Dealers' #1 source for auto industry news, content, coaching & analysis

Why career development plans are crucial for staff retention

Being prepared for a meeting about career development can make it easier to come up with a solid plan for your employees’ futures.

The ultimate goal of most job seekers is not only to land employment but to find jobs that can be made into careers. Similarly, hiring managers are looking for employees who will be strong assets to their companies for a long time. Aside from outlier years such as 2021, dealerships have historically seen high turnover rates due to pay dissatisfaction and demanding hours. Seeing as hiring and training is quite expensive, companies are wise to find ways to encourage employees to stay; therefore, it is critical for dealers to create career development plans and make visible career paths for all employees regardless of what departments they work in.

Why a Career Development Plan is Important

The first step to creating a career development plan is to understand why a career development plan matters. Career development is consistently one of the key factors employees report placing a huge emphasis on. In fact, 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career, according to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report. Yet, many companies don’t put much energy into it, and employees, therefore, get discouraged and feel like they are not valued. A national survey conducted by the Harris Poll found that, while 69% of employers feel career growth is extremely important to retention, a third of employees who have left a job (34%) have done so because they craved more career development opportunities,

Collaborating to create goals for employees to strive towards gives them a purpose to show up, learn, and stay for a long time, thus increasing employee retention. Of course, this ultimately improves the success and profitability of any business.

Prepare for the Discussion

Since you never want to enter into a meeting unprepared, managers should let everyone who will be involved know the purpose of the meeting ahead of time. It should be made very clear that the discussion is regarding an employee’s future, and also that it is a positive meeting (NOT a disciplinary one!). Many employees get nervous when they are spoken to about their futures within their companies, so it should be specified that the career goal meeting will be a positive one for everyone.

Management can ask employees to prepare answers to any questions they may see fit for such a conversation. This could include goals for the year, new skills and tactics they want to learn, and what position they ultimately strive to reach within the next three to five years. Many employees also have an idea of whether or not they want to stay in their same role, be promoted within their role, or transfer to an entirely different sector. Oftentimes, managers are  actually surprised at some of their employees’ responses.

Perhaps most importantly, employees should always be asked how the organization can help them reach their goals. The answer may include offering job shadowing in other departments, a wide variety of opportunities to employees who aren’t sure what they want for their futures, or new technology solutions if there is enough interest in them. In addition, the benefits that are offered, such as parental leave, paid time off, and tuition reimbursement can also factor into their goals.

Ultimately, being prepared for a meeting about career development can make it easier to come up with a solid plan for your employees’ futures.

Work Together to Form a Plan

digitalization employment

Things to discuss during a career development plan meeting include both short- and long-term goals, how to measure progress, how employees’ goals align with the business’s, and a timeline the employees would like to follow for meeting their goals. Your employees will do most of the work in coming up with their goals and working towards meeting them, but it is up to you to give them some of the tools and guidance they need. There is no way to know exactly what goals an employee has before entering the meeting, but having at least a mental list of things that may help them can make the meeting a success.
It is critical to note that managers should not make guarantees to employees during career development plan meetings, including both time and financial guarantees. While you can assist employees in reaching their career goals to some extent, they are ultimately responsible for making use of what you provide and following through on their own.

Be Open to Discussion

Finally, it is impossible to truly know what another person is thinking, and ideas are always evolving, so when creating career development plans, it is important to keep all lines of communication open. Dealership management teams and their employees should always be open to discussing changes and updates to the career paths that have been drawn up, as this ensures everyone is on the same page about the employees’ mindsets for the future. While frequent check-ins are not required for most employees, being available to them when they need it is critical for their success.

Stay up to date on exclusive content from CBT News by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our free newsletter to receive all the latest news, insight and trends impacting the automotive industry.

CBT News is part of the JBF Business Media family.

Kimberly Hurley
Kimberly Hurley
Kimberly Hurley is a contributing writer and investigative journalist for CBT News, with over a decade of experience specializing in automotive, healthcare, and manufacturing. She enjoys working with industry professionals throughout the world to develop engaging, and accurate content.

Related Articles

Manufacturers In This Article

More Manufacturer News

Latest Articles

From our Publishing Partners