​Effective Ways to Improve Employee Career Development

​Effective Ways to Improve Employee Career Development

Posted on 05 June 2024

What is Career Development?

Career development is the process of managing and advancing your employee’s careers over time, this process involves identifying strengths, weaknesses and career aspirations, and then creating a personalised development plan with the goals of growth and development of their career.

This process is set up to foster professional growth and development within workforces, when companies invest in their employee’s career development, they can cultivate a widely skilled and motivated workforce. This benefits both your employees and your business.

But why is this important?


Businesses need to place value on career development for their employees as many benefits come with creating development opportunities and plans.

Attracting Candidates

A Workplace survey revealed that 9 out of 10 employees said that if they were to look for a new job, it would be important for their potential employer to offer a strong skills development programme, career advancement opportunities and a way for them to progress toward a different job or career path.

Having a strong and clear career development plan is important to candidates and if your company can offer this, you will become more attractive.

Reduced Talent Costs

Simply put it costs less to reskill and train a current employee than it does to go through the hiring process and to hire someone who already possesses the skills.

This is important as companies can invest in upskilling their current employees, which will benefit their company in the long run and save costs.


Employee turnover is an issue that many companies are concerned with, research shows that the number one reason for people to begin job hunting is due to the lack of career development and progression in their current role. 94% of workers said they would stay at their current employer longer if there was significant investment in employees' career development.

Having a good employee retention rate is important, as to candidates a company that has a high turnover rate isn’t appealing and for a company, it is time-consuming and expensive.

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Increasing Employee Engagement

When an employee has a personal development plan and is often having conversations with their manager regarding their career development. They will be more likely to be engaged in their day-to-day work alongside the work they are doing within their career development.

Supporting Career Development

As an employer, you can support and improve your employee's career development and your company by doing an array of things within your business:



You can better support the career development of your employees by creating and fostering a learning culture in your workplace. To do this incorporate learning and growth into the core values of your business and ensure that these ideologies are shown through the strategies and decisions that are made.

From the beginning of an employee’s journey with your business, discuss career development and growth, continue speaking of this during the onboarding process, in meetings, during one-on-ones and in performance reviews.

Encourage team members to discuss learnings and to often have discussions about growth and opportunities to grow more within their careers. Creating a culture of learning enables your employees to grow in their current roles and to continue growing in your company.

Promote Training and Development

It may sound obvious that to improve career development you need to provide training, but some workplaces don’t place value in spending time away from day-to-day work responsibilities to spend time training.

When workers are allowed to take part in trainings that expand their abilities and knowledge, they have the tools and skills to develop within their careers. Training programmes provide employees with the necessary education to become valuable and highly skilled members of your workforce, as they are taught the necessary skills and duties that their role requires.

Offering and promoting the training and development opportunities your company provides will lead to benefits for your company and your employees. Your employees will gain additional skills that boost their career development, because of these development opportunities they will be thankful and may become more loyal, which means lower employment turnover. In the case of unforeseen events like redundancy, you as an employer will find it much easier to shift your current employees’ responsibilities around as everyone has improved skills.

Create Career Development Plans

Working with your employees to create a clear career development plan is a great way to improve their career development. It helps them to visualise their future with your company and shows them what they need to do to reach their career development goals.

Learn about each of your employee’s career goals and work with them to create a personalised career development plan, based on their goals within your company. Include the skills, education, experience, and other qualifications they will need to develop to each level within your company. The plan you make will help them to visualise the steps and learning they will need to take to reach their career development goals.

Deliver Continuous Performance Management

Along with creating career development plans with your employees, they must be continuously having discussions with their managers about their performance and their progression with their career development.

These discussions should be happening during regular one-to-ones, managers should be outlining how their performance has been, and how they are progressing and discussing the next steps for their career development plan. This is so team members know exactly what they need to continue doing or change to continue their career development path.

It is also good to continuously review the career development goals and paths often to ensure they still align with the employee and that they are reachable. These may need to be adjusted from time to time to ensure their development is on the right track.

Provide Recognition and Rewards

Career development is a process and it can take time to see the work making a large-scale change. It is important to encourage and motivate team members to keep working on their career development plans, by recognising and rewarding them for their hard work.

Managers can show this recognition within their regular one-to-ones, during team meetings, in progress update emails, on other communication channels etc. Highlight the wins team members are making toward their goals and it will encourage them to keep pursuing their career development.

How Employees Can Help

Your employees are also responsible for improving their career development and reaching their goals. There are a few things they can do to help their development:

Work on their communication, teamwork, and leadership skills. These are essential to help them succeed in the workplace.

Make networking a priority, this is helpful as networking with other people within your own company and industry is one of the best ways to help achieve your career development goals. It also helps concrete yourself as a member of the team and they can learn from others.

Make their own personal development plan alongside their professional development plan. What things in their personal lives can help them succeed in their professional life?

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