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The concept of the “company man” who works for the same organization for his entire career has quickly become as outdated as the Rolodex and the record player. In fact, recent research shows that the longer employees stay at a company, the less money they make. According to Forbes, “Staying employed at the same company for over two years on average is going to make you earn less over your lifetime by about 50 percent or more.” With so many workers changing careers, companies who position their organization as a place that will allow for career development and mobility will have a competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. Here are four ways for companies to embrace their role as stepping stones in their employees' careers:

1. Allow time for personal pursuits. 

Job descriptions don’t always cover everything that a smart and creative employee can bring to the table. To allow for employee innovation, companies like Google make time for their employees to work on their own personal projects for 20 percent of their time. Who knows? One employee's off-the-wall idea may lead to a new product or offering.

2. Give every department an education budget.

Whether you have a marketer who wants to learn computer programming or a sales representative who wants to improve his presentation skills, companies that offer ongoing education opportunities for their employees benefit from the investment. Take ExxonMobil, which offers 100 percent reimbursement for classes and books for full time employees. They even offer flexible work arrangements for employees to carve out a portion of their week to juggle classes and work.

3. List internal-only job opportunities.

Truck and vehicle manufacturing company Oshkosh offers job opportunities that are listed only for internal applicants within the company. They also host a Rotational Engineer Program that gives their engineers the chance to learn multiple skill sets while working in different departments.

4. Create a work-abroad program.

For companies that have international offices or multiple national ones, create a program that enables employees to work from those offices. International companies benefit from having employees who understand the various countries and cultures where they do business. Organizations that have multiple offices, even if they’re domestic, can also benefit from a more cohesive company culture by having employees visit and work from other offices for a period of time. For example, HSBC and Boston Consulting Group have received positive recognition for their internal work-abroad programs.

What does your company do to nurture employee talent internally?

Photo: Can Stock