Career pathing for high-potential employees

Career pathing for high-potential employees

Hiring a new employee can be costly, which is fine if your company is adding staff because it's expanding. But hiring a new employee because someone left a job at your company for a better one is never good. Unsatisfied employees can cause a chain reaction within an organization, creating a poor working environment that makes for high turnover. One way to ensure that your employees stay with your company longer is to put a career pathing plan in place that lets employees know exactly how your company will help them succeed and grow with the organization.

What is career pathing?

Career pathing is a strategy businesses can use to help them retain their high-potential employees. It requires managers and hiring personnel to develop career paths within their organizations to show employees how different paths can lead them to various roles at the company. A solid career pathing plan isn't just a ladder that employees climb to get to a higher-paying or more prestigious position. Rather, it's a guide to where they can go in your organization and what they need to do to get there. It should include the steps needed to achieve the desired outcome.

For example, a new hire may start at the lowest position in the company knowing they want to become a manager or evolve into a leadership role. They just don't know how to get there yet. If your organization has a plan and can guide the new hire in the right direction, they could stay with your company for years to come. 

Their path won't necessarily be the same as one another employee takes to reach the same level. Each person's path will vary, but having a map of all the options lets employees know how they can reach their career goals and that you want to help them get there.

Why is career pathing for high-potential employees important?

When you have employees who show potential, you don't want to lose them. That's why focusing on career pathing is important. Giving your employees access to the tools they need to advance and continue to feel challenged in their roles means letting them choose how they want their roles in the company to look. Career pathing involves training, cross-training, advancement opportunities, and lateral movement. Your employees may want to explore a variety of roles at the company before they find the one that suits them. Career pathing gives them many avenues to take while providing them with knowledge and experience.

"A solid career pathing plan isn't just a ladder that employees climb to get to a higher-paying or more prestigious position."

What are career pathing examples?

To further illustrate career pathing, let's look at some examples. Say two employees start at the same company, on the same day, filling the same entry-level position. Both individuals want to work their way into the finance department doing different roles that are essentially at the same pay grade. Here are two different career paths they could take to end up reaching their goals:

Employee 1

The first employee works in their entry-level role for six months before advancing to join the sales team as a sales representative. They work as a sales representative for two years, during which time they complete various training opportunities offered or provided by the company. Once they have the right knowledge and experience, they become a manager and take over a sales team of their own. After successfully leading the sales team and learning management skills and accounting techniques, this employee moves to the finance department, where they work as the head of accounting.

Employee 2

The second employee works in their entry-level role for one year before they advance to a role as a warehouse manager. They learn how to lead a team for one year, then they take a job as a logistics specialist. This role helps them learn organizational skills and inventory management through training and hands-on experience. This employee spends three years in logistics, finally gaining a role in the finance department as an analyst. 

As you can see, both employees were able to advance to the role they wanted but took different routes to get there. The most important thing with career pathing is to provide individuals with opportunities to move through the company in their own way. Of course, it's also vital that employees understand their options so they can choose the path that works for them.

How to create a career pathing strategy that works

Use the steps to create a career pathing strategy that works for your organization and its employees:

  • Get feedback: The employees at your company are a valuable source of information, so ask them for feedback on their career goals, desire for training, and other information that can help you understand their career plans.
  • Create a list of jobs: Make one list that includes all the current roles at your company and a separate list with roles you foresee needing in the future as the company expands.
  • Work backward: It can help to work backward from higher-level roles to lower-level roles as you construct your guide to how employees can work their way into those jobs because many people are working toward management and leadership positions.
  • Do it in phases: Start by creating a career pathing strategy for one job or department so you don't get overwhelmed. This can help you see ways to improve the plan as you move to other roles and departments within the company.
  • Make it clear: Make sure that your employees know about your career pathing strategy and how they can take advantage of it to grow with your organization.

With the right career pathing strategy, you can make your organization a place where people want to work. Let CareerBuilder help you hire the high-potential employees you need so you can put your career pathing plan into place.

Learn more about making your company a place people want to work:

Knowing why people are seeking a side hustle or second job can help you understand how you can help them thrive at your company.

Upskilling employees can make them want to stay.

Use stay interviews to retain your top talent.

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