When you think about ways to increase engagement and boost retention among high-performing individuals, you likely think about raising those employees’ pay, giving them more vacation time or offering more benefits. Though it may not be the first option you consider, however, career pathing could be one of your strongest engagement and retention tools available.
What is Career Pathing?
Career pathing is the process by which managers help employees chart the course of their careers within the organization. Career pathing helps employees envision their career trajectory and understand the steps necessary to move forward in the organization and reach their professional goals.
Career pathing is especially important with high-performing individuals who want to see their efforts pay off, which will help them stay motivated and engaged in their work. Helping high-performing employees create a career path not only helps them reach their potential, it also benefits the entire organization. Consider the following:
Organizational Benefits of Career Pathing
- It gives you a competitive edge when recruiting. Employees want to work at a company that is willing to invest in their future, and where there is potential to grow. If career pathing is a priority at your company, candidates will take notice and keep your company top of mind when considering their options.
- It increases morale and productivity. When employees know they have something to work toward – that their work will pay off – they are more motivated, more engaged in their work and, as a result, more productive.
- It fosters employee loyalty and lowers turnover. When you create opportunities for your employees, they are more likely to stick around to see those opportunities through.
3 Steps to Developing a Career Path with Employees
Like any worthwhile business venture, creating a career path with your employees is often easier said than done. There are many variables to consider – as you want to ensure the career path aligns with your business’ needs – and each career path must be customized to the individual, based on his or her individual strengths and goals. Follow these steps to create a career path for your high-performing employees.
- Discuss the employee’s career goals. Understanding your employees’ career goals is the first integral step to helping them plan a career path. It will also enable you to align their goals with that of the company’s and explore opportunities to develop these goals within the organization.
- Put the plan in writing. Career pathing can mean a lot of moving parts, so putting everything down in writing will not only help you and your employees keep track of what needs to be accomplished, it will also help keep you both accountable to sticking to that path. Once you have something in writing, revisit this document once a quarter to check-in, gauge progress, address any concerns or obstacles and make any adjustments needed.
- Provide the resources necessary to succeed. Help your employees pursue their career paths with the tools they need to move onward and upward. This might mean setting them up with a mentor, letting them shadow other employees or cross-train. Also, be transparent: Make sure they know about other opportunities within the company and feel free to pursue those. Make room in the budget for employees to take classes, get certifications, attend conferences or join professional associations. Consider creating an internal learning and development program. Do what it takes to help your employees thrive – your business will benefit as a result.