How employee progression can foster staff loyalty

By Robert Half 4th November 2019

Staff loyalty and retention has always been an important aspect of business, but with the talent shortage in full force, it is now more crucial than ever. A Gallup study has found that Millennials are three times more likely to leave a position in pursuit of a new job opportunity, most often caused by stagnation and a lack of engagement within their current role. 

We look at some of the ways you can start fostering great loyalty among your staff, from internal role opportunities to rewards for achievements. Read more below.

How to support staff progression at work

1. Hold regular job progression meetings

Employees often feel they’re making no progression at work when they stop achieving career goals. When researching happiness at work, we found that employees were at their most loyal when their own goals were achieved in tandem with business goals.

Because career goals and job progression are not static ideals, managers should endeavour to meet regularly with employees to discuss their career objectives and how goals and targets can be reached.

Read more in happiness at work

By taking the time to help your employees determine their own career trajectory and actively track it each month, they are able to see tangible proof of job progression. When they feel they are making good progression at work, they are more likely to feel proud of the business and be more loyal to it. 

2. Internal talent pipeline
When your employees are provided with a fair opportunity to rise in the ranks at work, they are more likely to invest in the business and remain loyal to it. 

It’s easy to feel as though there’s no progression at work when each new senior opportunity is being filled by an external professional. Without hope of climbing the ladder, employees may simply move to a new, more senior position at another company. For this reason, it may be better to examine the existing talent you already have and look to promote there first. 

When you have a provisional talent pipeline drafted up, you can aim to involve the relevant employees, and help them gain the skills they might need in order to take up the position in future. 

3. Reward achievements
Our study on happiness at work has revealed that a little praise can go a long way with regard to how satisfied employees feel at work. Rewarding hard work creates a sense of achievement which feeds back into their sense of job progression.

In an interview with HR Magazine, John Sylvester (director at P&MM Motivation) said:

“…studies show that employees strongly agree that the quality of their company recognition scheme impacts on their job performance and when seeking new employment. Despite this trend, recognition is often cited as the number one reason for staff leaving and surprisingly, it is rarely an agenda item for managers.”

4. Offer salary increases and bonuses
Each time a new salary banding is reached, your employees feel as though they’ve made progress. This is also true each time a job well-done is rewarded with a bonus — it serves to show appreciation, fairness and is an indication that their individual contribution was substantial enough to warrant the additional budget. To boost staff loyalty with financial perks which are in line with regional benchmarks, you can use a trusted industry report like the Robert Half Salary Guide.

5. Staff development and training

As digital transformation continues to change workplaces and the roles within them, staff development has taken an even more prominent place in employee progression. Learning a new skill is an excellent way for employees to feel as though they’ve evolved within their role and made substantial job progress.

David Sturt and Todd Nordstrom, both researchers, consultants and authors inside the O.C. Tanner Institute, recently told Forbes: “It’s your job to show loyalty to them as an employee first. Show them how you’ll help them become their best. Show them they can trust you. Show them you support them. Loyalty will come with time.”

Our research has shown that employees who work within more skilled roles are happier. Research for the Robert Half Salary Guide found that the offer of training and development was very attractive to employees, especially among juniors. It’s so effective that 38% of businesses are using it as a tool for staff loyalty and retention. You can bolster the learning opportunities within your team by offering cross-training and mentoring, too. 

Staff loyalty: key takeaways

Employee progression is a huge ingredient in staff loyalty and it’s up to employers to improve retention using strategies which encompass much more than just an attractive salary. Whether you choose to offer staff development, create internal talent pipelines or schedule in regular progress meetings, choosing to support employee job progression is a strong step towards creating lasting staff loyalty.

Are you concerned that your employees may feel there’s no progression at work? You can find new ways to support employee progression by downloading the IT’S TIME WE ALL WORK HAPPY.™ report and by checking your salary benchmarks and benefits against the Salary Guide

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