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The Importance of Defining a Career Path for Your Digital Talent

Digital Transformation
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You go through an extensive hiring process and finally onboard an experienced and talented new employee — but your role doesn’t end there. Instead of leaving your staff to fend for their own when it comes to planning their career path, get invested in helping them set and reach their professional goals.

Why Get Involved with Professional Development?

Employees often look for key benefits when comparing job offers. Younger workers, including millennials and Gen Z professionals, often want to continue their education while working. With your digital talent, you might find that while the inherent aptitude is present with your employees, helping new and existing staff plan their career can be complex.

  • New employees might not fully understand potential roles that are directly (or indirectly) related to their new position.
  • Existing employees may not understand what options are available within their current team, or elsewhere in the company.
  • Changing teams within a company can be intimidating to employees, but shouldn’t be if there’s a better fit elsewhere.

What You Can Do to Guide Great Employees

From day one, engaging with your employees and working with them to ensure their skills are being used — and improved — is key. Engaged employees are happier, more loyal (less likely to leave), and above all, more productive, according to a study by the Harvard Business Review.

“Their research specified that energetic employees who were also considered inspired were twice as productive as satisfied employees and 50% more productive than those who were found to be engaged employees,” noted Makenzie Bonham in a Forbes analysis of the HBR study. “It’s these merely engaged and satisfied employees who drive either a high turnover or low productivity rate.”

Engagement isn’t about birthday celebrations and all-company picnics (though those are fun). It’s about having a back and forth conversation with your employees on a regular basis, from the beginning. Talk to them about what they’re getting out of their work — and what’s missing. And make changes to better use their talent and meet their long-term goals.

Most importantly, it is necessary now more than ever to engage employees in the continued development of their skills. Set goals on their career path to gain proficiencies in key skills that will help them advance to the positions they aspire to. Learning doesn’t stop in university or during onboarding – your employees need to learn for life, and career paths help them define how that learning can be achieved.

What Not to Do to Engage Digital Talent

Don’t make it hard for your employees to figure out their goals. Guide them using an existing knowledge base: your own company’s design. You can use visuals like organizational charts to better explain the structure of the employees within your company, but that’s not all. What are you doing to help them see how their work advances the bigger work of the company?

What about your company’s less tangible goals? Don’t let employees wonder what they’re all working towards. The modern employee wants to feel a sense of accomplishment and “bigger picture” when it comes to who they work for, so don’t let them wonder what that message is. If you haven’t defined it for yourself, that’s a great place to start.

You may have asked the question during interviews, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” But what about in six months or even in a couple of years? When an employee can’t see a direct “next step,” within their own team, they may choose the easier path of a job somewhere else with a higher job title. By contrast, if you’re working with them from the beginning to map out a plan (and revise it as needed) you can provide them with a tangible path to their next goal. This can increase employee retention, which for digital talent can mean money and time saved for filling an open role down the line.

Get Started with Professional Development to Fill in Training Gaps

Once your employee has a goal in mind for five, ten, and more years down the line, see where their training and education might need beefing up.

We can help you determine training goals your employees can meet right now, all with the ease of online learning with Cognixia. Learn more about Cognixia’s approach to future-proofing your digital talent.



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