Career pathing strategies and tips for creating them
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Is career pathing a new trend?
According to Business Insider, many people left their jobs during the first six months of 2022, and this phenomenon even got its own name: The Great Resignation. Why did so many people decide to change their career strategies or job?
More and more people are thinking about a career change today. For many, the subject they studied at college or university no longer defines their professional life. A former finance major might leave their career as a banker, for instance, to work in marketing or become a DJ.
Back in 2019, LinkedIn pointed out that 94% of employees would stay with their company longer if it invested in their career pathing. Employees who aren’t sure what their next role might be or what skills they need to gain to advance are more likely to become disillusioned with their role and look elsewhere for work.
Employees from various backgrounds can quickly change their career strategies. What is your role as a business leader or HR manager in retaining talents and building job opportunities inside your company? Is linear promotion an effective career strategy? Let’s see.
Career pathing vs the career ladder
Career strategies are different ways to navigate the growth path that leads an employee to a higher position in the company hierarchy over time. These strategies may include a career ladder or career pathing. Let’s see the differences between them.
A career ladder is a system that comprises actions you take after hiring to promote an individual, through experience and education, to positions that include additional responsibility and associated compensation. Such promotion within the organization continues until the individual leaves the company, retires, or reaches a level beyond which there are no further promotion opportunities.
Source: Wall Street Prep
Career pathing provides HR with a detailed plan to develop employees’ skills so workers can smoothly transition into future work roles. Maintaining high employee engagement and improving the employee experience are key to employee retention. In addition, a clear career path provides an understanding of future opportunities, purpose, and a sense of loyalty to the employer.
A career ladder encourages and assists employees in further professional development and rewards them for their commitment to professional growth and excellence within their career.
An individual’s career path is determined by the person’s skills, interests, and career goals. It offers a roadmap for various cross-functional work movements.
Ways of creating career strategies
Employee training, performance appraisal, and internal talent mobility are the most common career strategies. That’s how companies communicate openly with employees about career development within the organization.
Creating a career strategy for the first time can seem complicated, but there is no need to get overwhelmed. Surveying employees or conducting demographic studies of your employee base can provide important insights into employees’ career pain points, concerns, and desires. Here are several practices to plan career strategies in your organization:
- Start with a simple framework and decide how to document it. For example, do you prefer a spreadsheet or a descriptive document? What roles and levels would you like to include? Are there separate paths for managers and their team members
- Start with one job group, then use the same approach for others.
- Create a working group of managers. Choose people who are passionate about work and understand its value.
- Review the compensation plan for the roles you are working on.
- Pilot first, then make final changes and adjustments. This will prevent delays in the deployment of additional edits.
- Identify early indicators of success and ways to gather feedback from everyone who uses your career strategies.
Career pathing strategies
Determine strengths and weaknesses
This career strategy involves finding your employees’ strengths and values and improving the ability of employees to use the skills, knowledge, and values they’ve acquired along the way.
To do this, use the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) model and management tools like smartPeople. They will empower your employees in their career journey. For example, smartPeople will help your managers build an employee skill map, find skills gaps, and access courses to close those gaps.
Another source for learning about skills is the CliftonStrengths assessment, which can be an excellent resource for finding out what your workers like to do and what they are good at. As for values, you need to understand what workers value in their careers, what they are ready to fight for, and what keeps them in your company.
Stretch and experiment
We all win, and we all lose. Sometimes, we find ourselves far outside our comfort zone. While winning feels great, you’ll probably benefit most from experiences that stretch you and your employees.
Don’t be afraid to let employees take on potentially challenging tasks when planning career strategies.
Knowing the risks and benefits gives talent in your organization a chance to try a new job role. Mentor and coach employees, and check their progress.
Use intermediate learning
A worker’s career progression cannot happen by itself. Employees need to learn from both experts and those who have failed. Provide upskilling and development opportunities for workers (e.g., to take employees from design to front-end development). Career strategies for employee development include:
- Providing workers with courses for professional development
- Discussing career development opportunities for work teams
- Uniting groups or members from different departments like SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) with people analytics managers
- Use and practice gained knowledge and skills.
And here’s one more career strategy from HRForecast:
Map employees’ career strategies
Career mapping is one of the most successful career strategies. It helps both employers and employees. A career map provides a blueprint for success and identifies areas of opportunity within the organization. Organizations can set goals and make critical decisions for the company’s betterment by creating a company-wide career map.
Career maps explain the advancement requirements at each stage of an employee’s career. Employees can create their own career maps to determine their own course of development within the organization. Or you, as a business leader, can offer career paths within the company and state the requirements needed so an employee can get from their starting position to their goal.
For example, when an employer identifies an obstacle that may prevent employees from achieving a goal, they might take steps to steer their business in a direction that provides more opportunities. As a result, career maps lead to satisfied and loyal employees.
The Great Resignation put retention at the top of everyone’s and made retention a focus for almost every company. Investing time and energy in developing career strategies promotes internal growth and supports talented employees in the organization.
The key to a successful career is supportive leadership. In addition, good career pathing should facilitate conversations between managers and team members, so employees know what is expected of them in each position at different levels. Contact us to learn how to align your organization’s and employees’ goals strategically.