Should career retention efforts focus more on ‘squiggling’?
Managers, in order to reduce turnover, need to shift the focus of career conversations from promotion to progression and developing in different directions, according to Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis, co-founders of London, UK-based career development firm Amazin.
“Limited awareness of roles and a perceived lack of support from managers means that for many, it has become easier to leave and grow than squiggle — that is, change roles and develop in different directions — and stay,” the two wrote in a recent Harvard Business Review article.
Career conversations are “often rushed, low quality,” or even skipped in favor of day-to-day responsibilities.
Instead, career conversations should focus on “strength spotting,” the two argue, to see where skills might apply elsewhere in the organization. Managers should help underlings make connections to explore internal opportunities outside their direct team and encourage “career experiments” or trials working with other teams.
Two hurdles, however, often interfering with career progression is the reality that managers:
- Don’t want to lose their best talent;
- Are graded solely around their team performance.
Ms. Tupper and Ellis argue that measuring the number of career experiments, diversity and development of skills or the percentage of vacant roles filled internally could support net retention across organizations.
“Providing the opportunity for employees to nominate managers for recognition and reward could also create visible signals of what success looks like,” the authors wrote. “Managers that are seen to embrace the ‘squiggle and stay’ mindset become magnets for top talent and are showcased as role models to learn from across the organization.”
Retention has been receiving more attention given labor shortages and the “Great Resignation.”
A recent global survey from Boston Consulting Group of more than 7,000 “deskless workers” — or those in retail, construction, distribution, factory, health care and transportation — found a lack of career advancement opportunities, cited by 41 percent, to be the highest factor driving the decision to leave their job. That was followed by pay, 30 percent; more flexibility, 28 percent; work-life balance, 22 percent; and lack of enjoyment in their current position, 15 percent.
- It’s Time to Reimagine Employee Retention – Harvard Business Review
- New Research Shows the Forces Behind the Worsening “Deskless” Worker Shortage – Boston Consulting Group
- How Clear Career Paths Strengthen Retention — and Diversity – Bain
- The five zeros reshaping stores – McKinsey
- How D.C.-area employers kept workers happy amid the Great Resignation – The Washington Post
- Amid Retail Labor Issues, Employee Retention Is Essential – WWD
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is offering store associates a path to career advancement a particular challenge for retail managers? What do you think of the suggestions offered in the article and what others can you share about creating career development opportunities at retail?