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12 Ways Managers Can Support Employee Career Growth

written by Sammir Inamdar February 22, 2024

Making sure the company keeps growing starts with giving employees the power to chase their professional dreams. Everyone has their own career plans, but sometimes they are not sure how to make them happen.

This is where managers need to step in! They need to back their team’s career growth, so the latter can boost their skills and stay pumped about their work.

Sadly, managers may sometimes neglect connecting with employees and discussing their career aspirations. That could leave their top talent feeling undervalued, which could seriously dampen motivation and, in turn, productivity.

But when employees see that both the company and their manager have their back when it comes to advancing in their career, it’s a win-win – engaged employees as well as a growing company!

Here’s in a nutshell what supporting employee career advancement can help achieve:

Increased employee engagement: Regular discussions about career goals and achievements with managers can boost engagement significantly, with engaged employees being 2.8 times more likely to thrive.

Enhanced employee retention: Career progression ranks as the primary reason for job hunting. In fact, 94% employees expressed a willingness to remain longer with a company if it actively invested in their career development.

Attracting top talent: In today’s competitive job market, offering career advancement opportunities sets your company apart, appealing to skilled and high-potential candidates who seek growth prospects.

Preparing for future roles: As job landscapes evolve rapidly, investing in employee career development equips teams with the skills to navigate emerging roles and bridge future skill gaps effectively.

Improved employee experience: Supporting career growth fosters a sense of support and value among employees, resulting in higher satisfaction levels and a better employee experience.

12 Ways in which Managers Can Encourage Employee Career Growth

Let us deep dive into some actionable tips on how you, as a manager, can help your employees achieve their career aspirations.

1. Understand Employee Goals

As a manager, you can benefit greatly from grasping both short-term and long-term aspirations of your team members, considering where they are in their career journey. This understanding can enable you to tailor skill development for your colleagues in alignment with company objectives effectively.

2. Invest in Mandatory Compliance Training

Compliance Training instils in employees the knowledge and understanding of safety protocols and legal requirements that their job demands. As a manager, you need to invest in compliance training courses that act as guidelines for teams to essay their roles in an ethical manner, in turn, providing a foundation for their career growth in the right direction.

3. Promote Productivity

While dedication is crucial for career advancement, it does not necessarily equate to long hours. Encourage your team to work intelligently and efficiently, so that they have some free time and energy for professional growth aligned with their career aspirations.

4. Collaborate on Development Plans

Similar to effective goal-setting practices, collaborate with your employees to establish a well-defined development pathway that outlines major milestones and smaller steps.

This approach enables progress tracking towards their objectives while empowering them to steer their own professional journey at their preferred pace. Through this process, you evolve from a manager to a leader, guiding and supporting their growth.

5. Promote Inclusive Skill Development

As a manager, you can champion employees’ career aspirations by facilitating skills training for everyone, irrespective of their role within the organization. These sessions should not just focus on enhancing current skills but also offer opportunities for them to explore varied topics aligned with their interests and passions.

This is also where the right learning platforms matter. Check if the platform you pick leverages AI to deliver relevant skill-based resources. If it does, rest assured that your learners will gain substantial learning value with lesser effort.

6. Embed Learning in Company Culture

Integrate learning and growth seamlessly into your organizational values, ensuring they are a part of your people strategies and business decisions. From the initial stages of recruitment and onboarding to regular one-on-ones and performance evaluations, consistently discuss and prioritize career advancement opportunities.

Empower your team to dedicate time to learning activities during their workday and create a culture of knowledge-sharing. By visibly valuing learning and growth, you can recognize and reward employees’ developmental efforts through acknowledgments, promotions, and role-appropriate compensation adjustments.

7. Implement Continuous Performance Management

Performance management is not a once-a-year affair, it has to be an ongoing process. As a manager, you should engage in regular one-on-ones and performance reviews to discuss progress toward goals with their team members. These discussions should include outlining the next steps for professional development and career growth, providing clear guidance for each team member to navigate their career trajectory.

8. Offer Right Learning Platforms

Whether it is upskilling or addressing skill gaps across the company, a key need is providing employees with the right learning platform. While there are a host of options available in the market, two of the most popular ones are Learning Experience Platforms or LXP and Learning Management Systems or LMS.

Understanding which platform is right for you is a decision that involves some research on capabilities, features and innovations. Moreover, picking the appropriate learning platform is a crucial decision, much like any other software you purchase. Each type of learning platform has its advantages and drawbacks, which means you will need an overview of it all before you make an informed choice for their company. You can reach out to learning partners and consultants who will work alongside you to help you pick what’s best for you.

LXP and LMS Selection: A Complete Guide

  • Decoding & comparing LXP and LMS
  • Practical applications for LXP and LMS
  • Critical considerations in selecting the best system
Download Guide

9. Introduce a Mentorship & Buddy Program

Implementing a structured mentoring program is a strategic investment for continuous personal and professional development of your employees. Senior employees can regularly provide insights and guidance to their less-experienced counterparts, creating growth and learning within the organization. In addition, consider establishing a buddy program where new hires are paired with seasoned employees, fostering a supportive environment that enhances skill acquisition and career growth.

10. Offer Social Learning Opportunities

Collaboration and communication are fundamental for team growth. Offer access to your employees to learning platforms that have social learning features so that they can interact with their peers and colleagues and learn from them. By promoting a culture of knowledge sharing and peer collaboration, your team will be better equipped to navigate challenges and seize new opportunities.

11. Assist in Recognizing Passions

Start by guiding employees to recognize their strengths and passions, shaping growth opportunities around their areas of expertise. Then, focus on nurturing both their intrinsic qualities—like compassion, collaboration and confidence —and their external skills, including leadership and professional capabilities. Cultivating strong self-awareness lays the foundation for meaningful growth.

12. Embrace Real-Time Feedback

Achieving career goals requires a commitment to growth. Foster a culture of continuous feedback by both providing and seeking input regularly. Avoid confining feedback to annual reviews, as they may not capture ongoing inspirations and concerns.

By genuinely soliciting feedback on your own actions and decisions as a manager, you create a safe space for others to share their aspirations and areas for improvement.

In Conclusion

Backing employee career growth not only enriches your team members but also enriches your company. This might explain why so many organizations have ramped up employee learning and development efforts in recent times.

By offering continuous support and encouragement for employee career growth, you as a manager can ensure that your team members always have avenues to expand and refine their skills within their chosen career paths, unlocking their fullest potential.

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Sammir Inamdar

As the Co-founder and CEO at Enthral, Sammir provides strategic direction to the company’s Marketing, Product, and Engineering functions. With his cross-functional domain experience, Sammir has been instrumental in ensuring the company's commitment to empowering global enterprises with digital learning is realized. He is deeply passionate about driving workplace performance and development and embedding science-based principles in Enthral’s LMS and LXP. A Computer Science alumnus of St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, Sammir began his career as an animator, eventually venturing into entrepreneurship. His journey includes leadership roles in product and enterprise sales within the Edtech sector in North America prior to founding Enthral. He enjoys reading in his free time and is also a comic book enthusiast.

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