Choose a company with employee development

How important is a company’s dedication to employee development when choosing your career path? Although such training may not be in the fore front of your career decision making, consider the effect employee development may have on your overall job satisfaction.

Two decades of private industry and academic research, summarized in 2010 by Tim Lohrentz of the National Network of Sector Partners, confirms that employee development can improve employer bottom-line profitability by increasing revenues and lowering expenses.

Many employers are skeptical about investing in employee development. Why not, reason many executives, just hire employees with the strengths to fill the jobs? That is a common miscalculation.

The measurements come from a variety of methods including surveys, questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, tests, observation and performance records. A review of the employee development literature reveals the links to profitability in the following five main ways:

  • Increased ability to take advantage of innovation

  • Increased levels of employee engagement

  • Reduced rate of employee absenteeism

  • Increased quality of work or service

  • Increased productivity

Employee development can also make you a happier employee. In 2008, HR World magazine reported on a study conducted by Spherion Atlantic Enterprises LLC, a staffing firm, in which 6 out of 10 respondents who received development or mentoring said they were very likely to remain with their current employer for the next five years.

Independent research by a local employer of 21,000 confirms the national trends.

“At Qualcomm, we’ve conducted two separate metrics studies of employees who worked with our internal career coaches to align their development with natural talents, interests, and motivators,” says Ed Hidalgo, senior director of staffing at Qualcomm and chairman of the Workforce Investment board of the San Diego Workforce Partnership. “We were excited to find a positive impact on employee engagement and statistically significant increases in performance across two review periods, when these employees were compared against a control group.”

The Conference Board reported that in a survey of 500 CEOs, 98 percent reported at least one business benefit from workplace development. One-third reported a reduction in absenteeism and another 40 percent said that employee development led to increased employee retention.

Hidalgo adds: “The Gallup organization, for example, has gathered some pretty compelling metrics that Qualcomm has taken notice of: higher productivity, higher profitability, higher customer service scores, lower absenteeism, better safely records, etc. in its studies of 32,000 business units that focused on employee development that is ‘strengths-based.’”

Bottom line: companies that thrive do not solely rely on the strengths employees arrive with in today’s competitive business world.

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