How To Deliver Your Employee’s No.1 Desire – ‘Career Progression’

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago the importance of a clear route for employee ‘Career Progression’ when it comes to employee retention and candidate attraction.

It stirred up a lot of interest and questions about HOW to devise a good Career Progression policy, and you’ll find out HOW below. But firstly a very quick reminder of why a clear route for ‘Career Progression’ is important.

Based on numerous employee surveys, it’s often the case that the number-one consideration employees have when changing their employer is ‘Career Progression’.

Of course salary level is always important, a company car would be very attractive to many, and more holidays will be much appreciated by all!  But the most common response when asked what is the most important consideration, continues to be ‘a clear route for Career Progression’.

And it’s particularly important in this era of ever-growing skill shortages.

With over 95% of the UK workforce currently in employment there’s an ever-present risk of our best staff being hunted down and lured away by competitors, and none of us want to lose our best staff.

And importantly, when looking for new employees we need to be able to convince candidates they will have a better future with us than with a rival.

So how can we devise a well-defined career path for employees present and future, when every individual has differing needs and ambitions? 

The good news is it may not be as challenging as it first appears.

Here’s a simple 1-2-3 step process.

Step 1. The key to managing effective Career Progression is individual planning.

Individual discussion and planning will demonstrate to your staff that you really care about their career, and it will also become a useful tool for you in tracking their performance.

Take time to sit down with each member of your team and come up with some clear personal career objectives that they want to achieve over the coming weeks, months and years. For example, ask them:

  • How would you like your career to progress?
  • By when would you want to get there?
  • Which new skills would you like to acquire?
  • Do you feel you have weaknesses you need to overcome?
  • What are your short term objectives?

Once you have an idea of where your employees want to get to, agree with them some actions and a time frame that will enable them to reach their goals.

It’s essential the goals are achievable and measurable and each one has a clear time frame. That way you’ll be able to keep an eye on the progress of each employee, and they’ll be able to see that their career is actually moving forward.

Step 2. Help your employees achieve their plan

A key ingredient will almost certainly be training and personal development. It may involve enrolling team members on a formal training course or work shadowing. And the good news is, that doesn’t have to be a drain on your finances.

With free courses and cost options out there to suit every industry (and budget), there’s no excuse not to take a look at what’s available. You’ll find a staggering 14000 of them here!

Whatever policy you adopt, you’ll need to apply it consistently right across your workforce or you’ll make some of your colleagues feel decidedly unloved. Don’t leave anyone out. Some may not be very ambitious but that’s OK if you’ve spoken to them and given them the opportunity to participate. At least you and they will understand their motivations better.

Step 3. Be consistent. Make sure other policies fit with your Career Progression ethos.

For example, new vacancies should be announced / offered internally first, and only offered externally if it’s not possible to promote from within. Promoting current employees (where appropriate) is a great way to demonstrate that career progression is alive and well in your business, and not just fine words. It will keep staff turnover to a minimum, and once the word spreads externally it will make your organisation a ‘go-to’ place for anyone looking for new employment.

There will be times when internal promotion will not be possible or practical. So you could also consider offering secondments, or setting up internal networking groups and social events to encourage communication and knowledge transfer across teams.

You could offer flexible working hours to allow employees to study outside of work, or set aside a short amount of work time a week for personal training and development.

Changes like this may seem small, but put all these things together and they can make a big difference to employee engagement and happiness.

And importantly, you’ll also reap the rewards when it comes to recruiting. You’ll be able to shout about and demonstrate your commitment to those magic words… ‘Career Progression’ and attract the best talent to your business.

So, with the prospect of more productive employees and a more attractive and effective hiring process, it’s time to put Career Progression up high on your list of things to do TODAY!

PS. In case you missed the survey results about the importance of Career Progression, you’ll find them here: 

Other Posts...

How to hire the right people for your business in Ten steps
How to hire the right people for your business in Ten steps
24th February 2020
Read More
Employers… Ever Had a Really Good Employee Leave?
Employers… Ever Had a Really Good Employee Leave?
30th April 2018
Read More
How To Deliver Your Employee’s No.1 Desire – ‘Career Progression’
How To Deliver Your Employee’s No.1 Desire – ‘Career Progression’
28th March 2017
Read More