Recruiting and retaining top talent is important to the success of any company. It takes a strong, dedicated, and united team to achieve big goals and grow a business. Yet this doesn’t happen by simply hiring the best talent.
On average, it takes 52 days and $4,000 dollars to hire and onboard a new employee. This investment of time and money is why it’s so important to retain employees. Salary, benefits, and work environment all play a role in an employee’s decision to join and stay at a company. Yet there’s one thing that oftentimes gets pushed to the side when considering employee retention: company culture.
In fact, studies show that company culture can have an astounding impact on an employee’s decision to stay with an organization. One way to create a strong company culture is to focus on employee growth. When employees see growth opportunities and pathways to success, their level of dedication and investment to their company is likely to increase.
Whether you’re an individual contributor, manager, or in a leadership position, here are five ideas on how to create a company culture focused on personal growth.
1. Focus on promoting internally.
On a recent episode of Formstack’s Ripple Effect podcast, Nick Smarrelli shared strategies GadellNet uses to empower employees and create a culture of growth. One of his top tips was to focus on promoting internally.
“A statistic that I’m very proud of is 100% of our managers were individual contributors. So we have not hired a manager from outside the company. Rather, we bring people in, have them understand how we do things, and grow them into that role.”
When a company integrates the idea of promoting internally within their company culture, it provides employees an idea on what their future could hold. There’s no question on whether they can grow within the organization, because they see that it’s part of the organization’s DNA.
Planning to promote internally gives organizations the chance to nurture staff and allow employees to grow into leadership positions. It’s a win-win for employees and human resources: employees get the opportunity to reach their career goals and HR can fill roles faster.
This isn’t to say you can’t hire people outside your company into managerial or leadership positions. There may come times when there are no individuals within your organization who possess the skills needed for a particular role or position. The important thing is to focus on providing employees the opportunity to grow into new roles and responsibilities.
2. Keep communication open about career goals.
There can be trepidation around asking employees about their career goals. If your organization can’t deliver on those goals, will they leave? It’s a possibility, but allowing this fear to minimize the support of employee growth can really backfire. When employees don’t feel supported or heard, they tend to leave the organization.
Empower employees by keeping communication open about career goals. When training managers, include information about having conversations around growth. Discussing career goals and milestones should be an important part of discussions between employees and their managers.
Pro Tip: Consider adding a forward-looking section to your annual review form. You could add questions like, “What would you like your next position to be?” or “What would you like to accomplish in your career?” to get insights into employee career goals.
3. Provide employees time and resources to grow.
It’s one thing to say your company believes in the personal and professional growth of employees; it’s another to actually support it. To truly provide employees the opportunity to grow, they need to have access to time and resources. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
- Give employees accounts to an online training resource like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy
- Provide monetary support for continued education and conferences
- Designate time for training and employee learning
- Offer internal trainings on products, services, and/or positions
- Create a hack day to encourage employees to explore a new idea or learn a new skill
4. Develop company values around growth.
Company values should help guide every decision your organization makes. To truly develop a company culture around employee growth, it’s necessary to have a company value centered on it.
For instance, at Formstack, we have a company value of seek growth. This value guides all teams by reinforcing the importance of employee growth and emphasizing the importance of employee development.
Our company values are front and center on our career page to provide insight to potential employees around what is important to our organization. It’s important to not only create company values, but integrate them throughout your organization to build a strong and transparent company culture.
5. Hire a training specialist to support employee growth.
Having an employee solely focused on the training and development of employees is a game changer. This position coordinates a variety of training opportunities, from lunch and learns about different teams and roles to one on one coaching around career mapping and goal setting.
In the Ripple Effect podcast episode Creating a Culture of Growth, Nick explains how hiring a training and development manager is transforming the future of employees.
You can also choose to add training roles to particular teams, like Sales. This can provide teams with one source of truth for best practices, information, and training to ensure each employee is given the resources they need to succeed in their role.
“It’s critical for teams to hire trainers in order to keep skills sharp. Just as every great professional practices their craft, trainers bring the critical cadence to driving repetition and creating new and relevant formats for improving common skills.” – Beau Brooks, Sr. VP CX/Sales at Formstack
Supported Employees = Happy Employees
Most leaders, managers, and coworkers would say they want fellow employees to be happy, healthy, and successful. Supporting employees by encouraging their professional and personal growth is one way to maintain employee health and happiness. Putting an emphasis on growth and reaching goals will never be a bad idea.