Help Employees Move Up in Their Careers to Drive Down Turnover

When HR implements a comprehensive internal mobility strategy focused on employees’ career growth and development, costly turnover decreases significantly, talent management experts say.

Many employers say they prefer advancing internal candidates, but high turnover and a lack of strategic workforce planning instead have organizations reactively turning to external applicants to fill open positions, according to a 2016 survey commissioned by the ADP Research Institute.

Seventy-five percent of companies surveyed expect to see high turnover over the next three years, and 76 percent say the market for skilled workers will continue to tighten.

“Turnover is a big issue for many companies,” said Linda Ginac, CEO of talent management software firm TalentGuard, based in Austin, Texas. “But if employees are engaged in their role and have the opportunity to be exposed to new roles, whether through job sharing or project work, turnover is much [reduced].”

An internal career mobility program helps employees visualize their career growth within the company, develops employees’ skills to create a steady source of qualified talent, and sets up a skills assessment and development infrastructure.

“It’s important not only for the company and its bottom line but also to show employees that the ability to make upward or lateral career moves exists,” said Andee Harris, chief engagement officer at HighGround, an HR cloud platform provider based in Chicago. “People want the option to grow with the company.”

Helping Employees Chart Career Paths

Whether employees aspire to a specific role or are targeted by management as high-potentials, effective career pathing impacts talent acquisition, employer brand and the employee value proposition.

Ginac outlined the following steps necessary to build a formal career pathing program:

Define the development culture. Employers will first have to determine what types of career moves they want to support—upward, lateral or both—and whether the existing performance management system will need an overhaul.

HR will also need to survey the perceptions of the development culture early on. Are there opportunities for advancement? Or is the overall perception that the company primarily hires externally?

“Organizations with a strong development culture share two things,” Ginac said. “The ability to move between job roles and teams with not a lot of complexity and the availability of extensive training programs. It can’t just be lip service. There must be a clear path that is seen by employees.”