Three months ago I began a custom career path at Seer Interactive so I could follow my dreams of working remotely while traveling the world. It took three months of research and 100 hours to build a new role within Seer that can be accomplished in 20 hours a week from anywhere on the globe and contributes both to the company goals and my personal career objectives. We accomplished this feat and it’s been an incredible experience for both Seer and myself.
Although at Seer this degree of flexibility in career changes isn’t uncommon, the majority of companies haven’t realized the unique advantages of enabling custom career paths.
Encouraging and supporting custom career paths can greatly increase employee engagement, resulting in a company’s improved retention and revenue.
In this article we’ll look into why companies should consider encouraging custom career paths for their employees and the unique benefits that come from supporting employees in an unconventional way.
Studies have concluded that higher employee engagement leads to higher retention rates. One of the top ways to engage employees is to focus on their strengths and find ways for them to leverage these at work.
Advertising agencies have one of the highest turnover rates at around 30 percent. This creates significant costs for companies, which can spend tens of thousands of dollars on hiring, training, efficiency, as well as cultural impacts.
Seer’s high percentage of engaged employees has led to a low turnover rate (around 15 percent) and high employee satisfaction. We have been ranked one of the top places to work for the last several years in both Philadelphia and San Diego.
We surveyed employees at Seer who have transitioned into a custom career path and found that their desire to work at Seer is higher because they are more engaged in their new roles and trust Seer’s leadership.
Kati P., who now has a dual role between business development and SEO after having a career conversation with Seer said : “I trust that Seer has my best interests at heart and I’m honest with them about any new professional development goals. I’d rather work out an arrangement with Seer before I look elsewhere.”
Although not every conversation leads to a new role or position, encouraging that dialogue and creating new roles when there is a strong business case can improve both trust and engagement, thus improving retention.
Eric S. who recently began a dual role in Marketing & SEO said,“It instilled a lot of trust and raised my satisfaction level for everything else I am working on.”
Engaging Employees & Increasing Revenue
Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 to $550 billion per year. Disengaged employees are more likely to coast through the day, passing hours as opposed to being inspired to leverage their strengths and accomplish goals.
The best way to engage employees is by identifying their strengths and finding ways to highlight these in their work. Encouraging custom career paths is one way companies can increase employee engagement.
Successful pitches include research on what the role will contain, how this will be accomplished, the company goals it contributes to, and how it will be measured. Once the role has been approved, employees know exactly what they are accountable for and are excited to pursue their goals. They are engaged and know how the new position will positively affect their career trajectory.
Increased Creativity & Innovation
When strategies are built to accomplish company goals, we are limited to the creativity and experiences of the Leadership Team.
With small teams it is easier for leadership to collaborate with team members on how to accomplish company goals. Team members are able to bring their experience and knowledge to contribute to the goals in a way leadership hadn’t proposed. This is how innovation is born.
As teams become larger it is harder to work with individual members to see how they would accomplish goals. Collaboration and innovation is more challenging as broad goals are put on team members. Although this can be successful, it is harder to lead to innovation.
Team members are rarely asked if they can think of any other ways that could better accomplish company goals. Custom career paths are a channel for innovation and allow all levels of team members to ask, “How can we be doing what we’re doing better?” They find a way to solve this question and then are excited to do it.
Seer Success Stories
This has been successful for Seer in a variety of roles. An Innovation Department was created based on Ethan L.’s interest and experience in automation. He expressed that, “My role is to create new revenue growth opportunities to accelerate existing growth through automation.” He’s working with multiple departments at Seer to improve efficiencies and save team members time through automated reporting, strategies, and deliverables.
Kati P., through her dual role in Business Development and SEO shared that, “As a result of this involvement, I’ve assisted BD with $1.3 million in sales to help them on the way to their $8.4 million goal. Instead of creating proposals BD is now able to spend more time qualifying candidates and creating SOWs. In addition, the way we go to market is standardized.”
My personal role is building the eCommerce SEO Department at Seer, developing new strategies and tactics to better serve this specific clientele. Within the first few months of the initiative we’ve been able to implement knowledge sharing to the team, create best practice documents on a variety of deliverables, and integrate on current client accounts to more efficiently reach goals.
So Now What?
Encouraging custom career paths, is a great method of increasing engagement, retention, and revenue for your company.
It inspires employees, generates innovation, and helps employees feel accountable towards their progress on company goals.
At Seer we’re interested in helping both companies and employees be more productive and more inspired, so we are creating a three part series.
In Part II we will outline how companies can encourage custom career paths and in Part III we’ll help employees who are interested in developing a successful pitch for a custom role.