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How to Support Employees in a Career Change

Over the past 12 months, employees worldwide have had time to examine their lives and question whether or not they’re on the right career path. Those who want a change may even have begun to build their skills and start planning for their future. 

When a talented employee says their heart isn’t in their current position, it can be a bitter pill to swallow. However, it may not signal the end to the employee relationship. 

Here’s how managers can support employees during a career change to encourage them to remain an asset to the organization. 

How Common Are Career Changes?

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, people held 12.3 jobs on average between the ages of 18 and 52—almost half of these between 18 and 24. 

In 2019 research by Indeed, 49% of participants said they’ve had a dramatic career change. This study also showed that there are many reasons people switch careers. Money is a factor, but there are others:

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Other reasons employees may change careers include enjoying a less stressful life or caring for an unwell loved one. People might also shift into a different profession because they’re working in an industry that is declining or due to a sudden disruption in the economy like the one brought by the COVID-19 pandemic

Supporting Employees in a Career Change

Hiring new employees is expensive. By the time the tax forms are filled out, NDAs and other agreements are signed, and the training is completed, businesses have already invested significant resources. Managers can protect that investment by meeting the needs of their employees. 

Here’s how you can support your employees during their career change to benefit your company and them. 

Help Employees Create a Career Change Plan 

To enjoy a successful career change, having a rough plan is necessary. Without a vision, it’s easy to become demotivated—especially if things take longer than expected. 

Management can help employees by creating a career path with them. To begin, look at potential future openings within the company that may satisfy their goals. 

Help them set objectives and create a blueprint. Validating their ambitions and helping them achieve their dreams increases the chance they’ll respond with a commitment to their current role, while embracing the possibility of future growth within the organization. 

Invest in Online Learning

One critical aspect of achieving career growth is learning the skills needed for a new role. Fortunately, employees have plenty of online resources to gain knowledge on any skill or topic. 

When investing in online learning, using a dynamic and customizable platform is essential. Employees should be able to track their progress in a way that suits them, and gets results. 

Investing in online learning gives you the opportunity to encourage innovation and independent thinking within your organization. It also lets your employees know that you are committed to their growth and development.

Help Employees Manage Their Time More Efficiently

Time is everyone’s most important asset. When balancing a full-time job with a pending career change, it’s even more vital. 

To improve efficiency, time-tracking software is a good investment. Time-tracking software helps employees better manage their workflows and where they need to make changes.

Furthermore, time-tracking software helps employers avoid overscheduling employees and minimizes stress levels. 

Notify Employees About Possible Openings

Often, companies are too quick to give in to losing their best talent. According to Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report, three in four employee turnovers were preventable. 

Switching careers doesn’t always mean having to change companies. The most attractive organizations for high-quality candidates are dynamic and offer flexibility with room for internal growth. In medium-sized and larger businesses, there’s often promotion opportunities for ambitious employees within the company. Once suitable roles become available, the employee can be notified. 

Beyond retaining your best talent, you’ll also improve loyalty and motivate others to strive for promotions. 

Encourage Growth in Their Current Role

In 2020, Deloitte released a report titled: “Talent 2020: Surveying the Talent Paradox from the Employee Perspective.” 

Of those who participated, 27% said that a lack of career progress would lead to them searching for a new job. New market opportunities also ranked high as a reason.

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Though an employee may have decided that their current career isn’t a good fit for them, that doesn’t mean all their skills are useless. For example, marketing knowledge is transferable to sales, while experience as a front desk manager could help human resources. 

When helping employees create a career change plan, it’s wise to remind them that growing in their current role will help them further down the line. 

By making it clear how their current job will improve their chances of success when they’re ready to make a change, employees will be more motivated to continue performing well. 

Make Sure Employees Feel Appreciated in Their Current Role

Many quality employees view their job as a stepping stone to something bigger. Discouraging or suppressing employees who have big ambitions is a surefire way to force them out of your company. 

Ensuring your staff members understand the value they provide is essential. An easy way to show your appreciation is by recognizing when they go above and beyond. Checking in often to see how they’re doing is also an excellent way to remind them of their worthwhile contribution. 

Showing appreciation for employees encourages them to produce their best work and remain dedicated to the organization. 

Career Changes Can Be Beneficial for Businesses and Employees

While an employee’s interests may stray from their current role, managers need to take a proactive approach to ensure valuable employees don’t leave. Career changes can benefit an organization as well as the individual. Helping employees to achieve their dreams motivates them to commit to their current role, even if it’s not their “final” destination. It speaks to the value you place in your employees and in your business growth. HR departments can help with career changes by creating plans, investing in online learning, and finding internal opportunities that fit employees’ goals. These strategies help retain the best talent.

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About the author

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Dean Mathews
Founder & CEO, OnTheClock

Dean Mathews is the founder and CEO of OnTheClock, an employee time tracking app that helps over 10,000 companies all around the world track time. 

Dean has over 20 years of experience designing and developing business apps. He views software development as a form of art. If the artist creates a masterpiece, many people’s lives are touched and changed for the better. 

When he is not perfecting time tracking, Dean enjoys expanding his faith, spending time with family and friends, and finding ways to make the world just a little better.

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