Creating a Career Path for Small Business Employees

January 11, 2017 Pete Jansons


Taking decisions for the future man standing with three direction arrow choices, left, right or move forward

While many people love working for small businesses for the ability to be part of a close-knit team, perform a multitude of tasks, and know your efforts are integral to company success. The ability to move up in a small business, however, can be hard, as there isn’t always a place to go. Small business owners who fail to address this reality risk losing talented workers.

While a traditional upward ladder may not be possible, plenty of possibilities exist to forge satisfying career paths at small businesses. Help your employees envision their future with your company using these tips:

Talk about goals

A limited-size staff allows a manager to know his or her employees well. Regularly ask individuals about their aspirations. They’ll appreciate your interest, and you’ll gain insight as to what measures may help with retention. Write thoughts out so both of you can reference and monitor plans and create a career path from there.

Part of the ongoing conversation also should center on your small business’s goals. Sharing a vision reminds workers that exciting new opportunities may arise down the line. Figure out positions you anticipate fulfilling in the future, and begin to determine how current staff might grow into those roles. This action not only supports employee engagement, it sets up your small business to have promising internal talent as the company expands.

Redefine advancement

Not every career path means a straight climb from one level to the next. People who choose to work at a small business often do so because they love the chance to wear many different hats. Increasingly involve top performers in different aspects of the company. They’ll learn additional skills, take on more responsibility and thrive on new challenges.

Encourage role crafting

Lastly, show your small business staff how the lack of a clear career path for promotion can be to their advantage. Without formal “rules,” ambition and interest can be greater determinants for advancement than specific educational attainment or years of experience. Likewise, neither management nor employees must be bound by preset job descriptions. Instead, everyone can really consider how an individual can best contribute to the company.

As employees come to you with ideas on how to form their career path at your small business, support their efforts with concrete measures. Budget time for them to work on pet projects. Pay for memberships to professional associations. Invest in specialized training. Your commitment to their development builds loyalty as well as a multi-talented staff capable of taking your small business to new heights.



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