Employee development: It’s a concept commonly invoked in HR and recruiting, but little action is ever actually taken to implement or improve it within an organization. Very few companies invest in strong employee development programs or effective software.

As a company leader or business owner, you can’t ignore that a lot of candidates are explicitly looking for development opportunities when they search for new jobs. Moreover, your existing employees likely crave it, too.

Employee development, when implemented correctly, does not just help a small group of employees in your organization. It makes waves in your recruiting efforts, your onboarding strategies, your employee engagement, and your retention.

Are you wondering what employee development can really do for your team and your company? Here are three reasons why it’s time to invest in your newest and most powerful company asset:

1. Attract and Retain More Top Talent

On average, it costs 33 percent of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement. So, if an employee makes $45,000 a year, their replacement will cost $15,000. It is in your best interest, then, to keep retention high and replacement costs down.

To cut down on turnover, you have to understand why employees leave. For many, it’s because they aren’t getting career development. According to a study from Work Institute, 22 percent of employees name career development as their main reason for leaving a job.

A good employee development program can help stem the outflow of employees in search of more opportunity. For maximum effectiveness, you also need the right software to manage that program. With the proper employee development software, you can gain immense insight into your employee development program, allowing you to track results and tweak approaches as needed. The right software can also help you set and manage goals for employees, which is key to any employee development strategy.

2. Ignite Engagement

Do your employees seem to lack connections between one another? Is performance low? Are workers unmotivated and unmoored? Employee development can help reignite engagement by offering your team members insight into their careers, opportunities to enhance their skills, and a sense of appreciation and respect from the company.

Again, software is key here. When employees have a portal to set goals, track performance, and solicit real-time feedback from managers, they feel more connected to their jobs and more confident in their career progression. This translates directly to increased engagement, which boosts company performance and retention rates.

3. Improve Performance — for Today and for the Future

Think about how your employees currently receive training and performance feedback. What are relationships like between managers and employees in your company? Chances are there is a disconnect somewhere, but employee development can help bridge the gap. A robust employee development program brings managers and employees closer together by engaging them both in the employee’s performance journey.

How is your company preparing for the future? If it is not investing in employee development, the answer is: It isn’t. The business landscape is constantly evolving, and companies must cultivate talent now to ensure performance tomorrow. With a formal system of coaching, training, and management, employee development prepares both the employees and the organization to meet the challenges of the future.

Performance reviews and employee development go hand in hand. By investing in the right tools and resources, you allow your managers to track each employee’s path, conduct better reviews, and foster the growth of both the team and the organization overall.

Whether formal employee development programs are new to your company or your current strategy hasn’t been delivering, it’s time to invest in a high-quality, effective platform. That’s the best way to see performance results, keep engagement high, and attract and retain the right talent.

A version of this article originally appeared on the ClearCompany blog.

Sara Pollock is head of the marketing department at ClearCompany.

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