Stop and think about where you were five or ten years ago in your career. How much have you grown as professional? What have you accomplished that you never thought was possible? How many challenges have you overcome? Now, stop and think about the people who helped you get where you are now. What if they weren’t there, encouraging you, helping you be your best? What if those relationships weren’t supportive or helpful?
Your relationship with your employer is one of the most critical to your career growth, especially if you plan on spending quality time there. How can you tell if your employer is truly supportive of your professional development? Here are five signs your company cares about where you’re going — and how they’re helping you get there:
1. You have regular one-on-one meetings with your direct manager and occasionally meet with her manager.
The number one way to develop as a professional? Have a boss who advises you, challenges you and encourages you to live to your highest potential. You can’t have a relationship like that if your boss doesn’t dedicate any time to checking in with you and your professional goals. A company (and manager) that values your career growth will give you the time and space to talk about you — your challenges, your strengths, your room for improvement and your accomplishments. Talking about these things once a year isn’t enough.
2. Your company provides a career ladder, complete with clear expectations for promotions at every level.
A company that values your career growth wants to see you rise through their ranks, and they want you to do it as efficiently as possible. Having a clear picture of where you can grow and how you can get there gives you great springboard for setting and reaching your goals. A company that cares knows that you deserve an understanding of what growth looks like.
3. Your company holds regular performance reviews – and also allows you to review your manager.
To grow professionally, you need to bolster your strengths and, well, strengthen your weaknesses. But you can’t know where to begin if you don’t know where you stand professionally. A regular performance review process allows you to understand how you’re stacking up to expectations, how you can improve and how you can take your career to the next step. Companies that value your growth want to provide this knowledge, even if it shifts time and focus away from your everyday responsibilities.
4. Your company has facilitated peer learning, networking and/or mentorship.
Learning from others is a critical aspect of professional development. A company that cares ensures that its employees can tap into one of their most valuable resources: their coworkers. This can manifest itself in mentor/mentee pairing, networking events, employee resource groups, peer coaching programs and more.
5. Your company provides some form of continuing education or skills development opportunity.
Education never truly stops, especially in the modern workforce where things seem to change everyday. But more formalized education can be helpful to career growth, too. Especially in industries involving technical knowledge. A company that wants you to reach your fullest potential will encourage your continuing education. This dedication can be shown in many ways: hosting courses, offering tuition reimbursements, providing conference tickets, and more.