Does the walker choose the path or the path choose the walker? Everyone wants to be on a path, but most importantly when it comes to a professional environment being on a path signifies heading towards something.
Pathways combine the benefits of succession planning into your organization's hiring process and organizational development strategy to create a continual performance process for each role in your company. Career pathways are designed to help you educate and train your employees to move up and follow a path of growth that is in line with both your needs and theirs.
In this article, we will be covering some of the benefits that will come from establishing career pathways for your employees.
Determine Career Trajectory for Employees
From the minute a candidate comes onto your radar you should be thinking about what the next 5 years will be like for that candidate. Creating a timeline of success will help paint a better picture of what you should be looking for in that candidate for that particular career.
The feeling Dorothy had in the Wizard of Oz when she found the yellow brick road is what young professionals are looking for. They want certainty, longevity and a sense of direction. In spite of what many people think, millennials and young professionals will not generally be inclined to leave your company or “job hop” if there was a reason to stay. They want to grow in your organization, learn new skills, do meaningful work, and make decisions that will drive the company.
Survey results show that more than 75% of Gen Z members believe they should be promoted in their first year on the job. From the employer's perspective, new hires need to be performing at a certain level and bringing a certain benefit to the company before a promotion can be given.
By incorporating pathways into the onboarding process, you are able to shape the expectations of new hires from the moment they are hired. Adam Hempenstall, CEO and Founder of Better Proposals, goes through his company's succession planning with new employees:
Succession planning means that every time we hire someone new, we lay out a plan for their career advancement in the company. We tell them what they can expect, when they can hope for a promotion and what requirements they have to meet to jump up to a higher role. That way, new hires become team leads and the company structure grows with each new employee. A succession plan gives me a detailed overview of each role and what an employee needs to do to cross that bridge to be ready for promotion.
You should coordinate their goals and growth milestones with your company's growth and hand out titles, bonuses, promotions, or pay raises that coincide with the level of your organization's development. Both sides are clear on what is needed and everybody progresses together.
Ultimately, this will help to reduce turnover and increase loyalty by clarifying available growth opportunities and requirements. Employees know what skills they need to develop, have a clear set of goals that need to be reached, and also know the timeline in which they can expect advancement if milestones are hit. This will also prevent them from constantly asking for raises that they haven't earned.
Improved Internal Hiring
Managers often resort to hiring from the outside because their own employees are not suited for those roles. According to the American Management Association, more than half of all companies don't look to their current employees to fill open positions. When there is a need for strategic changes in an organization, usually the first thing companies want to do is bring professionals with experience from the outside to help things run more efficiently. It's also worth noting that more than 50% of companies report that they lose employee engagement and loyalty after 5 years.
One of the companies I worked for had a succession plan that only existed on paper. In reality, managers had different standards for what “success” meant in certain roles and the official succession plan was never put into practice. For three years I stayed there, nobody moved up in their role and when someone ended up getting fired (or leaving), they would put out new job ads for the position instead of promoting internally.
If you have an employee working for you for a few years, but then hire someone from outside the company to manage that employee without giving him/her the opportunity to advance, they are likely to start looking for other companies that will invest in them and their growth.
With Career Pathways, you are using principles of succession planning to train your employees and help them gain the skills and experience necessary to progress up the ranks. Instead of hiring outside, you are developing the employee that you need for a future position in your company. No more job postings, sifting through resumes and attending career events.
Higher Performing Employees
Employees want to be in roles that make a difference and don't want to be stuck doing the same old thing. They also want to develop their personal skills, to be challenged, and to gain recognition for their contributions. Employees will be loyal to companies that invest in their future. Studies show that the biggest reason why employees leave companies is that they don’t see a clear opportunity for growth.
Succession planning will also help employees prepare for new leadership roles by laying out the necessary training and development to ensure their success when they are promoted. Paula Rauenbuehler, CEO and Executive Leadership Coach of Leading UP! says,
By identifying potential future leaders, an organization serves the primary stakeholders well by training and preparing them for the next steps. The first move in to a leadership role is arguably the hardest move up the ladder for someone to make. Training and preparing people is critical for their success in that first promotion. Otherwise it's like tossing someone in to the deep end of the pool who only knows how to dog paddle. They might get to the other side, but it will waste a lot of energy and look pretty darn sloppy.
Paula recommends providing a mentor or coach along with their direct supervisor to create a solid support system to maximize the success of the newly promoted. You can structure pathways in such a way that every employee is working toward a higher position with someone who can coach them, and each position is training an employee to take over their responsibilities. This way, you will be able to hire internally to fill vital upper management roles with experienced employees and limit outside hiring to more entry-level positions.
Cultural Fit is more than about ping-pong tables and socializing events. As more and more millennials are stepping into managerial roles, it is important to consider how company culture plays a huge role in the success of your company. When you consider the overall culture of your company, you need to step back and ask yourself some really important questions.
1. What is the mission of our company? Is that mission expressed and shared amongst everyone? In every successful company, there are special qualities that make up the unique personality of the company. Find out what those things are to you and expand on it.
2. What do all of our employees have in common? No, we are not suggesting for you to hire the same people because diversity is important and brings value to your organization. What we mean is that in order for each department to run successfully, it should be comprised of people that all have a strong work ethic and have the right skill sets. Figure out what kind of attributes your employees should have in common.
3. Are there effective channels of communication? Communication is more than about getting the right people on the right screen. It is about active listening, creating a safe environment to express opinions and have them considered. Most importantly it’s about understanding what the other person has to say and why it matters. The people that listen with the intent to respond usually miss the mark on what is happening in their company.
So, you are probably wondering how pathways fit in with company culture. The answer is simple. Finding the right people that make your organization better are hard to find. When you find them, you want to hold on to them, but will they hang on to you if you do not invest in them?
It can get very costly to hire people from the outside not knowing if they will fit with your company culture and learn everything they need to know to get to the point of being comfortable with “how things work.” Your entry-level or even junior-level employees have this advantage already, working at your company.
Giving your employees the proper training so that they can be developed into the leader your company needs and then promoted will be far more beneficial to your business. They already understand what the company vision is and know the policies, procedures and more. They may not have the experience right away, but try putting them in roles that will allow them to gain that experience instead of bringing someone in from the outside to manage them.Takeaway
Imagine being able to plan a pathway from the beginning. From the minute you come into contact with a candidate, you can determine where they will fit in the pipeline and how long it will take them to get into a leadership role at your company.
"Pathways" is a feature of ProSky product but more than that, it's a mindset about the future of onboarding new candidates and HR in general.
You can watch the succession of each individual employee as time goes by, giving you a better gauge of what it looks like to get someone in that position from the beginning and also keeping your employees happy by giving them the opportunity to grow and advance their own skill sets.
Sign up for a free demo to learn how changing your hiring process can help you retain the best people and lower cost!