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How to get career engagement back on track


This year has been one of the most challenging for HR teams. Recent surveys show that many who’ve worked through the pandemic feel burnout, disconnected from their work and careers, and at a loss to know what’s next.

On top of that, HR professionals are having to work harder to tackle urgent challenges around restructuring, skills shortages, inclusion and re-integrating their workforce. In some organisations, career development may have slipped down the agenda, where survival was key, and employees worked remotely.

But now is the wrong time to demote careers from your employee offer. The second half of 2021 is the time to refine your ongoing career development programmes to make sure they meet new organisational priorities.

Our recent conversations with HR leaders indicate that many are re-appraising their career offer by addressing three challenges.

1. Retaining talented employees with career support

Problem: The acute pressures of the pandemic have led many to question their role, purpose and the fit between their job and their future.  This has led to a loss of talent as employees look elsewhere or simply resign.

Solution:  Support employees with career development that tells them what they need to do, to make their job and future with your organisation work for them. Just investing in career development can be enough to keep people, but the best programmes, such as Be Bold in your Career, use a customised coaching approach so employees can tailor their actions to meet their personal and career needs. Help employees to see the opportunities ahead of them and how these fit with their lives.

2. Making hybrid working work

Problem: The past year has shown that employees can work well remotely, but have missed out on workplace benefits. Career development, creativity and networking have all been negatively impacted. Some studies suggest a potential for gender divide in future – with more women choosing to work from home. How can you make sure employees don’t miss out on the benefits of the workplace that progress both work outcomes and careers?

Solution: Understanding the secrets of good career management helps employees to identify what can be done remotely and what it’s important to use the workplace for. A career health check tool such as our CareerPulse (part of the Be Bold programme) suggests actions to take a proactive approach to prioritise career development and plan what they need to progress in a hybrid working world.

3. Ensuring inclusive career development

Problem: Organisations are working hard to ensure proactive and bias-free recruitment and formal promotion processes. Yet often less is done about more subjective aspects of development – like project opportunities, advocacy, and even talent identification – to ensure they are equitable

Solution: Meaningful change requires interventions on multiple fronts. One simple action is to use career development coaching at scale to equip everyone with the skills to advocate for their careers. A good online programme drives inclusion by giving everyone the tools to promote their unique brand and career history, develop their network of career advocates, and be ready to seize opportunities.

While the rest of 2021 will undoubtedly throw up new challenges, what is certain is that we all need to be able to recover and reinvent at pace. This is a time for more doing and less contemplation.

Adding one or two simple career tools is a cost-effective way of solving HR challenges in 2021, without redesigning your entire offer. In 90 days from now, you could have just completed fresh career learning for hundreds of colleagues to get them ready for new ways of working. Who says large organisations can’t move fast?

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