Once upon a time we simply worked to earn money. Today, an increasing number of people want a lot more from their work. Our careers have become vehicles to get us to the lofty self-actualizing pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Our daily jobs have become fields of possibilities where we search for inspiration, exercise our array of talents and play to our personal bests. Of course, compensation is still one of the driving forces of our career decision-making – it impacts not only on our life security but also on our day to day sense of being valued and appreciated.
However, more and more job candidates are thoughtfully weighing up the bigger picture of a prospective career move and the imperative for career growth opportunities needs to be considered by companies who want to engage the best people. Today’s graduates and job seekers are encouraged to reflect on what they want from a job beyond their monthly salary and to take a long view of their careers. Companies are expected to assist with career planning and to support managed career development in a way that marries the needs of business with the aspirations of individuals.
There are benefits to both the employer and the prospective employees in properly weighting career growth during the recruitment process. By satisfactorily exploring career growth opportunities during the interviewing process, the candidate will get a reasonable idea of whether the company is mostly looking for an urgent fix to a current skills problem, or whether they are genuinely interested in a potentially long-term relationship with a whole person who is surely going to acquire more skills and expertise over a period of employment. In the same conversations, the interviewer will be able to ascertain whether the candidate is mostly interested in the position as a solution to current career dissatisfactions, or whether they have a potentially long-term interest and willingness to be engaged in the business. This is important because when it comes to employee engagement, it is well-proven that money is never enough.
However, the importance of talking about and reflecting on career growth goes beyond the explorations of the recruitment process as it plays such an integral part in talent management and retention. If an employee cannot foresee their path of career development within their organization they will mostly likely jump ship at the next opportunity.
The organisation needs to be aware of and facilitate the kind of growth that is important to the individual. This includes:
- A relevant work profile – the profile of the work of the employee must be well-attuned to their current capabilities. The work profile should not be pitched too high or too low.
- Synergy with personal goals – an employee’s work responsibilities should help them to also attain personal goals. We all work for ourselves as our priority, and then for our company. If an employee is not satisfied with their personal growth, they will not be making a sustained contribution to the growth of an organisation.
- Training and development – Many employers still hold tight reins on training and development with the fear that they will not realise return on investment. Despite anecdotal evidence, the research shows that a business should not limit the resources on which it depends. Potential training initiatives may include technical skills, special project skills, communication skills, in-house processes and procedures development skills, leadership, creativity and innovation skills. Some of these training needs can be met in-house with little effort through informal mentoring or coaching at a very minimal cost to an organisation.
If you feel you need the support of the hiring professional who helped connect you to this position, then reach out to them. Any recruitment agency of substance and value will have what it takes to help steer this boat on course for the benefit of both you and your new employer. You are not alone!