CIPD Employee Outlook shows employers fall short on managing staff expectations

A third of employees feel that their career development so far has failed to meet expectations; suggesting employers need to do more to retain talented staff.

The finding was revealed in the CIPD/Halogen Employee Outlook (EO) survey of more than 2,500 workers.

Employee dissatisfaction with career training and development was significant with 28 per cent reporting they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with what was offered by their employer.

However, the survey also revealed that levels of job satisfaction have increased during the past 12 months. This was measured using an index of satisfaction scores based on the proportion of people who agreed with statements about their work versus people who disagreed. In the latest EO, the index rose by four percentage points to +44.

But the institute warned that although individuals might be satisfied in their current role, the findings showed a clear link between satisfaction with the level of career training and development and plans to find a new job.

Only 12 per cent of those satisfied with the level of career training and development said they were looking for a new job with a different employer, compared to 23 per cent of employees overall.

And this trend was supported by further findings, for example 37 per cent of employees said it was unlikely or very unlikely that they’d be able to fulfil their career aspirations at their current organisation, compared to 30 per cent who felt they could.

This perception of career prospects had a marked impact on whether individuals were looking for another job. Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents who thought it unlikely their current employer had opportunities to meet their career ambitions were looking for another job. But only 6 per cent of people who thought their employer would meet their career development expectations were job hunting.

Jessica Cooper, CIPD research adviser, said: “Although job satisfaction levels are on the up, the data indicates that employers can be doing more to understand employee’s career expectations and help employees understand how they can realise these aspirations.”

She said that employees need clarification on how an existing job fits into wider career development and that employers should think flexibly to ensure they understand employee’s career expectations and how best these can be fulfilled by their organisation where possible.

This requires HR and managers to think less rigidly about job roles and move towards developing a better understanding of the skills of their workforce and how they can be deployed in more effective ways to meet people's career expectations but also serve the business well, she added.

“One way to do this is to make sure performance reviews are developmental rather than focused on looking back over the previous year. Employers can also ensure that, where possible, staff are given the opportunity to make lateral moves to broaden their skills and experience, and ensure that employees recognise that career development does not always have to involve progressing into more senior roles.”

Donna Ronayne, vice president of marketing and business development at Halogen Software, said: “Investing in career development is just good business sense. We see firsthand how it helps organisations retain key employees and provide a pipeline of great talent for corporate growth.

“To do this well organisations should give managers the tools and training they need to ensure feedback and performance conversations are future-oriented and focused on developing and evolving the skills of employees,” she added.