Have you ever heard that an organization’s greatest competitive advantage is its employees? Most leaders would agree that organizations strive to hire the right talent but fail to ensure the top talent stays. A key retention strategy organizations should consider is to outline career paths. Why? It’s simple: top performers want to know what opportunities are available and what they must do to get there. If they can’t see an onward or upward path, they’ll look elsewhere.
No matter how flat or layered your organization’s structure is, career paths can be designed in a way that provides employees with a map for their success. Successful career paths start with the following:
- Defining the job levels. The foundation for building career paths is knowing how your jobs group together based on a variety of factors, such as technical or managerial expertise.
- Identifying the path toward growth. Remember not all growth is upward.
- Mapping out the competencies and experiences required of an employee before they can move to that next level.
- Developing and working the individual development plans for each employee.
If you are considering a career path program, ensure that your career paths align with other talent programs, as well as to the organization’s mission, vision, and values to maximize productivity. The key to making career paths an effective tool for your organization is to ensure you discuss employee career paths as soon as you’ve hired your next star and actively work with the employees so they have career advancement opportunities that compel them to stay.