4 Reasons Employees See a Bleak Career Path and Quit People won't look for another employer if they are confident they can work their way to a better job where they are.

By Heather R. Huhman

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Mark can't help but whistle a little as he waits for his top-performing employee, Josh, to come into his office. Although Josh has only been with the company 18 months, he's already come up with several productive ideas that made a big impact on the company's success. Mark knows there are big things in store for this young man. He plans to promote him within the next six months.

But then Josh enters his office and hands Mark his resignation letter. He's found a new job with better opportunities for advancement. Mark is shocked -- he thought he was already offering Josh what he needed.

Unfortunately, this disconnect is not uncommon. A 2015 Saba survey of 1,000 HR professionals and 1,000 employees in the U.S. and the U.K. found that while 60 percent of HR leaders believe their companies provide clear career paths, only 36 percent of employees agree.

To make matters worse, 41 percent of employee respondents said they would leave their current company for better career options. To keep that from happening, organizations need to take a new look at how they communicate opportunities to their employees.

Here are four reasons employers and employees aren't on the same page about career paths and how to fix the issue:

1. Career paths are not a discussion.

In a 2015 SHRM survey of 600 employees, 83 percent of employees said career advancement was important or very important to them, but only 20 percent were very satisfied with how their company was addressing their ambitions.

It's easy for employers to have one idea of what employees want for their future and for employers to have a completely different vision. The simplest way to resolve this issue is through communication.

By asking employees how they'd like to develop, employers can understand and track each individual's goals. Performance reviews offer a perfect time to have this discussion. Since employees are already getting feedback on how they are doing, the next logical topic is their potential and how they can grow.

Also, look at how employees are progressing with their own career goals. This makes all parties aware of what an employee's career path is and where she or he is currently.

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2. Training focused only on the current position.

Employee training is a powerful factor in retention. The 2015 InterCall survey of more than 200 employees found that two out of three employees consider the training they receive when deciding whether to stay with their employer.

However, in most cases, training is focused on giving employees the tools they need for their current job, not their future one. Providing training and guidance prepares employees for the next step on their career path.

Make leadership training available to every interested employees, regardless if they currently hold a leadership position. Foster mentorships between upper-level employees and employees who want to follow a similar career trajectory. Mentors can give personalized advice on what it takes to accomplish goals specific to that position and duties.

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3. Performance management isn't data-driven.

When reviewing employees, many companies rely on what managers see and how they interpret performance. The number of people a manager supervises might make it unreasonable to think that is a complete picture of how each person is doing.

By incorporating new technologies, companies can continually analyze employees' performance at a deeper level. Yet Analytics offers a platform that gives decision-makers all the information they need about multiple facets of the company. One core part of their framework tracks employee performance in real-time. It then identifies what skills or tasks employees have a greater aptitude for so their position can be aligned with these strengths.

Adding data-driven performance reports allows employers to see which employees are exceeding expectations and recognize what other talents they can offer the company.

4. Recruiting is done outside the organization.

Employers are facing two intertwined workforce problems -- attracting talent and retaining it. Yet, instead of looking internally for candidates, recruiters are focusing on finding employees outside of the organization.

The 2016 Global Recruiting Trends report by LinkedIn surveyed more than 3,800 talent acquisition professionals. Only 12 percent said internal hiring was a priority of their recruiting strategy. How can employees see a clear future with a company if that company isn't committed to promoting from within?

Companies are wasting resources when they compete for new hires with no loyalty to their organization instead of acknowledging their own employees with training and promotions. By focusing on their current workforce, employers can fill their employment needs, improve employee retention and give employees visible examples that there are career opportunities available.

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Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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