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Do You Have A Stepping Stone Business?

Woman Stepping Stones to Advancing Career.

The stepping stone business concept is a foundational structure developed within Glint. A broad view of our concept may be rife with misconceptions and conflicting viewpoints. Depending on who you ask, being a stepping stone business is either a terrible situation or an essential part of the growth of millions of employees nationwide. This can be a difficult divide to fathom, at first. However, we are here to help clear the air about stepping stone businesses, their role in the modern job marketplace, and help you determine if you have one.

What Is a Stepping Stone Business?
Perhaps part of the reason people are so confused about a stepping stone business concept is they’re not sure whether it is a positive or negative. This is also something that may not be instantly recognizable when it comes to the employees or even the leadership team at these companies. However, it is vital they understand the role of the business and their responsibility for developing the skills of those around them. The easiest way to define a stepping stone company is any business that has a relatively high turnover of employees and generally doesn’t retain the majority of its staff for a period longer than two years.

At first glance, when a business discovers that it is a stepping stone company, it may seem like a flat negative. However, this is far from the case. In order to explain the potential benefits of being a stepping stone business, though, we need to first get into the nuts and bolts of what causes a business to become a stepping stone company.

What Causes a Stepping Stone Business?
There could be many reasons that your company experiences a high turnover rate of employees. In some cases, it boils down to compensation, like lower wages or a weaker benefits package compared to other companies in the field. However, in other cases, it’s not a problem with your company, but a trait within the people that you are hiring.

For example, some businesses are inherently stepping stone companies by virtue of their niche. Any company that hires a lot of entry-level employees or people working for minimum wage will naturally get a lot of turnover. These include jobs like retail stores or restaurants, where you can see a change in employees on a nearly monthly basis.

When we start moving outside of those niches, the reason why employees may turnover a lot at a company may not be due to the workload or them not enjoying working for you. Work world veterans may remember the time where the paradigm was that a person should settle down at a company for the bulk of their career, and would be well compensated for their loyalty. The mentality of many employees has changed, and they have statistics on their side. Recent research has indicated that employees who change jobs every year or two tend to make a lot more money throughout their life than the traditional “company man.” This change in mentality is shaping employment trends across a variety of industries, as employees look to move simply to increase their earning power.

Embracing a Stepping Stone Role
At first glance, it may come across as frustrating to be in this role, to be developing talent only to lose it. However, being a stepping stone company is not a negative by any stretch of the imagination. By leaning into this role, you can still establish your business as a desirable place to work, even if you are only retaining that talent for a few years. The fact of the matter is that many young professionals entering the workforce want an environment to develop their skills and prepare them for a career job. A strong stepping stone company offers a symbiotic benefit for both parties in this regard.

The benefit for the employees is easy to figure out, a chance to learn in their field and increase their earning potential for the future, but how exactly does the stepping stone business benefit from this? A lot of this is offering perks outside of a higher salary that employees can use as benefits while they are at your company. One such example of this is flex time during the day for employees to adjust their environment as needed to complete tasks on-time and meet companies standards of quality. After all, everyone is unique and may require different work structures in order to succeed. Along with their workload for you, they can also work to improve vital skills for advancing their careers quickly.

Another option that you can pursue is to make education reimbursement funds available to your employees. Many employees who are serious about “job hopping” understand that it may sometimes take additional education or professional development to get there. By working at a place that allows them to have a portion of their education expenses reimbursed, there is a natural motivation to sign on and work well for the duration of those courses.

Note that being a stepping stone company is not limited to small businesses. Larger companies with national or international presences can also offer the perk of relocation. Many younger skilled employees have a natural inclination to travel, and by offering relocation, this is a natural way to set up your company as a premier destination. There are more practical benefits to relocation for an employee. In some cases, an employee may want to work with you to learn, but doesn’t want to be tied down to a specific location. While there is a significant cost associated with relocation, it can do a lot to set you apart from other stepping stone companies.

Leveraging The Benefits Of Being A Stepping Stone Company
In summation, when it comes to leveraging the benefits of a stepping stone company, it helps to put yourself in the mind of an employee. Most of the well-paying jobs in major companies across a wide variety of industries require experience and distinguished performance to get hired. Working at a stepping stone company, with different responsibilities and pace, can provide exactly the experience the employee needs. They may not get all the benefits and pay they want at the time, but they are increasing the chances of getting it later. Also, showing a solid commitment of two years on a resume sends across a strong message to future employers.

In some cases, strong performance at a stepping stone company can also be its own reward. For example, internal advancement is always a possibility for proven employees. Even if they choose to move on, they can still carry some benefits to their new jobs, like working relationships and networking with leaders and coworkers. Generally, stepping stone companies are more likely to offer this than their larger counterparts. Larger, corporate structures, often have a ceiling for growth that requires the person above you to either retire or change jobs for you to continue climbing the corporate ladder.

The right stepping stone business can also surprise you with retention shifts where people don’t want to leave. Additional benefits come from a strong established reputation within your industry where employment is sought after and the business creates an option of growing from a stepping stone to a mountain within their industry.

Have questions or want some help establishing your companies brand culture and perception? Give us a call at 817-616-0320, click here, or leave us a comment below.