Does your company need to work hard to attract the young potentials your business requires? Do you have difficulty standing out from competitors who are seeking similar profiles for similar jobs? Have you reached the limits of what adding costly benefits to the salary package can achieve? If so, read this blog.
I want to explore how career development can be a lever in employer branding and onboarding.
The labor market is tight for the moment. Young potentials usually have different offers to choose from. How can you convince viable candidates to join your company without continuously raising your bid? One option is to highlight the exciting career opportunities that exist in your organization. Maybe even offer young potentials a traineeship so they learn the ins and outs of your organization. Not to mention the varied learning opportunities for technical and soft skills that exist within your organization.
Although you are undoubtedly investing in the development of these young potentials this way, you can also argue that this approach is limited to an organizational perspective on development. It’s about the skills and competencies employees need to perform well and contribute to the continuity of the organization. From the individual’s perspective, however, there is also the outlook on a satisfying and fulfilling career. Millennials often have a very limited view on their career vision and motivators. Some of them are too focussed on getting ahead quickly and extrinsic motivators, treating the career as a sprint, rather than as a marathon. Most of them have yet to learn how to manage their own careers. What they need is help in developing their personal career vision and the skills to make it happen. Herein lies a true opportunity for organizations to create a win-win. The individual gets what they need, and the organization benefits not only from a strong relationship with the young potential if he or she decides to stay, but also an ambassador for the organization when he or she decides to leave.
Organizations who choose to ignore the individual perspective on careers will miss out in the long run. Young people are aware that organizations cannot guarantee life-long employment. Also, the demands in most organizations are considerable. Employees can only endure if they perform tasks that tap into their talents and intrinsic motivation. Therefore, employees are more aware that they need to build their careers themselves, and that they need to determine what would fulfill them professionally. Unfortunately, this is quite a difficult process. Where do you want your young potentials to look for help in this personal development process? Outside of your organization, with a professional career coach of their own choosing? Or do you want to participate and facilitate in this process, so you can have some impact on the outcome?
Careers have become subject to negotiation. If one of the parties in the negotiation has no clear view on what it wants to achieve, the negotiation will be difficult. This is why I believe that genuinely investing in a process that allows people to build a long-term career vision right at the start of the employee-employer relationship has added value. By helping employees to develop the skills they need to build a satisfactory career, organizations will, in turn, build a strong employer brand, facilitate a successful onboarding process and build a strong long term relationship with the employee.
- Career development is of true added value for individuals. They will be grateful for challenging their career vision and even after they have left, they will speak fondly of you as an employer.
- Genuine interest in people is what creates a relationship built on trust.
- Understanding your employees’ individual outlook on their careers will help you to construct a positive psychological contract on which you can build even after the onboarding period
Here are some tips on how to go about this:
- Make career development part of your “people promise” and stress it in your recruitment communication.
- Make time for individual and/or group sessions on career development right from start.
- If you have a leadership development program for recent graduates, make career development part of the curriculum. Managing your own career is, in essence, self-leadership.
- Approach career development from the individual’s perspective (talents, subjective career success, and energizers), rather than just from that of the organization (competences and skills).
- Put the emphasis on career management skills so that people learn what it takes to be at the wheel of their own career.
- Use evidence-based tools to fuel the dialogue between employee and employer.
People are becoming more aware of the fact that everyone needs to self-manage their careers. If, as an employer, you offer career development from an individual perspective right from the start, this not only offers real added value to the young potential, it also serves you well in terms of employer branding and onboarding.