Supporting early and later careers for engagement and retention

Maximising the potential of a multi-generational workforce is crucial to sustained organisational success.

Multigenerational employees working together and smiling

Talent scarcity remains a major challenge for businesses across all sectors, as 69% of employers cannot find the skills they need. Organisations must look to diverse talent pools in order to fill these gaps, with one aspect of this being the development of a multi-generational workforce.

Despite heavy investments in early careers programmes, companies lose over a quarter of graduates within the first 3 years of their employment. Meanwhile, with 85% of baby boomers planning to continue to work into their 70s and even 80s, businesses are challenged with managing differing needs and expectations of those in both early and late careers, in order to retain talent and maintain productivity.

Is your business making the most of the over 50s talent pool?

For those at the later stages of their careers, retirement isn’t the only option: employees may want to work in a different way, switch to reduced hours or change their focus altogether. But they may be afraid to discuss their long-term retirement plans in fear of missing out on projects or opportunities in the short-term – leading to a badly managed exit from the organisation.

A recent TUC report found that older workers are the least likely to get ‘off the job training’ from their employers, with many feeling driven out as their needs to be upskilled are not being met. This means that there are now an estimated 750,000 – 1 million over 50s who are out of work, despite wanting to continue their careers.

PwC research found that 77% of adults would learn new skills or completely retrain in order to future-proof their careers, irrespective of their age. Which goes to show that overlooking older employees for opportunities to learn is both insulting to the individuals in question, and harmful to the wider economy; as over 50s who haven’t had access to training opportunities will be twice as likely as the youngest workers to face long-term unemployment – leaving many highly experienced and valuable professionals unable to contribute towards economic resurgence.

Do you risk losing graduates and apprentices?

Having made a huge investment in developing graduates and apprentices, retention of these talented individuals is a priority for any organisation. Completing a graduate programme or apprenticeship is an important milestone, but it’s only the beginning. When the formal training programme ends, employees need help and support to identify opportunities aligned to their skills, build their personal brand within the business and to continuously manage their career.

In a candidate-led market, recently trained employees have a wealth of career options available and external opportunities are plentiful. If they don’t receive the right level of career support from their employers, they may take their skills elsewhere.

Organisations that stand the best chance of retaining these individuals provide tailored career development support as an integral part of their talent management strategy. Understanding strengths, development areas, and the transferability of their skills helps individuals to adopt a mindset of continuous learning, aligning their career goals with business objectives, and future-proofing their employability.

What can organisations do to manage their workforces more effectively?

  1. Succession planning: Just 35% of businesses have a formalised plan for succession. This means that as one generation of the workforce leaves the business, their knowledge and expertise leaves with them. As a result, the individuals stepping into their shoes are often unprepared to do so, having missed a key step in knowledge acquisition.

  2. Regular career conversations: Organisations cannot afford to lose valuable talent, and yet many continue to struggle with engaging and retaining workers at all levels. One in five employees have never had a career conversation with their line manager, while two in five have just one a year. Equipping line managers to hold open and transparent conversations fosters a culture of development and mobility.

  3. Inclusive leadership: Gartner Analysis predicts that 75% of organisations with diverse and inclusive decision-making teams will exceed their financial targets. Having greater diversity within the teams making key decisions reduces discrimination and bias, and enables more diverse talent to be better utilised within an organisation.

  4. Coaching support: One of the most effective methods of training and development support is coaching. Two thirds of workers who have had access to coaching support cite improvements in their overall job performance, with 74% of coachees planning to stay with their organisation as a result of the support they’ve received.

Learn more with our free webinar. Join Right Management experts Sarah Hernon and Pedro Venus as they explore the key workforce challenges associated with those in early and later careers, and offer practical tips on how your business can support them.