Personal growth and career development: To grow or go?
Lack of opportunity for personal growth and career development is the No. 1 reason that employees leave a company.
So what’s it like in your organization? Do your employees grow or go?
According to a survey by Glassdoor and Harris Interactive, more applicants (52 percent) wanted to hear about growth opportunities when interviewing for a job than about any other perk. The same survey also found that one-third of employees left a job because of — wait for it — lack of career growth than for any other reason. Only 8 percent left because of their managers.
When professional growth opportunities are absent in an organization, you get stagnation, boredom, and finally attrition.
When employees lack growth opportunities
People work on autopilot. They aren’t present; their minds are not on their work. Errors happen. Quality drops. Indifference sets in. Work becomes routine.
It may all still get done — how many times have you driven a familiar route mindlessly, only to end up safely at your destination with no memory of getting there? — but nothing new happens. Innovation grinds to a halt.
We analyzed survey results from over 20,000 employees who had left a large biomedical company and its subsidiaries during a period of five years. We compared attrition numbers with engagement scores, and the results were intriguing.
Typically, employees enjoyed a high level of growth during the first six months of employment. However, at the nine-month mark, these companies experienced much higher than average levels of attrition, and engagement levels plummeted.
What was happening?
Growth = engagement
Upon further investigation, we learned that during the first six months, these employees were constantly learning. This made sense; the job was new to them. However, at about the nine-month point, employees had learned the basics of the job and were no longer as challenged as they were during the first six months. At that point, their levels of engagement dropped sharply.
What was even more interesting was that once employees hit the 14-18 month mark, engagement and retention increased again until the two-year mark. What was happening at each of these points in time that impacted both engagement and retention?
It’s simple: It was about growth.
Employees were learning and growing the first six months, but at about the nine-month mark they stopped. They also had little concept of where to go from there. They couldn’t see any growth opportunities awaiting them. They felt stagnant.
Those who stuck around for 14-18 months suddenly began to be presented with further growth opportunities, such as new assignments, promotions, and different team roles. They were, once again, growing. Engagement increased.
This pattern remained constant until the two-year mark, at which time employees began looking outside the organization for new opportunities and challenges. Some of those who remained fell into the same patterns of stagnation and disengagement.
For these companies, the solution was clear: Step up efforts to create growth opportunities at the nine (9) and 24 month marks.
First published on TLNT by Tracy Maylett
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.