Research finds just 25% of employees are confident about their career at current organisation

28th September by Lee Robertson

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Only one in four employees is confident about their career path at their current organisation according to new research published by Gartner Inc. The data which was revealed at the Gartner ReimagineHR conference earlier this month, shares insights from a survey of more than 3,300 employees which was conducted in March 2022.

Employees prize professional development opportunities

The study showed that that fewer than one in three employees knows how to progress their career over the next five years. This is compounded by many employees feeling that they are unable to rely on their managers for help – only 50% of employees report that their manager tailors feedback based on the role they want to move into.

As a result, employees are increasingly considering leaving their organisations. Gartner found that among more than 480 employees who were actively looking for a new job, three-quarters were interested in external roles.

“Employees are leaving their current employers for better professional development opportunities (45%) at similar rates as they leave for higher compensation (48%),” said Vitorio Bretas, director in the Gartner HR practice. “Thirty-five percent of employees surveyed said they left their employer for better career trajectories.”

Strategies must centre on ‘career growth moments’

To bolster engagement and retention, employers need to be redoubling their efforts in making it easier for employees to understand how they can grow and change their careers where they are currently working. In order to achieve this, Gartner insists HR leaders must shift their strategies around three key career growth moments:

  1. Setting your career trajectory
  2. Progressing your career
  3. Achieving your goals

Viable ways of helping workers move up the career ladder include internal networking, job shadowing and mentoring or dedicated coaching. Developing a feedback culture within the organisation can also be a practical and productive way of helping employees carve out their longer-term career aspirations.

HR professionals and managers/leaders need to understand the factors which play a role in making feedback constructive and effective. Training them to be able to put the emphasis on quality feedback is key to maximising the potential and promise every employee offers.

When it comes to setting out learning, development and performance goals, a non-directional coaching style whereby the manager elicits the employee’s own views, works well because it is rooted in a strengths-based-approach. Replacing outdated annual appraisals with regular one-to-one conversations helps encourage team members to focus on and track the progress they are making in their work and goes a long way in developing future leaders and building an individual’s capabilities.

Work must be meaningful and fulfilling

The survey also demonstrated that the Covid-19 pandemic had caused employees to rethink the place of work in their lives. Data from the survey highlighted how 75% of employees want to dedicate more time to their personal lives, while over two-thirds admitted wanting to find purpose beyond work.

As the survey’s authors report, employers need to outline to their employees how a career within their organisation can help them get closer to achieving both their professional and personal goals.

Employers must find ways of supporting their workers in understanding how their career can help them find fulfilment in their lives. The responsibility falls on the shoulders of HR, line managers and employees to see work as more than just a way of paying the bills. Work must offer fulfilment in our lives if retention and engagement are to be true pursuits. As Vitorio Bretas concludes in the research: “Facilitating employee career growth is critical for retention and is table stakes for your employee value proposition.”