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How to Build and Implement Career Paths Your Employees (And Candidates) Will Love

It’s been a tough year for any business looking to hire. Today’s job seekers have had nearly two years to reassess their careers and they have the power to be more selective than ever before when choosing which positions and companies to pursue. As a result, many of you are struggling to not only find talent for your open roles, but also keep top performers around long-term.

So, what does it take to stand out as an employer looking to attract and retain top talent? Among factors like pay and benefits, career growth options consistently rank as a top priority for today’s workers. But unfortunately,  most companies, especially those in the industries hit hardest by the pandemic — like automotive, retail, and hospitality — don’t have career paths built out at all. If you’re a leader or HR manager in one of these industries, you might even think it’s not possible for the type of roles you have at your organization.

But we’re here to tell you that it is possible, and that it’s something you can no longer afford to put off. Take a look at this example to see how an automotive dealership might map out growth paths on both the sales and service side of the business:

Source: Hireology

No matter what industry you operate in or the types of positions you hire for, you can build out career growth options that not only attract applicants for your open roles, but also retain your best employees. Here’s how:

Speak to managers and top performers

Sit down with your managers as well as top performers in your organization to get a sense of where there are opportunities to define new roles and build out more of a structure for each team.

For example, your sales managers might notice a big difference in results and outcomes between your veteran sales folks and those who are newer to the team. And when speaking with those more seasoned folks, you might find that many of them are informally mentoring the newer members. In this case you might want to create two separate roles (a junior sales consultant and a senior consultant), each with different responsibilities, such as formally training and coaching, and a different set of goal KPIs. Not only does it reward the top performers by giving them a higher title and more pay, but it also gives the newer team members something to work toward.

Define an organization chart and job descriptions

Once you’ve spoken with members of each team across your organization you can start to build out a full organizational chart. Your chart should show all of the roles you’ve defined, the hierarchy on each team as it exists today, and lastly, how it might look in the future. This last point is crucial as it demonstrates to your employees that more opportunities will continue to open up as your company grows.

Additionally, for every job level that you’ve defined, make sure you clearly describe the role — including daily responsibilities, required experience and education, necessary skills, and more. With your organizational chart and descriptions in hand, it’s important to then communicate the information widely across the organization so that folks know where they are on the hierarchy and what it would look like for them to advance in their careers.

Make a career path roadmap

Next, build a roadmap for growth for each individual member of your team. Start by defining the time folks are expected to spend in each role and exactly what key performance indicators you’ll be using to define success in the role. For example, maybe a junior sales consultant needs to spend at least two years in that role and exceed targets for a certain percentage of those two years in order to be considered for a promotion to senior sales consultant. 
And finally, hold managers accountable to keeping their team in the know about where they’re headed and what they need to learn and experience in order to continue advancing. This might mean creating more structured performance reviews that happen on a regular basis and are based on the key criteria for advancement. 

Offer career-specific training programs

While it’s good to lay out exactly what folks need to learn and experience in order to grow in their careers, it’s also important to make an effort to help them get there. Offer training and programs that are specific to the skills they need to learn in order to advance in their careers. Maybe you pay for them to attend conferences or take an online course. Or, maybe you provide opportunities for folks to work with a mentor who can help them hone their skills.

Always recognize and celebrate growth

And finally, always celebrate and recognize folks who grow and advance in your organization. This is a great way to show that these career paths hold weight and that these opportunities are real and achievable. As a result, it builds excitement internally and motivates people to continue working toward their career goals.

Nearly every organization is struggling with hiring and retention as we continue to navigate an unprecedented labor shortage. Anything you can do to show job seekers that your company is a great place to work can go a long way. And building out career paths is a really easy and relatively inexpensive way to do just that.

Once you have career paths built out, it’s important to prioritize hiring the right folks to fill your open roles. Schedule a free demo with Hireology today to learn how we can help.

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