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McKenzie Stephens
Solutions Strategist

3 Reasons Career Development Should Be a Business Imperative and 3 Ways to Make It Happen

Today’s workplace is fast-paced, intense, and demanding. Management is under extreme pressure to do more with less, including a lean workforce. But hiring is creeping up and with it comes the danger that you could lose some of your top performers unless you give them good reasons to stay. Here’s what today’s organizations are facing—and why career development is a business imperative:

  • Talent is on the move. reports that 95 percent of surveyed “high achievers” regularly engaged in job search activities and “three quarters sent out resumes, contacted search firms, and interviewed for jobs at least once a year during their first employment stint” during their first year on the job. Why? Lack of career development opportunities with their current employer.
  • Employers are doing more with less. Despite an uptick in hiring, most organizations are still under pressure to do more with less. This is why it’s critical to keep top performers. These are the people who will generate the ideas, productivity, and quality of execution that give your organization its competitive advantage.
  • Employees feel unappreciatedForbes reports that one reason top talent leaves is because they feel unappreciated or unvalued. An appropriately implemented rewards and recognition program is an important step in the right direction. It shows that you appreciate and value their efforts. Adding a clear career development path, and putting enough resources toward it, demonstrates that your organization’s commitment to the employee’s future.

So, why is career development so neglected? We’ve seen a lot of factors that contribute to development’s back burner status, but here are the top three, and what you can do about them:

  • Firefighting. It’s popular to talk about “planning” and “progress toward goals” but the truth is, management spends way too much time attending to the here and now. Issues that don’t need immediate resolution, like taking the time to guide young talent, are put on hold until later. Sorry, but “later” in today’s talent-hungry world is often too late,
  • Lack of time. This is closely tied to firefighting. Attending to what looks like urgencies can consume your workday and beyond. If career development is woven into your organization’s culture, and is positioned as a tangible business goal, you will definitely find the time for it.
  • Rigid hierarchy. Too many organizations try to fit talent into pre-defined roles. But think of this: employees who are eager to get ahead bridle at being pigeon-holed. Those pre-defined roles squelch what can be their most important contribution to the organization, the ability to bring a different perspective and creative solutions to business issues.

Are you ready to grab the reins of career development for your organization? If not, or if you can’t, will you take the time for some one-on-one coaching that is vital to engagement and retention—and so valued by your top performers?

Or would you like to re-visit your reward and recognition programs to see how they can motivate your workforce as employees pursue their roles in your organization? Contact a Marketing Innovations solutions expert today to learn how we can help you.


Harvard Business Review, Human Resource Management, “Why Top Young Managers Are in a Nonstop Job Hunt.” July-August 2012.

Deloitte Review. Issue 16. “Becoming Irresistible: A New Model for Employee Engagement.” January 26, 2015.

Forbes/Leadership. “Why Employee Development is Important, Neglected, and Can Cost You Talent.”  January 29, 2013.