According to our Job Market research, less than half of employees believe that their employers value professional development and actively invest in employee training. Hiring managers are reporting that less than 1/3 of companies have structured programs to upskill or reskill employees, and an even smaller number provide a systematic approach to career pathing. That’s shortsighted of those companies, as our talent behavior research has perennially shown year over year that better professional growth and up-skilling are the main reasons (along with better compensation) to switch employers. Kerry Veas, 24 Seven’s VP of Training, shares why structured training is so critical in talent attraction and retention, and lessons learned from 24 Seven’s implementation of structured career development for its own business development and account management professionals.
How important is a company’s approach to training & career pathing to overall talent management strategy?
It is an absolute differentiator in a very competitive hiring market. For example, in our experience, it’s really hard to attract people into the recruiting field at the entry-level when they don't really know a lot about it as a career. Offering a comprehensive training program gives novices a feeling that there’s a safety net to support them through the first few months of a job and also know that there's a career path that's carved out. This sends a clear message that this opportunity is not just a job, but a profession. And, for candidates who might have recruiting experience, our training program on how to be successful at 24 Seven helps to fill their skill gap quickly. For all trainees, they feel secure and are able to ramp up very quickly into the roles. Whether they come with staffing experience or if they come to us out of the digital marketing space, we can help them quickly fill in the blanks. We are increasing their likelihood of success by training them on the best practices for the particular role.Additionally, companies should remember that it’s effective in making sure that their corporate culture and core values are cohesive and pervasive throughout the organization – especially if there are secondary or regional locations.
How does training prepare an employee as they move along their career journey?
Establishing structured training is an effective strategy for growing internal talent from the ground up so that companies don't have to continually make new hires from outside – hiring is more expensive than retaining and training. With this in mind, at 24 Seven we’ve tailored training and development to the business development and account management career journey. We've mapped out learning paths for each one of the roles. We're always working to identify and adapt what our employees need to know as they grow to ensure we are delivering the right training to the right people at the right time. All of our courses are mapped out – some get repeated when someone gets promoted or someone might need a refresher. On the recruiting side for example, we'll train someone at the coordinator level on sourcing talent, but then when they get promoted, they will take a refresher course for a little tune-up. But then they also take a next-level class that builds on skills.
How might a company make sure they are delivering content in the right format?
Keeping different learning styles in mind, and understanding the pressure employees face every day to get their jobs done should drive how you provide opportunities to develop professionally. We offer content in a variety of learning formats. It may be one-on-one coaching, instructor-led training that's in-person or virtual, or self-paced content in video form with quizzes. We also hold group training events a couple of times a year, like boot camps. Format variety ensures content accommodates the spectrum of employee learning styles. Is being one-on-one, face-to-face important for this person? And also what do they have time for? If they're swamped and they can't do it during the day, are training modules available via video or webinar recording and can be accessed anytime? This way means your employees can complete their training requirements while they're commuting or at home, or on a weekend.
What are you working on next?
My next project focus is on developing manager training. How do we help those who have been identified for the leadership track to manage people – very often for the first time. Preparing these young leaders not just with people skills but also how to manage their time to now include the responsibilities of leadership. Often they’ve been star producers and we want them to be equally successful in inspiring a team of producers. To learn more about how training elevates an employment brand and helps retain talent, pre-register here for 24 Seven’s Job Market Report.