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The Simple Communication Error That Will Cost You Employees

Companies know employees value the opportunity for career advancement. They just don't know how to show those opportunities off.
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There have been a number of recent surveys and reports showing the value top talent puts on the opportunity for career advancement in their organizations--and how a perceived inability to do so drives them to leave their companies.

LinkedIn recently released another data point showing much the same. In a survey of more than 7,500 employees who had recently left their jobs, respondents cited greater opportunities for advancement as the number one reason they took new gigs. (Better leadership from senior leaders and better compensation were the second and third most common reasons.)

Yeah, yeah, you get it. The horse is beaten well enough. Your employees want the opportunity to advance, and you're moving to address that need. Or maybe you already have.

A Breakdown of Communication

But the LinkedIn survey carries a certain tragedy with it. In a previous LinkedIn survey last year, 69 percent of U.S. HR professionals said their internal mobility program is well-known among employees. But the new survey shines light on a serious disconnect, as only 25 percent of employees said they were aware of their employers' internal mobility programs.

In other words, companies may well already know employees want career advancement opportunities, but they're still failing to retain talent because they aren't showing thosee opportunities. It's not enough to offer leadership development programs and an internal job board; you need to market them to your team as well.

In an interview with Inc. earlier this month, Josh Bersin, principal of Bersin by Deloitte, told the story of a company that had experienced this problem. The company saw a high rate of attrition among entry-level employees right about 10 months into their tenure with the organization.

To combat the problem, the company went a step beyond simply directing employees to a job listing page. Instead, it analyzed the career path of a number of veterans at the company to see how their rise through the company developed. They were then able to create a site that drew on that data to show how any given employee might be able to move in the organization based on their experience to that point. Employees were given access to the site after their first few months at the company. Bersin says that company's attrition rate dropped quickly after introducing the site.

That solution might be a little more high-tech than necessary, but you need to do something beyond simply providing career opportunities to your high-potential talent. You need to let them know all about their options within the organization--and how those opportunities stand to advance their careers. Otherwise, they'll look to advance them elsewhere.

Last updated: Mar 26, 2014




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