Professional growth opportunities allow employees to develop new skills, diversify their work, and experience work autonomy. MHA’s Work Health Survey findings show that the majority of employees feel stagnant, confined, or controlled in their workplaces. Based on these findings, companies should support employee development by rewarding their workplace contributions through internal promotions, salary increases based on performance, or an employer-sponsored mentorship program.
Having expansive opportunities for professional growth encourages employees to stay at your company. Here are some ways to encourage professional growth:
Have a formal policy on and a practice around internal promotions. Consider giving internal candidates a preference over external candidates. These programs may involve giving internal candidates early access to job listings, early interview slots, or preference above external candidates. An employer should educate and train managers on the importance of keeping high performers inside the company.
Improve feedback for internal applicants. Whether you institute a formal internal policy or not, give honest feedback to internal applicants. Give internal applicants actionable suggestions on what to improve in terms of experience or skills to receive an internal promotion in the future.
Cross-train employees. Encourage employees to train for other roles within your company, even if there are no positions available. Cross-training also ensures you have multiple people trained for a role when an employee leaves the company.
Offer job shadowing of senior roles. Job shadowing can expose candidates to higher-level or more complicated roles. You can identify top candidates for leadership positions and have them spend a day with a senior executive or allow an entry level scientist to spend time with the top medical decision maker.
Have a pay policy that pays based on merit. Establish a pay policy that allows for high performers to receive appropriate compensation. Many companies limit salary on non-management jobs, forcing talented employees into management roles that may or may not match their skillset. Other companies may have a formal policy that limits annual salary increases to no more than X percent for internal candidates, where external candidates could receive a significant pay raise for joining the company. Review your pay policy to see if there are any artificial caps or steps to your pay policy that impact your internal top performers.
Evaluate all policies for their impact on diversity and inclusion. One benefit of clearly defined pay scales is that they can reduce institutional bias and discrimination against employees that belong to BIPOC groups. Your HR department or representative should be able to review past promotions and increases by race and gender.
Consider the future of the company. Think about the growth of your company over one, five, or ten years. As the company grows, it’s likely that opportunities for new positions will open up for existing employees. Establish policies that will help employees grow to fill those gaps to retain talent, offer job movement within the company, and expand the company’s business plan as the company grows.