Money matters – but it can’t beat advancement and fulfillment when it comes to employees’ performance, motivation, engagement and long-term loyalty to their organization. Experts agree that people perform at their best when their work environment is conducive to growth.

Just ask the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Their research has concluded that proper training is essential to development and success, as it ensures employees are actively improving at their jobs instead of wallowing away in stagnant roles.

In another recent study, input from 250,000 workers at large U.S. companies showed that opportunities for career advancement and work/life balance were leading morale-boosting factors, ahead of salary and compensation.

Advancement as Motivation

Employees need various kinds of advancement opportunities. Some appeal more to certain people than others, but all are important. They include:

  • Financial growth: While not top on the priority list, this is still a given. Make sure your compensation structure is incentivized. Reward outstanding performance. If times are tough and you can’t afford major payouts, even smaller, well-chosen things are helpful. For instance, a gift card to a favorite restaurant or tickets to a popular sporting event.
  • Career growth: Talented people generally want to advance within their company. They tend to be highly motivated by added responsibility, better office space, prime parking and most importantly, the respect of others within the organization.
  • Personal growth: Friendships and relationships matter, inside and outside of work. Studies show that “peer praise” and “a fun work environment” are effective motivators.

The bottom line: Peoples’ moods, and likewise their productivity and loyalty, improve with growth incentives and wane if they feel stuck in their current roles.

Make it Happen

Review your existing processes for growth and development, and revitalize them as needed.

  • Outline employees’ career paths. Feeling like they belong and having professional goals aligned with organizational values keeps people around for the long term.
  • Reward contributions through growth. Develop programs that define the steps required to advance to higher positions. Raises and bonuses don’t hurt, but they aren’t a panacea to make people more invested.
  • Formulate individual development plans. They should provide both employees and supervisors with a clear understanding of what accomplishments are expected, and which strengths are required to qualify for internal advancement. Deliver ongoing feedback, so there are no surprises at formal evaluation time. Your IDPs should lead to enhanced accountability for everyone involved.

Do you need direction in building your training and development programs and employee career pathways? The StaffMasters team can help with fine-tuning your overall hiring and talent management strategy. Contact us today to learn more.


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