Career path planning with your employees

Career planning session between manager and team member.

Career path planning is essential for the growth and development of employees.

Lack of career path planning can lead to employees feeling stuck in their current roles, which could lead to boredom. Consequently, they may begin seeking more fulfilling opportunities elsewhere. Are you willing to risk losing valuable staff due to a lack of investment in their professional development?

The state of the current labour market tells us how critical it is to retain the people you have. Internal recruiting is a more effective and affordable way to fill a vacancy; it’s cost effective and reduces turnover. Therefore, it is worth your while to consider career path planning for the people in your team.

Career path planning options

Not everyone wants to move up a corporate ladder. Career growth opportunities may look quite different for each member of your team. A marketing manager may want to become more specialised in one area of marketing rather than being a generalist. A customer service person may want to sidestep into sales.

Career path opportunities could include any of the following scenarios.

  1. Vertical move – promotional opportunities into management
  2. Lateral move – a sideways step into a new role with new skill development
  3. Specialisation – becoming an authority or focused in one key area
  4. Job rotation – shifting between jobs or assignments to expose an employee to other roles

Assessing a career path

Sit down with your staff member and discuss their goals and aspirations. Where do they see their career heading? How do they think they could contribute more to the business? Do they have skills they think are being underutilised?

The objective is to find out the direction they want to go so you can create a roadmap of how they might reach their destination. Being able to define the goals of the employee will help you determine what opportunities are available within the business. Opportunities may not be apparent or available immediately. That’s the point of preparing a career path. It will outline the journey, the steps that need to be taken, to reach a desired goal and provide clarity for both you and the employee.

Charting the course

Knowing the aspirations of your staff member is only half of the career path planning equation. Determining if their skills and knowledge align with those aspirations, make up the other half. At this stage you need to prepare a career path assessment document. Ideally, you’ll do this in collaboration with the staff member.

The assessment will include information pertaining to their current position, strengths and weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. It maps critical stages in their journey. It will also give an indication of their skills and where they sit on a scale of current ability versus required ability.

We have prepared a career path assessment template that you and your employee can use to evaluate their existing status. This is the precursor to the complete career path roadmap, which includes the exact steps required to reach the ultimate destination.

Creating the career path roadmap

It doesn’t matter if a career path roadmap is a short-term goal or a long one. They both can have twists and turns and disruptions along the way. Which is why laying out the plan is necessary. It gives you both something to revisit and enables flexibility should circumstances change.

The career path plan takes the information gathered from the career path assessment and outlines the trajectory required for the employee to reach the ultimate destination. It is divided into key categories: current role, desired role, skill development, on the job training, and courses (qualifications). It includes key milestones for each stage. To get you started we have created a career path plan template. It is your career path roadmap to success. We know career planning can be quite fluid so your employee (and you), will need to adapt it to fit your specific situation.

The most consistent contributor to employee satisfaction is employee growth. Employee growth necessitates career path planning. The good news is that career path planning is beneficial to both the employee and you, the employer.

You will have happier, more engaged, and productive staff. You will retain staff for longer and know how to better position people to promote further business growth. The employee has more clarity on their career and future opportunities within the business. They retain job satisfaction, feel valued as an employee, and have increased motivation and commitment to the organisation.


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