Learning and Growth as a Career Protection and Employee Retention Tool

As an employee retention speaker, I am often asked, who should be responsible for the learning and growth of an employee?  Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the employee.  But, it also lies with several others as well.  The immediate supervisor and the organization itself also have an obligation to provide opportunities and encourage an employee to grow.  Can an employee grow in a non-supportive environment?  Absolutely…but it is much harder.  What I have learned as an employee retention expert is that growth is one of the most valued things for millennials so an organization should want this.

Often, employees feel it is the responsibility of the organization to “train them.”  If you are an employee reading this…guess again!  If the organization is not willing to assist you monetarily or with time to train…do it yourself.  Do it for YOURSELF.  Take the extra classes, go for the certification in your profession and read books in your field of expertise.  Although organizations often assist as part of their employee retention strategies, many times they don’t.  You want to grow for yourself in the event you are ever downsized.  A prospective employer is not going to ask where you got the training…just if you have it.  Without it you are at a competitive disadvantage.  Some key questions the employee should be asking themselves are

  • Beyond protecting yourself…how else do you expect to get promoted and take that next step? Position yourself by taking the actions needed so you are the clear choice when a promotion comes.  Your growth and learning is a key to differentiate when decisions are made.
  • When your organization has cut back on memberships in professional societies because of tight budgets…did you reach into your own pocket so you could stay engaged in the profession? Often, employees simply drop out rather than pay the yearly dues.  This is a big mistake.
  • Do you budget a certain amount of your own funds to get out for training or take those extra classes that will take you to the next level and keep you current?
  • Lastly, are you reading constantly and absorbing new ideas and concepts that keep you cutting edge in your field of expertise or in business?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions…you need to correct those deficiencies and start.  Be selfish.  Do it for YOURSELF!

When I work as an employee retention trainer, I ask leaders the following question:

  • Do you look for opportunities to expand the knowledge of your employees? This could include putting them on challenging assignments, bringing them in on projects you are working on, challenging them to think out of the box and encouraging them to increase their knowledge?  If not…why not?

In this day of shrinking staffs, as a leader you face the prospect of having to do more with less.  You can work harder or you can develop the capabilities of your people so you increase the capabilities of your department and accomplish more with less.  Your people are the only resource you have to get the job done and they are the horses that will help YOU to pull the wagon.  Be selfish.  Help your people grow because it’s in your self-interest.  Another huge benefit of helping them grow is keeping them engaged and giving them opportunities they will not have in another organization, thus using growth as part of your employee retention strategies.

Continual learning and growth is essential to the success of any individual in their career.  It is also instrumental in the success of any leader.  The question is…are you seeking those opportunities as an employee and as a leader?  If not, start doing it out of selfishness.  Do it for YOURSELF as both a leader and as an employee!

Jeff Kortes

jeff@humanassetmgt.com

Jeff speaks and conducts workshops regularly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana. He draws on his experiences as a human resources professional, father, coach, martial artist and U.S. Army veteran to provide thought-provoking programs that yield results.