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Clear Career Paths Keep Employees from Heading for the Hills

Clear Career Paths Keep Employees from Heading for the Hills
Credit: Rangizzz/Shutterstock

Businesses risk losing their top employees if they don't do a good job of helping them see where their careers are headed, new research finds.

Career management programs are failing to help employees understand advancement opportunities and chart career roadmaps with their current employer, according to a study from professional services company Towers Watson.

Specifically, just 46 percent of all employees said their employer provides beneficial career planning tools, while only 42 percent of workers think their organization offers quality advancement opportunities.

In addition, roughly four in 10 employees believe that in order to advance their careers, they would need to move to a new employer.

Renée Smith, a talent and rewards director at Towers Watson, said many companies are failing to see the big picture when it comes to career management programs and are in danger of losing some of their best talent. She noted that a lack of career advancement opportunities trails only pay in the reasons employees quit their jobs.

"At a time when hiring and turnover are increasing, and employers are experiencing problems attracting and retaining talent, employers need to understand the importance of providing career advancement opportunities," Smith said in a statement. "Currently, their programs are coming up short."

The study revealed a number of challenges businesses are facing when developing career management programs. Less than half of employers have formalized frameworks and career paths in place, while just one-third of organizations said their managers are effective at conducting career development discussions as part of the performance management process. [5 Mistakes That Are Costing You Your Best Employees ]

The research also found that just one-quarter of companies actually track the effectiveness of the career management programs they do have in place.

Another problem is that career management information is often communicated in a disjointed manner, as several parts of the company are in charge of different elements of the process, Smith said.

"Additionally, organizations may lack the business buy-in for career management programs, which can make career management the sole domain of HR," Smith said. "Given this situation, it's critical for employers to step back and think through how to best design, deliver and measure an effective and integrated career management program."

The study was based on surveys of 1,637 companies worldwide, including 337 companies from the United States, as well as more than 32,000 employees, including 6,014 from the U.S.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.