What it is:
Opportunity is more than just promotions and pay raises. For employees, opportunity means feeling heard and having a seat at the table. It includes the ability to grow and develop, but also work on challenging, special projects and be continuously making an impact on the organization.
Currently only 60% of employees feel they have opportunities for continuous learning at work, and 52% feel they have a seat at the table on important decisions.
The opportunity for growth and development and having a voice in the organization is no longer a work perk; it’s become an expectation. Companies that don’t provide meaningful opportunities will quickly lose their best talent.
How it impacts culture:
Employees said opportunity for growth and development was one of their top drivers of engagement, but also their second highest reason for quitting.
A sense of opportunity at work helps employees feel empowered to do great work and stay for the long haul. Even a perceived lack of opportunity can affect talent acquisition, engagement, and retention. 83% of employees say they are more likely to stay with an organization that offers new problems to solve and projects to work on than if they did not have those opportunities.
“I asked my supervisor if there were any additional responsibilities, or tasks I could take on to learn more or to explore deeper. Her response was, ‘If you want to further your career, you should do it at a different company.’ So, I quit.”
How to do it well:
Companies may not have the budget or structure to offer employees promotions and pay raises quickly or often. But there are other ways to provide opportunity at work:
1) Provide variety for employees at work in what they do, whom they work with, and how they work. Provide exposure to different projects and different areas of the company.
2) Allow employees to influence important decisions. Give them a chance to voice their opinions and listen to what they have to say.
3) Provide networking and mentoring opportunities. Building social capital can be just as, if not more, important than the title on an org chart.
4) Use special projects as a way to help employees build new skills and connect with people they may not normally interact with. Simply participating in special projects can have a huge impact on how an employee feels about your workplace culture.
Read more about how special projects are a secret weapon to providing opportunity in the workplace.
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