How To Prepare Employees For Their Dream Careers
“My company always provides great challenges.” That’s what 95 percent of Stryker Corporation employees proudly proclaim, according to Fortune’s 2017 edition of Best Companies to Work For. These challenges are what moved another 95 percent to say when they look at what they’ve accomplished, they feel a sense of pride. They are living their dream careers.
Strategies from successful companies like the Stryker Corporation should not only be listened to, but implemented immediately. For the sake of engagement and employee retention, your team needs similar opportunities within their own organization to grow and reach their dream careers.
Company leaders should understand this deep desire to climb the ladder and fight for those dreams – after all, that’s how most of them got to their positions. It’s when we stop empathizing with team members that we start losing the employee retention battle to careers they were striving to reach.
Here’s how to re-relate to your team and help them prepare for their dream careers:
Give Employees Job-hopping Freedom
Job-hopping often comes with a negative connotation. It’s most commonly seen as an employee retention killer. But giving it a twist by allowing employees to job-hop within your company – or even to job-shadow – gives the phrase a new, positive spin.
Giving your team room to explore and grow within your own company helps them discover dream careers and new ambitions without searching elsewhere.
Cari Rutkoskie, director of employment brand strategy at Stryker, explained how her company encourages employees to start out at any level in the company because there’s always room to grow.
Rutkoskie said, “It’s OK to start out in an entry-level position. Leaders guide and nurture employees as they grow in their career and life.”
In Stryker’s case, they worry more about finding the perfect cultural fit and then focus on employee retention by developing them into a career where they’ll continue excelling.
To keep in touch with where your employees would like to grow, meet monthly for “career dream” meetings. No matter what level the employee is currently at, discuss their interests, where they’d like to explore, and how you can help them dip their toes in the water to better prepare them for that next step.
Encourage Dream Boards for Dream Careers
Dream boards are meant to inspire your team and encourage them to discover their own career goals. But they’re also a useful tool for management, as they allow them to stay on the same page and address employee retention before it’s a major concern.
Depending on the comfort level of each team member, decide if dream boards should remain between managers and employees, or if you can create fun team-building exercises with them.
For team building, place a big, physical board in one common area. Challenge employees to look at the board daily and see where co-workers need coaching, training, or just advice on reaching their dream careers.
Offer Peer-to-peer Coaching
Who better to show employees the ropes than employees already in those positions?
Once your team finishes the dream boards and you’ve had goal meetings, schedule frequent peer-to-peer coaching in the department(s) employees want to explore. This can be a couple days of job-shadowing or a couple hours of training a month.
Offer time with several peers in each department or position, if possible. Because every employee learns in a unique manner and connects with personalities differently, give them opportunities to discover roles and decide if they’d like to someday pursue them.
Pushing to keep your team where they’re currently excelling, may mean losing them altogether. Keeping the lines of communication open is first and foremost in solving employee retention issues. It’s also important to keep an open mind about the roles each person can develop into as they progress.