How To Support Career Growth for Remote Employees

Working Remotely

Using these 7 tips to support career development in a virtual environment will elevate your remote workforce to new heights:

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Why should your organization learn how to support career growth for remote employees?

Because career development elevates the skill set of your entire remote team. Your employees will have the talent to drive more revenue, boost innovation, improve efficiency, raise engagement scores, and more. The return on your investment could be astounding.

Second, investing in your employees’ personal and professional development breeds loyalty. Research reveals that 93% of employees choose to stay with a company if it invests in their careers [*].

And finally, when you make supporting your employees’ career growth part of your company culture, you’ll attract tons of driven, motivated candidates to apply for your remote jobs. Your recruiting metrics will soar, as surveys show [*]:

  • 76% of employees prefer companies that offer additional skills training to their staff.

  • 61% of adults in the US seek career development opportunities when considering new jobs. 

  • 70% of employees would leave their current job to work for an organization that invests in employee development and learning.

The benefits of supporting your employees’ career advancement are way too good to put on the back burner. So let’s talk about:

How To Support Career Growth for Remote Employees

Employees know working remotely is good for career building. But 74% of employees feel they aren’t reaching their full potential at work due to a lack of development opportunities [*].

That’s why over 70% of employees feel they’ll be forced to leave their current employer to advance their careers [*].

Good thing we have your back. If you follow this checklist, you’ll ensure your remote teams have everything they need to become their best selves (and contribute more of their invaluable talent to your organization):

1. Make Learning Part of Your Company Culture

The company creed for the remote team at Automattic says, “I will never stop learning.” And they’re one of the top remote companies posting on We Work Remotely, snagging thousands of applicants for their positions around the globe.

So your first step to prioritizing career development is to build a strong culture for your remote teams around learning. 

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Explain the traits you value — curiosity, an insatiable desire to innovate, self-improvement, etc. — and you’ll attract lifelong learners and encourage these pursuits in your existing team.

Stats show retention rates rise as much as 50% for companies with strong learning cultures [*]. Candidates looking for this type of value alignment will also boost your application rates.

🌟 Psst! Stand out as a remote company and update your WWR company profile to include your new learning culture. Then sit back as top talent flocks to your job ads.

2. Outline a Clear Career Path for Each Remote Role

Candidates should have an idea of what their potential future with your organization looks like before they even apply. That’s why we recommend drafting a career path for each position and adding it to your remote job ads.

After all, no one wants to do the same thing every day for the rest of their lives. And over 40% of employees say an organization’s career advancement opportunities are very important for their job satisfaction [*]. 

So this roadmap gives them the next exciting destination to strive for.

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When creating a career path, make sure to include everything an employee needs to make it to the next level, such as:

  • Necessary certifications or degrees
  • Training courses
  • Demonstrated skill sets
  • Years of experience
  • Performance review evaluations in a specific area

Whether the natural next steps involve a promotion to management, lateral shifts to different departments, or opportunities to train others, your team should provide the tools and material to help employees get there.

3. Invest In Learning Opportunities

According to Gartner, 70% of employees don’t believe they’ve mastered the skills they need for their current jobs, let alone those they need to level up [*]. 

If you’re not ready to try “hands-on” training in the metaverse, employer-sponsored learning opportunities are one of the best company benefits employees value.

Consider continuing education options like:

  • Discounts for online courses and classes
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Student loan forgiveness 
  • Stipends for certifications or industry licenses 
  • Virtual in-house workshops, webinars, and seminars
  • Coverage for professional organization dues
  • Coordinated lunch-and-learn sessions
  • Virtual career coaching 
  • Stipends for books, learning subscriptions, online memberships

Encourage employees to actually use your educational perks. If they’re too swamped with their workload, they won’t have the time or brainpower to pick up new skills. So devote specific days to learning during the month to ensure it’s a priority. 

Bonus: Providing virtual learning opportunities has been shown to increase retention rates by as much as 60% [*].

4. Play Musical Chairs with Related Roles

Humans thrive on the unexpected, and job rotation is an effective way to shake things up and add variety to your employees’ same ol’ work routines. To make this work:

Use job shadowing for employees in the same department. Employees can follow a team leader for a day to understand their work duties better. This may provide more insight into how they can do their jobs more efficiently. They’ll also see what’s involved in a role at the next level.

Cross-train employees in related departments. To add different-yet-related skills to an employee’s toolkit, see if they want to jump into another department for a day.

For example, a graphic designer could learn a lot about increasing on-site conversions if they spent time with the web development or marketing teams. 

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These options empower your employees to upskill, appreciate their colleagues’ contributions, and gain insight into how your business functions overall. It also builds more team camaraderie, especially for remote employees who typically work solo or in their own department silos. 

5. Encourage Mentorships

Most employees enjoy being challenged and having a mentor to guide and hold them accountable for reaching their goals. So think about asking your employees if they’d like to volunteer for mentorship roles (either as a mentor or mentee). 

Mentor pairs should be encouraged to meet regularly over the course of a few months or a year, share feedback, and feel supported. Then you can switch up mentor pairs after this agreed-on period.

Manager Mentorships Encourage Leadership & Advancement 

New employees in manager roles should strengthen their leadership skills. So mentoring is one of the best ways to develop the coaching skills and emotional intelligence they’ll need in their position. 

Further, leaders may not know their employees’ career aspirations and expectations. Through one-on-one mentoring sessions, managers can ask their employees where they envision themselves in the next year, five years, 10 years, etc. They can learn more about their employees’ interests and discuss which roles they may be suited for with additional experience, certifications, or training. 

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Managers can also use mentorship opportunities to help HR teams with succession planning. They’ll be able to spot high-potential employees and train them for future leadership roles. 

Coworker Mentorships Assist with Team-Building & Engagement

Coworker mentorships are just as beneficial as those with managers, though they’re much less common. These may include:

Junior/Senior mentorships. Junior employees can pick up insights about the company and receive professional guidance from senior mentors. This fast-track experience may allow them to hit the ground running shortly after they’re hired.

Senior employees also benefit from this mentorship. They’re likely to learn new technology or processes from recent grads and be inspired by their fresh perspectives.

Cross-department coworker mentorships. Coworkers from different departments can engage in knowledge-sharing, team-building activities, and become learning buddies. They may attend remote conferences together that aren’t job-specific (such as a class on effective remote collaboration). They’ll bond and motivate each other to improve.

6. Prioritize Consistent, Real-Time Feedback

One of the best practices for managing remote teams is providing real-time feedback. Leaving a comment in your project manager for an employee as soon as they submit a deliverable is much more valuable than one that comes in two weeks later.

Let your employees know what they’ve done right, what you’d like them to do differently, or share resources to help them do better next time. They’ll be able to learn from your feedback while the task is fresh in their minds to prevent making the same mistakes.

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Leaders should also consistently check in with their employees as they work on their goals. Let them know what tasks they’re crushing and where they’re stumbling. Give them direction to help them improve and motivate them to keep up the solid effort.

Employees pursuing professional development need recognition and encouragement. A simple Slack message may be all it takes to inspire them to reach their potential.

Provide a Safe Space for Employee Feedback

Send anonymous employee surveys to gather feedback about how your company’s handling career development. Ask them what’s paying off or should be improved. See if they’d rather use a different online learning platform or switch mentors more frequently, for example.

When employees feel more in control of their learning, they’ll be more engaged (rather than feeling forced into more work).

7. Reward Employees for Achievements

Everyone wins when your employees learn new skills that help drive revenue, improve efficiencies, lower turnover, etc. So use some of that “bonus” profit to reward your employees for leveling up your workforce.

After all, you don’t want your top talent to take their newfound skills elsewhere, right? 

Don’t assume your employees know how much their skills contribute to your mission. Use employee recognition software to show them how much you value and appreciate their hard work.

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This type of software rewards employees for achieving milestones with badges they can proudly display, real-world prizes like gift certificates, or company perks like an extra day off. The gamification element makes taking career development strides as much fun as playing their favorite video game.

Regular recognition goes a long way to retain remote talent. And rewards increase motivation to expand responsibilities and advance within your organization. 

Need More Skilled Remote Candidates?

The top remote talent is looking for organizations that will help them develop their personal and professional skills and advance in their careers. And now your team knows how to do just that.

So if you’re striving for a better workforce, there’s nowhere better to post your remote jobs than We Work Remotely. WWR is the largest remote work community in the world and snags over 4.5M visitors ready to apply for your roles ASAP.

🍰 We even make the process of posting your opportunities a piece of cake. You can use our free remote job ad template to create a listing that sells today

Any company invested in its remote employees will do well with our crowd 😎

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