Several factors contribute to an employee’s overall feeling of satisfaction (or lack thereof) within a particular role. As you could probably guess, salary and workplace culture are two of the big ones. What’s more surprising, however, is that a large portion of employees place a greater value on opportunities for advancement than they do on the atmosphere of their workplace or the size of their paycheck. The upshot of this is that it’s up to us as employers to create clear and attainable career paths for our employees. In doing so, we will be creating a much more harmonious and resilient workforce.
What Does This Look Like In Practice?
It’s one thing to say that we’re going to give our employees more opportunities for advancement. It’s another, far more complicated thing to make those opportunities a reality. But it’s not impossible. With some careful planning and commitment, employers can create pathways of upward mobility that will benefit both individual employees as well as the workplace as a whole.
Here’s how you can start to provide clear career paths to your employees in three simple steps:
Step One: Create “Upward Mobility Roadmaps”
These should be detailed but straightforward diagrams outlining the trajectory of advancement through your organization. In other words, these charts should illustrate clearly to each employee where they’re currently situated within the organizational hierarchy, and what each of their successive steps up the career ladder will look like (intern, to associate, to executive, to VP, etc.). Once finished, you should have a diagram resembling a family tree or a step-ladder which you can share with your HR team.
Step Two: Specify the Prerequisites of Each Position
For our employees to be able to formulate their own career goals, it’s essential for us as managers to provide them with a clear picture of what, precisely, they should aspire to. For instance, imagine that you have an employee who’s currently in the assistant manager phase of the roadmap, and who’s aspiring for the manager position. In this case, this employee must have an understanding of the specific skills and qualifications that he or she will need before being able to assume the role of a manager. As managers, it’s our responsibility to define those prerequisite attributes and to make them known to our employees. In this way, we will be providing them with the necessary tools, inspiration, and know-how that they will need to begin climbing the ladder of success.
Step Three: Obtain Regular Feedback
Opportunities for advancement can lead to increased employee retention and satisfaction, but it’s not something that will happen overnight. It requires careful and deliberate communication with our employees to understand if their needs are being met, and where there might be room for improvement. This can be achieved through a simple company-wide survey. Ask your employees: do they feel that they have legitimate opportunities for growth within the company? Do they feel equipped with the knowledge and resources to be able to attain their goals? If not, what might you provide them with that they currently do not have access to? In this way, you’ll be able to make career advancement a collaborative process between you and your employees.
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