This article is part of a 4-part series on aligning employee career growth opportunities with organizational talent priorities. Check out the other articles here.
Looking for a new job is like dating. Both the candidate and the organization are putting their best version forward in hopes to attract the other party. And in the war on talent, it’s critical for organizations to have a clear message regarding why someone should want to join their firm.
To appeal to candidates, organizations communicate what makes them special and highlight the advantages of working with them, also known as establishing their employee value proposition. This EVP embodies these intents and turns them into palpable traits, actionable initiatives and plans, while ultimately leading to the candidate determining whether to swipe right or swipe left.
Attract and retain the new generation
Since EVP centers around what employers can do for their workers, it must be genuine and have employee growth opportunities as one of its fundamental values. Younger generations increasingly care about career development and many will refuse to work with those that don’t see it as a talent priority.
According to a recent survey, 74 percent of millennials and generation Z see a lack of career mobility and skills growth options as the impetus for resigning this year. No wonder a well-implemented EVP that includes employee career pathing can increase new hire commitment and reduce turnover by 69 percent annually.
Career pathing is the process that talent development professionals use with employees to design their potential path forward in the company. Career pathing aligns career growth opportunities with the company’s talent priorities — a demanding task given they must consider everyone’s skills, career goals, interests and potential.
To execute career pathing practices, employers must first know their employees and their companies’ organizational structure, gaps and needs. Next, talent development professionals map out the professional direction of each employee according to cross functional, vertical and lateral roles. Career pathing encompasses job rotations, reskilling, upskilling, lateral moves and employee training aimed at growing specific abilities and competencies.
The following are examples of the value organizations receive when they include career pathing as one of the organization’s EVP pillars.
1. Improved talent attraction and recruitment
Eighty-seven percent of job seekers cite career pathing and development opportunities as significant when deciding whether to accept a job offer. They deem a chance to pursue professional advancement within a company non-negotiable and want to explore their growth options.
Employers must lay out well-rounded career journey frameworks and employee training to appeal to qualified candidates and increase the odds of a successful hiring process. By highlighting career pathing as one of the central parts of your EVP, you enhance talent attraction and recruitment, resulting in a faster job applicant selection and more efficient onboarding.
2. Increased engagement
Employee engagement has continued its downward trend throughout 2022, and the gloominess might continue in 2023 unless companies put significant effort into preventing it. However, many fail to consider the importance of career pathing and employee development in boosting job satisfaction.
Workers don’t only want a paycheck and elementary benefits. They want to know how they can grow in a company, opportunities they can leverage to advance their careers and investment in personalized training and L&D. That keeps employees’ skills and knowledge sharp and allows them to try different positions and roles in a company or turn their interests into daily tasks. Without that option, they will likely lose the motivation they had when they joined the company.
3. Increased retention
With increased engagement and job satisfaction, career pathing merged with EVP will naturally boost retention. But it isn’t only about giving employees support in finding their professional direction and platforms to grow their competencies and knowledge. It is also about making their jobs more meaningful and time spent in the workplace purposeful. People want their roles to be fulfilling, not leave them drained.
Their aspirations and affinities are an opportunity for companies to reach their short-term and long-term goals but also to help workers unlock their full potential and explore their interests in a professional setting.
4. Consistent knowledge sharing and improved onboarding
Succession planning and employee onboarding are crucial for knowledge sharing in a company and both are associated with career pathing. Workers need a well-planned introduction to their workplace to plan their future and develop a sense of belonging.
As time passes, companies should leverage career pathing options to roll out succession planning and develop potential leaders. That requires creating efficient tools for TA and HR leaders to identify the best candidates for executive positions.
Career pathing helps workers pinpoint their skill gaps and roadblocks for professional development. On the other hand, it allows managers to promote consistent knowledge sharing, enhance onboarding and develop career plans that address any lack of competencies and abilities before it becomes an issue for employees and the company.
5. Helping employees work through life-changing and practical questions driving career growth and change
Although it’s recommended to encourage employees to be self-starters and take control of their careers, they will often need support in overcoming challenging circumstances impacting their jobs and aspirations. They might need help to determine their professional direction or whether a career change is viable at a given moment.
For instance, the COVID crisis made many employees question their choices or want to adopt new skills and tap into different roles. HR leaders and managers should offer guidance and constructive feedback while having open conversations with employees concerning their future. Doing so helps both the employee and the organization plan for the future.
6. Higher sense of security
Clarity and transparency about career pathways can help employees feel more confident in their roles and opportunities. It also allows them to feel secure in a company by giving them insights into different professional opportunities, tools and options to grow their skills and ensure a stable future.
7. Increased trust and loyalty
Well-thought-out career pathing shows employees that employers are committed to investing in their professional growth and future. And doing so nurtures greater trust, resulting in loyalty and a sense of belonging.
This article is the first in a part of a 4-part series on aligning employee career growth opportunities with organizational talent priorities.