great outplacement services show your discharged workers you care about their career advancement, and it sends a positive message to current workers too. By offering comprehensive job search and career management software, for example, employers can provide to help workers get back on their feet. Other options include relocation assistance, job search resources, additional skills training or skills development classes, resume writing help, or information on upcoming career fairs.

4. Offer career management help. There are plenty of small ways HR can help employees with career advancement, too. Provide free workshops on networking or skills development in areas they may not be familiar with. Or, establish a biweekly e-newsletter compiling industry news, advice from experts, or video interviews with top management.

Employers and HR professionals everywhere need to be sensitive to changing employee needs. As more and more workers report job dissatisfaction or plans to job hop, it’s more important than ever to establish your reputation as an employer that cares about employee career advancement.

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

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