Running Your Business

How to Help With a Career Change and Retain a Valued Employee


  • Workplaces that offer career development resources, such as workshops and certifications, stand to see higher retention and productivity because of these efforts

  • Adopting a coaching management style is a great way to assess your employees' dream career and, ideally, pave the way for that growth in-house

  • Businesses that help staffers prepare for a new career can boost their reputation as a great place to work

Posted by September 23, 2019

As an employer, is it your role when guiding and mentoring employees to also help with a career change? In an effort to attract and retain a strong workforce, more employers are putting strategies in place to support employees with their career development. Whether this growth happens within the company or it helps employees land a new opportunity down the road, employers who take this approach will see benefits.

Benefits of Helping Employees Change Careers

If your employees aren’t learning and growing, chances are they’re becoming stagnant, complacent and, if this goes on for too long, absenteeism can dominate your office. A disengaged workforce is bad for business—period. The good news is, the majority of employees want to grow their skills.

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 73% of participants said they would consider taking advantage of workshops and educational opportunities if they were offered. Additionally, more than half (58%) of those surveyed said their employer doesn’t offer enough professional development to help them advance in their careers. Think of it this way: If your workers participate in career development activities, they’ll likely be happier and more productive, and will end up applying these new skills to their current job—which only stands to benefit your company!

Some of the other benefits of helping employees change careers, even if they eventually leave the company, include:

  • More positive experiences within your organization. This can lead to future business opportunities, referrals and a reputation boost.

  • Increased retention. Often, employees move on because they’ve hit the ceiling for growth within a certain organization; if you offer advancement opportunities, they may stick around.

  • An improved work culture. By demonstrating a commitment to the growth of employees, you’ll be well on your way to solidifying your organization as a great place to work.

How to Retain Employees and Help With a Career Change

An employee comes to you and says they’re ready for the next step. Though you’re more than happy to help with a career change, are there ways to do so that will encourage them to stay put? Yes. Here are five best practices to consider when helping an employee develop:

  1. Provide access to learning. Employees are already spending time seeking out career development advice online, so why not provide this learning and support in-house? Offering certifications and test prep classes, for example, are easy to implement and serve as a sign of goodwill and support for your employees.

  2. Encourage career growth. Incentives and regular recognition of career growth can help foster loyalty in employees, even in a job market that tries to lure them away. A monthly staff meeting where employees are recognized in front of their peers is a great place to start.

  3. Create attainable career paths for employees. Build real career paths into every role in your company and be clear from day one on how employees can advance. Ask employees what their dream career is, and then provide a route to this goal if possible.

  4. Give all employees plenty of direction. A coaching approach can be beneficial when helping employees develop their career skills. It’s better to learn what an employee wants and then help with a career change internally, rather than lose them because no one is listening. Schedule plenty of coaching time between managers and staffers, and encourage employees to use their time allotted for career development. You can also provide a quarterly performance review system that includes a career-building component, where employees can rate the company on its level of support in helping them reach their goals.

  5. Provide opportunities for trying new responsibilities. An employee may be interested in a new type of role in the company, for example, so make sure they have opportunities to shadow other more seasoned workers. By giving them a chance to experience new roles firsthand, they’ll be ready to make the change when there’s an opening or they may find it’s not the route for them after all.

It’s a win-win for employees and businesses alike when an emphasis is placed on career development. Supporting your employees as they advance into new roles and responsibilities, whether it’s at your office or beyond, will help boost productivity, the knowledge across company ranks, and, ultimately, your bottom line.

To learn more about managing employees and offering learning benefits, explore the employer toolkit on United Concordia Dental’s website.

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