There’s a novel trend surfacing in the business world, one that’s centered on an employee’s future at a company.
Even if most managers ignore career advancement opportunities, more and more professionals have started thinking about building customized career paths for their employees.
Should YOU invest in your workers’ career development?
You can find the answer to this question in this piece, as it focuses on:
- What career paths are
- How companies benefit from them
- How to create excellent career plans
Let’s see together what the fuss is all about.
What Is a Career Path?
A career path is a long-term plan employees follow to move up through the ranks of a company.
You can imagine it as a timeline with long- and short-term objectives that employees fulfill to reach their desired outcome.
Or you can think of it as a mapped route that takes employees from a lower-level position through multiple advanced roles until they find their dream job, be it project manager, office manager, or another role altogether.
This structured approach helps employees better visualize their professional development by seeing each milestone they need to achieve and which new skills they need for each promotion.
As a result, creating employee career paths:
- Lowers turnover rates
- Increases employee satisfaction
- Decreases employee onboarding and training costs
Since you have employees with unique personality types, each path has personalized goals and skills. This also shows employees that HR managers care about their success and accomplishments.
But is it really so great? Stay with us to discover the benefits.
How Can Creating Career Paths for Employees Benefit Your Company?
According to a LinkedIn Workplace report, 94% of employees say they’d stay longer at a company if it invested in their careers.
That’s why creating stellar career opportunities is beneficial for both your company and your employees.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages.
Attract and retain top employees
After a certain amount of time, your employees will know the ins and outs of their job responsibilities, leaving little room for improvement. At this point, they’re most likely ready for a promotion.
However, if you don’t offer challenging work or a reward for their efforts, chances are your employees will search for advancement opportunities elsewhere.
During the job search process, employees need to know that there are different types of career paths they can take at your company, to boost their motivation.
As a result, they’ll feel more driven to apply because it shows that you value their progress in the long term.
Boost employee performance
Employee engagement measures how engaged an employee is with their work and how they feel about their job.
If you have disengaged employees, it often leads to lower morale, which can directly impact your company’s overall performance.
One sure way to boost employee engagement is to have a clear career path. A study by Gallup has shown that motivated, ‘hands-on’ employees are more productive.
So, by allowing employees to achieve milestones and move up the career ladder, you keep them engaged and drive them to improve their skills and deliver quality work.
Hey! Want to create tight-knit teams?
Then sneak a peek at our list of fun team-building activities that boost company culture and help build more connected teams.
Grow your business
A company’s greatest asset is its employees and most successful companies know that.
That’s why so many organizations that want to grow emphasize valuing their staff and retaining top talent. However, it’s hard to hire brilliant workers since it takes a lot of resources, time, and money.
Aside from providing good pay or satisfying benefits, businesses need to invest in career paths and adopt an employee-centric culture that reaps benefits in the long term.
By doing so, you can effectively hold onto your top employees and create a happier workforce.
Now that you know the importance of career paths, it’s time to start building your own.
Follow us in the next section to find out how to achieve that.
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How to Create Career Paths for Employees
With these six simple tips, you’re ready to create amazing career paths for your employees.
Identify your company’s needs
The first thing you need to determine is your company’s needs. To help you out, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What’s the company’s plan for the next few years?
- Are there any skill sets you need to develop?
- How do you handle employee turnover and onboarding?
- What should the organizational chart look like?
After establishing the right parameters, you can start developing individual roadmaps that align career paths with the company’s needs.
Author’s Tip: Provide employees with charts that show the hierarchy of relevant company roles to help them identify different career paths, especially if they want to explore new positions.
Create roadmaps for each job position
This step requires you to look at the bigger picture as you need to create multiple individualized roadmaps for each team, department, or business function.
For this, you might need to answer a few questions:
- What horizontal or lateral moves are necessary?
- How can you accommodate different personalities?
- How does an employee advance through the company?
For example, let’s take a look at the HR assistant job. As entry-level employees advance through the role, they might work as a recruiter, executive assistant, and assistant director of human resources before reaching their desired goal.
Understand your employees’ career goals
You must understand your employees’ career goals before building the right career path.
And it all starts with the onboarding process.
Employees who go through successful onboarding are 3.5x more likely to describe their experience as exceptional, which in turn increases employee engagement.
So, what can you do?
During the onboarding process, ask interview questions that invite employees to self-assess themselves. This way, you gain a deeper knowledge of their gaps, strengths, and improvement areas.
Author’s Tip: Work one-on-one with your employees to build a customized career roadmap representing how they’ll move up in seniority once they hit a specific milestone.
Determine training needs
If a business fails to train employees effectively, many people will choose to leave their job due to the lack of progression.
That’s why training is one of the most common challenges HR departments face.
So, after figuring out your employees’ career goals, think about whether you can offer the necessary training to make their dreams come true.
In addition, you also need to evaluate their knowledge, skills, and abilities to decide the learning path they need to take, and you need to know their preferred learning method.
You can document this through surveys or conducting assessments and by asking the right questions:
- Can your employees advance with your resources?
- Do you provide continuous education?
- Is mentorship a part of your corporate culture?
- What type of training do employees want?
Once you’ve checked all the boxes, give workers the resources they need to support their progress.
Design personalized development programs
Welcome to the actionable part of your career path development, where you need to create a timeline and examples of career paths, ready for implementation.
This part will require most of your time, especially if you didn’t invest heavily in training.
And since this step generally doesn’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach, here are some key elements for creating personalized learning and development programs:
- Transformation: Inspire employees to work on their personal goals.
- Technology: Let employees choose how they learn.
- Measurement: Ensure employees reach their goals while keeping them on the right track.
Measure employee performance
Your career plan should incorporate one-on-one meetings that you can follow through by sitting down with your employees and discussing their performance.
During the session, don’t discipline your employees for failing to meet goals. Instead, praise them for their progress, but also provide guidance and resources if they’re falling behind.
In addition, ask which challenges are keeping them from meeting milestones, since you might need to adjust goals and deadlines to meet their skill level.
Focus on strategies to help them improve their performance so they’re able to reach goals the next time you talk.
Author’s Tip: If your employees have successfully completed their objectives, why not celebrate with a fun corporate event?
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Now Over to You
A career path impacts your employees’ satisfaction and turnover rate.
Once you’ve established their roadmaps, it’s easier to get higher ROI and productivity rates.
However, remember to encourage a healthy work-life balance!
While hard work is essential for advancing in a company’s ranks, employees need to keep their brains and bodies healthy by taking regular breaks.
Want to explore other useful HR terms? Check out our HR glossary for more information.