Certainly, your employer has a vested interest in helping curate your brilliant career. Engaged employees who feel supported by their employers and are offered opportunities to learn more and develop skills are more likely to stay in their positions and contribute to the company’s bottom line. According to the 2017 Saba State of Employee Engagement Report, this includes the much-discussed millennial workforce, too.
The report states 86 percent of millennials are more inclined to stay at their current company if they’re given access to quality training and development. That’s higher than Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers (62 percent), who are less likely to stick around even when they are given quality development.
But it would be a mistake to wait for your organization to offer the perfect, personalized career development roadmap. While we certainly hope your employer will offer high-quality training, they may not now or ever. So, let’s give your future self a gift: taking charge of your career development with these three steps.
1. Ready, set, go: Learn new skills
Career expert Liz Ryan tell us that we are all entrepreneurs. Even if you are a full-time salaried employee, it’s high time you considered your career your very own business. You are the wonderful product. Make sure “the product” is growing; learning new skills; reaching out for guidance from mentors; fine-tuning professional skills.
In today’s competitive environment, simply clocking in is not enough. Draft a plan: where do you want to be in two years? Five years? List the concrete steps you will take to achieve your career goals.
For instance, do you want to be a project manager but don’t know the ins and outs of the project management software your company uses? Seek out courses in the software and see if your manager will spring for the cost of training. Or perhaps you want to eventually make your way into purchasing but currently work in accounts payable. Check if you can attend purchasing vendor-sponsored lunch and learns.
Seek out a mentor at your company who has held different positions in his or her career. If you can’t find a mentor within your existing company or network, use LinkedIn to find people in your city with a role you aspire to in the future. Send them a message offering to take them to coffee and ask them about their career. People love to talk about their journeys (and themselves) and are usually willing to help when you ask for it!
Volunteer to work on all-company committees or events to meet a wide variety of colleagues. Use a search engine to look for user groups in your area or meetups on certain topics. Check out YouTube or SlideShare to learn more about the topics that interest you most. There’s a pool of knowledge at your fingertips. Dive in!
2. Choose your own adventure
It’s entirely possible that your boss doesn’t know your career development aspirations, so you’ll need to let them know. The best way? Request an assignment that exposes you to another part of the organization. Yes, you’ll have to do more work for a short time, but that’s why we’re suggesting project-based work. Project-based work is time-defined and can be completed one step at a time.
Saba clients can share career goals with their manager as well as use Saba Discovery. This latest Saba innovation allows employees to add articles, webinars and courses to their learning plan that they might attend outside of their formal learning platform. Saba Discovery allows high-performing employees to search far and wide for content that inspires them, rather than just plodding through “assigned” courses.
You’ve got this. By meeting new people and learning new skills, you’ll begin to stand out as a leader in your company. You’re already on your way to crushing it.
3. Get going
The career development efforts we’re suggesting are work, but it’s the good kind: it will help get you where you need to go. It’s important to choose a time frame, or like most people, it will be simply too easy to go with the flow another year or so.
Does your organization offer training and development? Make sure to visit your learning management system at least once per week. Slot time on your calendar to take courses—and strive to be the first one on your team to complete the required training. If there are classes or events you would like to take but are not allowed to, let your manager know and request to be an exception. By using Saba Discovery, our customers can even add classes or articles to their learning plan—from wherever they find them on the web or other sources.
Remember, this is your career....let people know you are taking charge of it!
While we all hope our employers are crafting fantastic learning plans on our behalf, the truth is that we are our best advocates. Figure out the training you need to climb to the next level of your dream career and then reach for the stars (or that next Lynda.com course). Your future is waiting...we wish you luck!