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Focus on career development will help leaders build engagement


Demonstrating what a career in the organisation looks like can help leaders start to build engagement, says  Elva Ainsworth.

For business leaders, employee engagement is the Scarlet Pimpernel of the corporate world. Much talked of, admired and sought after, but very few can honestly claim to know, or at least agree on, what it actually looks like.

Despite countless books and journals around employee motivation, commitment and loyalty being certain routes to engagement, for leaders, generating and retaining truly engaged staff members, remains one the most coveted prizes of all.

"For leaders, generating and retaining truly engaged staff members, remains one the most coveted prizes of all."

Interestingly today however, more and more is being talked about certainty at work, and how securing employee future coupled with clearly mapped out career paths can drive up all the good features of employee engagement. And, when you consider the amount of uncertainty that remains in the economy and on the streets of the UK, it makes perfect sense for staff to crave a degree of security inside the workplace.

So, how can leaders develop their people-focused strategy to include career development and drive engagement? Below are three ways that leadership can bring career planning into their engagement strategy:

Find out what employees want

Make use of feedback tools, employee survey, or focus groups to drill down and understand what people actually want out of the next ten or 15 years. There is no point in guessing, so ask the questions of staff and encourage open and honest answers. 

Put together long-term plans 

As we all know, writing down plans makes them far more official, and means that there is a far greater chance that something will be done about them. Business leaders would be foolish to think that just asking the question of staff will be enough, they need to see commitment to their future, just as you want them to engage with the business. 

Put the plans into action 

Without action, the inclusion of career as a way for leaders to develop engagement, is redundant. Leaders need to devise a strategy, extract the career aspirations, and then put a plan into place that illustrates to an individual that there is a purpose behind the process.

Gone are the days of the comfortable pension pot; confusion over the age of retirement rages on; fewer recruitment opportunities are opening up; more and more organisations and dipping into international talent pools; and the digital age is proving a more than adequate replacement for much of the work we were relied to carry out just a decade or two ago. But, despite all of this change, the forward-thinking business leaders are counterbalancing uncertainty with future plans, and while nothing can ever be set in stone, at the very least employees will feel a marriage to the company’s future that was never present before.

Elva Ainsworth is the managing director of Talent Innovations. You can download the latest whitepaper on engagement, and find out more about the company by clicking here: 360 Degree Appraisal.

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