Empower Your Employees to Take Charge of Their Own Career Development

Less than 40% of employers actively support career development and internal talent mobility as part of their business strategy, Brandon Hall Group research shows, and fewer than 20% offer easy-to-navigate apps or portals with detailed descriptions of roles across all lines of business.

In other words, most organizations do not effectively invest in retaining their talent.

Most employees — at least the ones you want to keep — care about advancing their careers. Some might want to move up the management ladder while others seek to expand their skills and responsibilities within their current job role or job family. But all good employees want to grow.

Our research shows that most employees want to take ownership of their own career development. But employers must provide the tools for them to do so, which has historically not been the case.

Organizations that Effectively Engage Employees in Career Development*

Top talent won’t remain at your organization unless they believe they have the opportunity to advance along a path that aligns with their personal and professional aspirations. That means employers need to provide multiple career paths, communicate and provide resources for employees to improve their skills and competencies to meet the requirements of the jobs that interest them.

• How can we better integrate talent processes to improve career development?

• How do we better enable and employees to drive their own career development?

• How can technology improve career development?

Employees have their thoughts on their personal and professional development and advancement. Organizations do, too.

Marrying both is the only way to ensure mutually beneficial career development and advancement.

Employers usually call the shots. There are limited career paths. Most are vertical and lead to management roles.

If employees don’t find opportunities that fit their interests and aspirations, they become disengaged and eventually go elsewhere to pursue their goals. Employers claim to want to improve talent retention, but they have to be better partners.

Career development must become employee-centric, but only about one-third of organizations in our latest research say they agree with this statement: “We believe an employee’s personal aspirations are as important as the organization’s needs when considering career advancement.”

That mindset must change. To start, employees and managers should have regular discussions about career goals and opportunities, which happens in only 9% of organizations now.

Brandon Hall Group research shows that high-performing organizations enable employees to explore flexible career paths that fit their aspirations while aligning with organizational needs. It’s up to employees to do what’s necessary to grow into new roles, but employers must provide them with the tools they need to make it happen.

Here are some key steps for organizations to enable employees to take charge of their career development:

• Establish a variety of horizontal and vertical career-advancement opportunities.

• Clearly define career paths for employees seeking more responsibility in management roles.

• Clearly define career paths for employees seeking more responsibility in individual-contributor roles.

• Develop learning and on-the-job opportunities aligned with career paths.

• Build easy-to-navigate apps or portals with detailed descriptions of roles across all lines of business. Include requirements to qualify for the roles. Ideally, the resources provide a visual representation of career mobility options across lines of business. Employees should be able to see lateral

and upward possibilities on the app.

• Clearly communicate to employees their role in their career growth. Especially if your career development program has not been active, employees need to understand the new approach and their roles in driving their own success.

Employees should understand that they should:

  • Seek feedback.
  • Propose performance goals and revisions based on their aspirations.
  • Suggest agenda items for check-ins with their managers focused on their career goals.
  • Participate in 360 or multi-rater reviews.
  • Be advocates for their own career development.

Career Development Organizational Self-Assessment: Are You Considering What Employees Want?

Brandon Hall Group’s research study, Career Development: Are You Considering What Employees Want?, reveals a significant difference in the business impact of career development between organizations that are employee-centric in their approach versus those that are not. Organizations must have a strategy and determine priorities for improving various elements of career development. To assist in that process, Brandon Hall Group developed an organizational assessment tool that includes 23 questions about several distinct but interrelated practices and strategies.

Download the tool today!


Brandon Hall Group Strategy Briefs answer the critical questions learning, talent, HR and business leaders must address to manage their human capital. To tackle these critical questions in more detail, we built tools, frameworks, research summaries and business builders based on up-to-date research and case studies for you to implement best and next Human Capital Management (HCM) practices. To gain access to these valuable resources, contact [email protected].

Leading minds in HCM choose Brandon Hall Group to help them build future-proof employee-development plans for the new era. For more than 27 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world, influencing the development of over 10,000,000 associates and executives.

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