Is career development the secret to keeping employees onboard?

'Recruiting costs a lot but losing people, and then re-recruiting again, costs even more money'

Is career development the secret to keeping employees onboard?

With turnover continuing to be a hot topic for HR professionals, offering career development opportunities for the younger, post-COVID employee might help stem the outgoing tide of disgruntled employees, says one expert.

“Twenty-six per cent of workers plan to quit their jobs in the next 12 months and so employers are thinking about how to find, keep and grow talent,” says Candy Ho, board chair at CERIC and assistant professor at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C., citing a PwC report.

“From the context of HR, we know that recruiting costs a lot but losing people, and then re-recruiting again, costs even more money.”

With the post-COVID cohort becoming more integrated into the workforce, HR departments are faced with integrating a group of workers who don’t know any other way of working, she said.

“We have what I like to fondly call the class of 2020+, so pandemic graduates, if you will. They are graduating into the post-COVID world, so what are their distinct perceptions, as opposed to their peers who graduated three years ago? What do they want as we come out of the pandemic?” says Ho.

“So [it’s about] things like alignment with their values, when work is no longer a primary role that they identify, how do they juggle and balance and integrate?”

Balancing AI with career development

AI is also heavily insinuating itself into the fields of career development and HR.

“What does it mean now for an HR professional who is part of recruiting and reviewing applications? How do they leverage AI? How do folks on the other side help in applicants with resumes and job preparation?” says Ho, whose organization, CERIC, is holding Cannexus24, a conference on career development, from Jan. 29 to 31, both online and in-person in Ottawa.

With AI affecting so many areas of the business landscape, today’s employees may not be working in the same jobs in a few years, and so it’s up to HR to manage this transition, she says.

“The OECD for instance, they’re now predicting that 27% of jobs, many of them are highly skilled jobs, we’re not talking about low level responsibilities here, they’re at the risk of being replaced by AI.

One Ontario employer is using AI to upskill the workforce in an effort to keep them onboard.

Despite this dire prediction, it’s not all doom and gloom for people, says Ho.

“I get asked a lot: ‘Are robots going to replace us entirely?’ The answer’s no, because at the end of the day, humans are still needed. So things like critical thinking [and] creativity, AI can’t replace emotional intelligence and communication,” she says.

“Those are the things that are still in demand and therefore, humans are not going away. Jobs are still needed. But we need to rethink about what are the next and future steps with respect to, how do we prepare for AI and evolving technology?”

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