How HR Can Support Employee Career Development

In the swiftly evolving corporate environment, businesses acknowledge the significance of investing in their primary asset; their employees. As the focus on employee engagement, retention, and well-being intensifies, human resources (HR) departments are undergoing a substantial transformation in their responsibilities.

Going beyond conventional administrative tasks, HR now holds a crucial position in fostering and facilitating the career growth of employees. This article delves into the shifting terrain of HR and its progressing role in fostering employees’ career development.

Companies That offer human resources software solutions in the UK that may be able to help include:

  1. Rippling
  2. Deel
  3. BrightHR
  4. Factorial


Why Employee Development is Important


Employee development is pivotal for organisational success. It not only enhances productivity but also fosters improved retention and a positive company culture. 

In the face of rapid technological change, reskilling and upskilling have become imperative for the future of work. Companies can ensure competitiveness and attract top talent by offering continuous learning and growth opportunities. Investing in employee development emerges as a critical driver for long-term success.


The Evolution of HR Employee Development


Over the past two decades, the landscape of career development has undergone significant transformations. Previously, new hires followed a standard career path, but with downsizing and organisational flattening, the traditional career ladder vanished.

As downsizing became prevalent, the enduring relationship between employees and companies diminished. The concept of a lifelong commitment to a single company is now obsolete, and frequent job switching, once stigmatised, has become acceptable. 

Unemployment and Quit-Rates

Companies experiencing significant employee turnover incur annual compensation costs for departing employees. While some view this as an unavoidable business expense, it is a misconception. Another factor impacting career development is the historically low unemployment rate coupled with record-high quit rates. Dissatisfied employees can readily switch to new roles, often securing a 15% salary increase.


Role of HR in Employee Career Development


HR departments employ a range of tools, procedures, and strategies to promote accelerated employee development successfully. Achieving employee development yields various advantages, including heightened employee satisfaction, improves performance, and increased creativity. One effective method for HR to foster employee development is by assisting in the enhancement of soft skills. 

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are often defined as essential traits and qualities crucial for fostering interpersonal relationships and accomplishing tasks.

These skills encompass clear communication, active listening, conflict resolution, teamwork, and efficient time management, among others. Specifically, when HR managers contribute to refining employees’ soft skills, it enhances their engagement and effectiveness in their work. 


Top 3 Ways HR Can Encourage Employee Career Development

HR professionals need to understand the vital role they play in supporting their employees’ career progression. Given their responsibility for overseeing and nurturing employee growth, HR is crucial in ensuring the success of employee development initiatives. Here are five key strategies for HR to genuinely facilitate and promote the career development of our employees. 

1. Foster a Learning Culture

Promote a culture where learning and development (L&D) are embraced, prioritised, and celebrated. Embed these values into your core principles, reflecting them in your strategies and decisions. Integrate discussions about career growth from recruitment to performance reviews. Encourage learning activities during work hours, and reward team members with recognition, promotions, and role-based compensation for their development efforts. A learning culture propels employee growth and advancement within your organisation.

2. Promote Balance

Career success doesn’t mean endless long workdays. Encourage smart work, maximise efficiency, and leave room for personal interests. This is crucial for remote workers struggling to separate work and life. Proactively address well-being to prevent stress and burnout. Flexible policies supporting work-life balance boost morale, allowing time for job duties, personal needs, and career development.

3. Establish a Succession Plan

Invest in a succession plan to signal your commitment to developing future leaders among high-potential employees. Don’t delay this important process; create succession plans for key positions. Motivate employees by showing them a clear path for career advancement through skill and knowledge development.

Even in remote work settings, prioritise professional growth and career advancement. Prioritising employee development yields lasting benefits and enhances your company’s competitiveness.

4. Embrace Continuous Performance Management

Make performance management an ongoing dialogue, not just an annual event. Discuss goal progress in regular one-on-ones and reviews, outlining steps for professional development and career growth. Regularly revisit and adjust career goals to align with changing priorities, provide continuous feedback, and address any challenges.

5. Utilise Technology and Software for Sucess Maximisation

Overseeing employee development initiatives can pose challenges, particularly for those handling a sizable workforce. Talent management and development software prove invaluable in such scenarios. This software aids HR in tasks like formulating development plans, monitoring progress, offering feedback and coaching, and handling employee data and records. The adoption of development software allows HR to simplify and automate numerous tasks associated with employee development, enabling them to allocate more time to strategic initiatives.