Rewards Professionals Link Loyalty (Their Own) to Career Development

By Stephen Miller, CEBS May 10, 2013

Much like the workforce they serve, HR total rewards professionals identified their own career training and developmental opportunities as key drivers of their long-term loyalty, according to a new report, WorldatWork 2013 Total Rewards Professionals’ Career Development Survey.

WorldatWork fielded the survey among its members (most of whom work at the managerial level or higher in the headquarters of large North American companies) from Jan. 13 to Feb. 11, 2013. Respondents said the following benefits increased their loyalty:

  • Employers’ investment in professional development. Most total rewards professionals consider the career development benefits their employer offers about average (at the 50th percentile).A majority (59 percent) reported receiving at least $1,000 annually to spend on external development opportunities (e.g., association memberships, conference attendance and outside training). Respondents most loyal to their current organization were far more likely to report an annual investment of $2,500 or more.
  • Career paths. Nearly half of all respondents reported that new leaders at their company had come to the senior total rewards role from the external labor market. When asked why they change organizations, total rewards professionals ranked lack of promotional opportunities high among the reasons.

“Since promotions from within are infrequent, even when the economy is good, rewards professionals think of career development more broadly,” explained Bonnie Kabin, CCP, vice president of professional development at WorldatWork. “Not only are they personally invested in their own development, but they also appreciate on-the-job development of skills they believe may ultimately be used at a different employer.”

  • Career development plans. When asked about plansto advance their own career, total rewards professionals most frequently mentioned training and certification.

What gets in the way of career advancement for these professionals?While budget and organizational support were mentioned prominently, the barrier cited most frequently was the lack of time to pursue training and other activities that would help advance their careers, such as stretch assignments and mentor relationships.

“Employers can easily differentiate themselves by investing in their employees’ career development,” said Kabin. “Even a relatively small employer investment has a positive impact on loyalty. Managing employee perceptions of career development opportunities is key to enhancing engagement and loyalty” among total rewards professionals and employees at large.

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.​


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