Employee Retention: Encourage Your Employees to Push for New Heights


A while back while discussing about how to attract new grads for your entry-level positions, we touched on the topic of showing them the potential – how they can grow with your company and achieve both career and personal goals. A similar sentiment should be shared with regards to your existing employees as employee retention remains a prevalent issue for HR.

A recent study done by Gloat shows that 34% of American workers feel that their company isn’t utilizing their full potential – including 46% of Black employees and 38% of Latinx employees. Employees who feel that their growth is restricted by their current work would most likely consider seeking opportunities elsewhere that can meet their ambitions and professional development needs. Don’t wait until they’ve handed in their resignation letter to think of ways to keep your employees! Here are a few steps HR can take to encourage career development of employees.

Communication is Necessary

It’s a good first step to be aware of the fact that some of your employees may feel underutilized. However, unless you live inside of their head, it’s difficult to know exactly how they feel about their current work arrangement. Each person has their own sets of motivations and goals. Are they looking for more involvement in diverse projects? Higher compensation? Greater responsibility? Rather than blindly assigning more tasks to an employee, take some time to discover what drives them.

This conversation can take many forms as well. For example, feedback is a great place to start while looking towards areas of growth. If your company conducts regular performance appraisals, at the end of the feedback period would be a great opportunity for you and your employees to discuss development for the future. If performance appraisals are not commonly held at your company, it would still be worthwhile to find the time and set up meetings specifically to discuss the matter of career motivations.

Widen Their Scope

Some people have a very clear idea of how they want their professional career to pan out. Hence, they also know what kind of opportunities they look forward to and ideally when. On the flip side, there are also employees who do not have a crystal-clear picture of where they want to be professionally in the future. Some may be too shy or scared to speak up about what they want; others may not even realize the reason why they feel stagnant in their current work. As an effective leader, it is important to not only be able to gather and listen to feedback when given, but also actively seek out these valuable conversations.

Provide Training and Recognize Their Growth

While discussing your employee’s career aspirations, give generous boundaries for them to work with. Boundaries, rather than being a limiting factor, can actually be empowering to your employees as it gives them the freedom to make their own decisions within the scope that can be offered at your company. Encourage them to step out of their comfort zone. People cannot learn and grow if they always stick to what they already know and are comfortable with.

When delegating a brand new task, also provide the necessary training or assign a mentor to help guide your employee. This way, you can keep them engaged and not have them feel lost at sea with unfamiliar work. When your employees do excel in their new tasks, be sure to recognize their work. This can be done as simply as giving verbal affirmations, to even rewarding your employees for their hard work. This recognition not only gives your employee incentive to keep performing well, but can also motivate other people on the team to work harder to earn similar recognition.

Your Employees are the Pillars of Your Company

Be empathetic if your employees make a mistake. Punishing mistakes can negatively affect productivity because you are forcing them to act overly-conservative. In doing so, your team will never be able to reach new heights because they are always “playing it safe”. Pushing your employees to aim higher will provide challenges that help them feel more fulfilled with their work, while also bringing fruitful results for your company!