A strong learning culture has been proven to have the greatest impact on your business. However, there are some counterintuitive facts that may leave the top brass struggling with making an ongoing commitment to developing your people.
Here are three paradoxes we’ve found to be true (and why):
The Retention Paradox: Invest in Your People Knowing They’ll Leave and They’ll Stay Longer
Gone are the days of employees beginning their careers with your company and sticking around for the long haul—it’s more like 2.8 years for the young and ambitious crowd. The good news is, you won’t have to plan many retirement shindigs. On the other hand, this job-hopping trend can be a tough pill to swallow when it comes to investing in long-term career development.
Companies are better off just accepting these short tenures as the new normal and prioritizing employee development (since the lack of opportunities is the top reason people leave companies).
But what if you invest in developing a high performer and get wind that they want to start their own business someday?
You have three options:
• Manage them out of your organization - fire them or encourage a swift exit. Wouldn’t it make sense to push them now, then find a replacement to groom in alignment with your future objectives?
• Maintain the status quo - keep them around, but limit their development opportunities to those they find themselves. Or maybe even load them up with so much work they can’t develop the skills needed to start their own company.
• Develop the skills they need to succeed as an entrepreneur - provide relevant ways to help this employee grow—from pairing them with a mentor to sharing access to leadership development programs. You could even allow them to try on various job functions to provide a more holistic set of leadership skills.
If you go with option three, you’ll be rewarded big time. According to a recent PwC report, fulfilled employees plan to stick around three years longer than their unfulfilled colleagues. In today’s work years, that’s an eternity of invaluable contributions.
The Reskilling Paradox: The Talent You Need is Already in the Building (or at Least the Org Chart)
New technologies are forcing companies to adapt and change, escalating skill shortages from HR initiatives to three-alarm fires.
It’s tempting to assume that if you hire someone with the skills you’re lacking, they’ll be able to hit the ground running. However, the time it takes to recruit, hire, onboard, and acclimate a new employee can be longer—and more expensive—than reskilling the crew you’ve got.
A popular mindset is new skills = new people. But that math doesn’t always add up:
In 2013, AT&T decided to reskill its labor force through education and professional development, and is reaping the rewards in big ways, including a:
• 50-percent fill rate of all tech management jobs by re-skilled workers
• 40-percent reduction in the product development life cycle
• 32-percent faster time to revenue
• 50-percent decrease in development and rollout time
Invest in your existing talent, and there’s no limit to how much you can achieve. Plus, re-skilled employees will be less likely to be poached, since 86 percent of millennials say development will keep them from leaving their current jobs.
The Productivity Paradox: Get More by Giving, Not Demanding
Conventional wisdom leads us to believe that if we want people to be more productive, we need to demand it of them. Fortunately, your managers won’t have to poke and prod (metaphorically speaking) to get employees to work harder.
It doesn’t work anyway. Fear of an awkward performance conversation or even being fired won’t motivate unengaged employees to step up. Especially when 63 percent feel they could find a job as good as the one they have now.
What can inspire A-game effort? A one-two combo of recognition and growth.
Use your employee development platform to illustrate how valuable each team member is by:
• Helping employees see (and celebrate) their contributions and how they align with company goals. Research shows that 69 percent of employees would work harder if their efforts were recognized.
• Taking an active interest in what motivates them by uncovering their career drivers.
• Providing development opportunities that are in line with their unique career motivations and purpose.
Demonstrate you care by developing employees in ways that go beyond their current role—or even your organization—and they’ll reciprocate like crazy with higher engagement, productivity, and loyalty.
To discover how to get the most out of your people, download the e-book: “The Definitive Guide to Employee Development.”