Real Organisational Experience Through Growth Opportunity

One of the keys to retaining valued employees and talents is to provide them with an organisational experience that truly wows them to stay for more.

This article is part of a 6-week series exploring the key dimensions of the organisational experience - Meaningful Work, Supportive Management, Positive Work Environment, Growth Opportunity, Trust in Leadership, and Cross-Organisational Collaboration and Communication. Based on Deloitte’s Simply Irresistible Organisation Model, PACE has developed further research to determine which factors within these dimensions are the most important.

LinkedIn's Future of Skills 2019 Report found that more than 40% of Singapore professionals have left their job because of the lack of learning and development opportunities. The same study indicated that two in five workers feel daunted by the pace of change in their industries. The majority of the respondents held university level degrees and Masters degrees, indicating that high level education is insufficient in equipping professionals for the changing needs of their industries. The onus, thus, falls on their employers.  

With this in mind, are you giving your employees the best chances to grow and develop?

Throughout this series, we’ve been discussing holistic care for employees both in and out of the work environment. This time we’re considering the same - for learning and development opportunities.

Creating the opportunity for growth doesn’t just exist within an individual’s job scope. It could extend to soft skills, the opportunity for new roles, or even learning something completely new!

There are four factors to create real opportunity for growth within the workplace. In order of importance (according to our research), these are Training On The Job, Facilitated Talent Mobility, High-Impact Learning Culture, and Self-Directed Dynamic Learning.

Training On The Job

Research shows that this is by far the most important factor in ensuring a growth culture within the workplace. Most organisations understand the need for training on the job - whether it be during the on-boarding process, or ongoing. This can be facilitated by leaders or by peers, further breaking down implicit hierarchies.

On-the-job training has always been the go-to method of training. Even as far back as 1971, it was recognised as “the most common, the most widely accepted and the most necessary method of training employees in the skills essential for (acceptable) performance” by William R. Tracey, author of Designing Training and Development Systems.

Since then, on-the-job training has evolved. It is no longer focused on the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. It now acknowledges different learning styles (such as visual or auditory), generation gaps (baby boomers vs millennials, the shift into the digital age), regulatory compliance, and so on.

Good training that caters to the individual needs of learner-employees makes them feel valued and respected, while also equipping them with the tools and confidence to do their job well. A SurveyMonkey study shows that 51% of respondents felt that on-the-job training boosted their self-confidence.

Facilitated Talent Mobility

You’ve provided your staff with great on-the-job training and they’re excellent at what they do. But now they’re bored. Boredom leads to disengagement, which can result in mistakes or the desire to find another job (according to Korn Ferry’s 2018 Breaking Boredom survey). What can you do about this?

Although not all employees can be promoted every one or two years, but employees need to be given the opportunity to grow and stretch their capabilities. Therefore, managers and organisations need to support internal talent mobility, which will allow employees to take on new roles that will allow them to learn and train again. They must be supported by HR and leadership through career path plans.

A prime example of this is Hitachi. With 330,000 employees worldwide, they have a massive pool of talent. By introducing ‘Hitachi University’, the company has engaged more than 250,000 of its employees in a “streamlined learning, development and performance program”. This allows employees to expand their skillset and stay competitive both within and beyond the company.

High Impact Learning Culture

Creating a high impact learning culture is a good bridge between on-the-job training and facilitated talent mobility. It embeds learning into the culture of the workplace, and encourages constant improvement within their job scopes.

One example of this is cross-training, which allows employees to better serve customers because they understand what the customer may need. A rudimentary version of this would be a retail employee who knows where to find an item a customer needs, even if it is not in their section, and then processing the sale.

This reduces dependency on individual team members, while making cross-trained employees feel more valued within the organisation. Research shows that it is one of the most effective ways to improve individual and team performance, and increases an employee’s efficiency at work.

PWC, for instance, cross-trains its employees to create a ‘multilingual’ team - one that speaks in both technology and business-focused languages.

Self-directed Dynamic Learning

Employees must be provided with the resources for self-directed learning. This also contributes to creating a learning culture in the workplace, while allowing employees to broaden their skillsets.

Waitrose goes to great lengths to support their employee’s personal interests by creating a club culture and subsidising classes for piano, cooking, swimming, etc. Similarly, McDonald’s, known for its cost efficiency, invests deeply in the growth opportunities of its employees. It supports its employees in earning formal qualifications in Math and English (at a rate of six full classes a day!), and is one of the largest apprenticeship providers in the world. Its commitment to its people has earned it a regular spot as one of the World’s Best Workplaces.

Fostering a love of learning and a penchant for self-improvement through on-the job training, facilitated talent mobility, a high impact learning culture, and self-directed dynamic learning is a key way for companies to attract, develop, and retain high-performers. Growth Opportunities are an integral part of the 6 dimensions - Meaningful Work, Supportive Management, Positive Work Environment, Growth Opportunity, Trust in Leadership, and Cross-Organisational Collaboration and Communication, and companies should strive to provide their employees with the best opportunities possible.

For a sample copy of our Real Organisational Experience report click here.

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