How to Create A Career Path And Retain Your Top Employees in 2022

Business Management
Josh Plotnek December 29, 2021 10 min read

Retaining employees is hard, and hiring new employees is super expensive. So how do you solve these two issues? By creating a solid career path for your promising employees. Here’s everything you need to know.

worker given a clear career path

Quick Guide

    The biggest way to lose both time and money in your business? New employee hiring and onboarding. 

    That’s because you never know how long the hiring or training process is going to take, and even once you’ve successfully managed both, it’s anybody’s guess how long it’ll take for that employee to perform effectively (cost and time-effectively, that is). 

    The easiest way to save yourself this time and effort is to retain your existing employees. And the best way to do that is by developing a career path framework so that employees feel like they are moving forward in their careers, all under your company’s roof.  

    What Is A Career Path?

    Employees should feel like they have direction and a promising future, and it’s up to employers to give that to them with the right career path. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear how small businesses can create a career path for employees to follow. 

    But there are ways to make that happen so that your employees become long-term team members, strengthening your business and saving money in the process.

    The first question that businesses need to ask themselves is this: what is a career path? 

    The simple answer is that it’s a sequence of jobs within the same company that enables employees to remain in the company (rather than seeking outside opportunities), while also attaining their short-term and long-term career goals

    Career pathing doesn’t give employees a job, but rather a future to focus on. Ideally, the skills developed in one role will help prepare employees for jobs that they’ll have further down the path.

    reasons for changing career path infographic

    The Types Of Career Paths

    The most common misconception about career paths is that they’re not always a straight path. They don’t always allow an employee to climb the ladder one step at a time until they’re at the top of the company. 

    • Sometimes, it’s more about providing an employee the experience and skills that they’ll need later. 
    • At times, employees may request a job within the company that has less stress and fewer responsibilities because that’s what they need at that point in their life.
    • It’s also important to recognize that not everybody’s career path at a particular company will be the same. Their journey may vary based on career goals and how they want to balance their career and personal life
    • It could also depend on a person’s background and education, as well as the type of skills they’ve developed along the way. Of course, the particular industry a person works in will also determine their career path definition.

    Career Path Examples

    There are many different career path examples, which massively vary depending on the industry you’re working in. It’s worth noting that some career paths consist of jobs that move employees up the ladder and need to be followed in a specific order, while others have more of a pragmatic path.

    Here are some career path examples:

    • Retail: Retail sales assistant – Assistant manager – Department manager – Store manager – Regional manager
    • Engineering: Junior engineer – Senior engineer – Project manager – Engineering consultant
    • Education: Teacher – Curriculum coordinator – Assistant principal – Principal
    • Customer service: Customer service rep – Inside salesperson – Outside salesperson – Major 
    • Human Resources: HR assistant – Benefits assistant – Benefits specialist – Assistant HR director – HR director

    But what’s the value to you, as an employer, of developing a career path framework for your employees?

    The Benefits Of Developing A Career Path Framework

    As mentioned, there are several benefits for employers that offer their employees a clear, defined career path to follow. 

    By this point, you should have a better understanding of what a career path is and some classic examples. But where does one start when it comes to developing a career path framework? 

    How To Develop A Career Path

    Career path and employee retention Connecteam
    Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

    The obvious caveat is that it’s not easy developing a career path framework. It’s not necessarily something that a company can whip up one afternoon and put in place for years to come. 

    For both employees and employers to get the full range of benefits from career pathing, there need to be clear steps taken to make sure the career path is organized, sensible, and set up to succeed in the long run.

    Create/Update An Organizational Chart

    It starts with creating an organizational chart that shows all of the jobs inside your company and how they are structured. Is there a hierarchy of jobs and opportunities for advancement? 

    Also, it’s vital to consider the company’s long-term plans when looking at the organizational chart. Is it possible that there will be new jobs created as the business grows for existing employees to take?

    Create Clear Job Descriptions

    The next step is to write clear job descriptions for every position on the organizational chart. What are the educational requirements and practical skills necessary for each position? This will be key in figuring out if lower-level employees in one position might have the qualifications to take on another at some point. 

    At the same time, create a list of the skills that employees should be developing in a particular position. Of course, this is good to have for other reasons, but it’ll also be critical in creating a career path.

    Identify Training Needs

    One overlooked part of career pathing is determining the company’s training needs (this refers to ongoing training, but also employee onboarding too). Employees may not develop every skill they need just from performing lower-level jobs. 

    Giving employees a career path to follow sometimes means providing training that they’ll need for future roles. This means taking a close look at the necessary skills for jobs further along the career path and determining if current employees will need additional training to fulfill those jobs one day. 

    It also doesn’t hurt to ask employees for feedback on the type of training they think they need to further advance their careers or feel comfortable in other jobs within the company.

    Document Your Career Path Program

    Documenting everything is another key part of developing a career path framework. From the organizational chart to the job profiles to the training programs offered, everything should be well-documented. 

    This information needs to be available to employees upon request so that they can see where there are opportunities to move into other jobs on their career path. 

    Equally important, they need to understand the skills they’ll need to fill those jobs and how they can prepare themselves for those positions. This transparency is vital in making it clear that there is a career path for employees to follow if that’s what they want to do. 

    Remember, your employees will likely want to communicate about their career path, and any documentation shared. Having an open, easy way for them to communicate with relevant stakeholders (such as managers, or anyone designated in an HR role) about their questions and concerns, is very important. 

    Map Out Each Employee’s Career Path

    Finally, employers need to map out specific career paths for employees to follow. Meet with existing employees and new hires to talk about their specific career goals and how those goals match up with the organizational chart that details every job in the company. 

    Based on the goals of every employee, create a map for each one that includes the jobs that might want to have one day and what they need to do to make that happen. This will give them a clear path to follow and make them excited to spend their career with the same company and help that business succeed.

    Connecteam: Automate and Upscale Your Employee Career Path Training

    The best way to create and deliver your career path in a stress-free, collaborative way with employees is with software like Connecteam. 

    Not only is it tailor-made for employee training (even remote employee onboarding and training!) but it has a whole host of other features to help you with your other areas of employee and business management: . 

    • Create forms and checklists, meaning you can create checklists that employees can use to track their career path trajectory, or even just for everyday needs. 
    • Put responsibility for your employee timekeeping into their hands, with the intuitive time tracker on your employees’ smartphones (it even has the ability to geofence the location to click in and out from, and GPS tracking while clocked in, so you never need worry about where your employees are and if they’re stealing time).
    • Make communication completely transparent, with the ability to chat 1:1, in a  group or even update the entire company in a social-style wall post (with tracking features, to see who’s read your update – or not!). 

    Because, your employees aren’t just looking for career path opportunities: they’re looking to work in an environment where they’re cared about, can be trusted and take ownership, as well as feel rewarded for a job well done. Connecteam’s employee management features will do all this, and more (and why it’s loved by 20,000+ businesses, just like yours!). 

    Best yet, it has a forever-free plan, (and a 14-day free trial of all paid plans), and you can be up and running with it in under 2 minutes flat. 

    Connecteam: Manage and execute your employees’ career path effectively

    Loved by 20,000+ business just like yours! 14-day free trial, no credit card required!

    Learn More

    The Bottom Line On Developing A Career Path Framework

    Your employees want to know they’re getting somewhere in your organization; you want to retain the best employees for the long-term. Designing employee career paths is a win-win situation! 

    But, just as having a plan in place is important, the details are in the execution: get your employees on the right career path trajectory with the correct software, and watch as your employees delegate and tackle ownership of their own career path management to themselves. 

    Employee training with Connecteam

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