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Career Paths: A Best Practice for Retaining Top Talent

Posted on August 7, 2015
Shelly PriceWritten by Shelly Price | Email author

Why Every Organization Needs Career Paths

As leaders, you probably know that hiring the best talent is often your greatest competitive advantage. After you hire the right talent, how do you convince them to stay? A key retention strategy organizations should consider is to outline career paths. Why? It’s simple: top talent want to know what opportunities are available and what they must do to get there. If they can’t see an onward or upward path, they’ll look elsewhere.

Researchers at Georgetown University conducted a study that predicts the economy will face a shortage of 5 million workers with the necessary education and training by 2020. This prediction has many implications for most workplaces in the United States, but most significantly, it leads to the question of how organizations will continue to find workers with the right skills to fill jobs. One such way organizations are meeting this challenge is to train existing employees to do a number of different tasks, thereby, growing the scope of existing jobs. By doing so, organizations get the skills they need the most, and their employees have career advancement opportunities that compel them to stay. And no matter how layered or flat your organization’s structure is, career paths can be designed in a way that provide employees with a map for their success.

3 Steps to a Successful Career Path

cpl002At Helios, we help leaders take the necessary steps toward defining career paths by:

  1. Defining the job levels. Knowing how your jobs group together based on a variety of factors, such as technical or managerial expertise, is the foundation for building career paths.
  2. Identifying the path toward growth. Will growth take place by moving from one level to another or within the same level? Not all growth is upward, so determining opportunities for growing in place is important.
  3. Mapping out the competencies and experiences required of an employee before they can move to that next level. These details are important and serve as the basis for an individual development plan.

If you are considering a career path program, ensure that your career paths align with other talent programs and processes, as well as to the organization’s mission, vision and values to maximize productivity. Most importantly, discuss employee career opportunities as soon as you’ve hired your next star so that your best employees stay with you now and into the future.

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