Eight Effective Ways To Help Employees Create Clear, Meaningful Career Paths

Employees are searching for employers who take an interest in their career trajectory and genuinely care about their future with the company. If an employee doesn’t believe they’re truly valued, they may choose to find an employer who does value them, which is why it’s so important for businesses to focus on professional development.

Employers hoping to retain employees and leverage overall team happiness must work with their staff to develop well-planned pathways for their time at the company. Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss some effective strategies for leaders who want to create clear, realistic and meaningful career paths for their teams.

1. Encourage High Performance Goals And Accountability

The best way to motivate my employees to pave their career paths is to encourage them to set high performance goals and strengthen their sense of accountability. Additionally, our leadership team is always ready to provide them with the tools and guidance they need as they climb the ladder in their professional lives. We want our employees to be self-driven and outdo themselves as they keep growing in our company. So, whenever someone proves they are not afraid to take risks and keep growing, we promote and reward them so they can. Finally, regular feedback on successes and failures is crucial so employees can improve and keep growing. – John Lie-Nielsen, One Park Financial

2. Find Alignment On Expectations

Gain alignment on personal and professional growth expectations first. What do they like doing; what do they do not like doing; where do they think they can improve; where do we think they can improve; and how do they define success and happiness? From there, help develop how this all fits into a three- to five-year plan and check in at least once a quarter on progress. Spend time and money on professional development. We’re never cheap when it comes to making our company smarter and stronger. Sure, some people might leave, but what’s more valuable is the genuine perspective that we invest in our team. This keeps talented team members happy and hungry, and also attracts prospective team members from the outside to join a place where they can grow. It’s about creating an environment of progress. – Steve Gentile, Pinpoint

3. Get Your Team’s Input And Develop An Action Plan

Creating a clear, realistic and meaningful career path not only provides teams with direction and purpose, but it also gives them a sense of ownership and accountability. One way leaders can create a career path that is both achievable and motivating is to ask their team for their input. What do they see as their career goals? What are their aspirations? What skills and experiences do they hope to gain in order to reach their goals? Help team members map out a plan of action. What steps do they need to take in order to achieve their career goals? Which skills and experiences can they gain on their own, and which will require outside help? Encourage your team members to take risks and step out of their comfort zones. Pursuing new opportunities are often the key to reaching one’s career goals. – Kelly Kercher, K3 Technology

4. Be Observant

For every activity, find a way to understand what makes your team happy, excited and engaged. Finding a good career path is more like helping the employee and the company match their needs. Employee retention is not just about making sure the employees are happy; it’s all about making sure that they’re productive, fulfilled and proud of what they do. On the other hand, check if the company is also taking really good care of them. This way, the employees’ motivation and passion won’t die out early, whatever the role is. – Daisy Jing, Banish

5. Listen To What Your Employees Want

The best way to put someone on the proper path is to listen to them and understand what it is they want to do and what they are best at. Far too often, leaders speak more often than listen, which is detrimental to all parties involved. By listening to what they enjoy most, and weighing that with what they are best at, you’re able to put your employee in the right position within your company. You’re investing in your team, so you want to make sure everyone is in the best possible position to keep your momentum going. – Javon Frazier, Maestro Media

6. Leverage Your Regular One-On-One Meetings

Use your one-on-one meetings and regular check-ins to identify areas that your reports would like to develop further in. It could be diving deeper into their core skill set, experimenting with a new approach or learning some business insights toward a management or operations role. Then, while preparing the next quarterly or annual career plan, align the company goals and with these aspirations as best as possible. The right alignment between individual goals and company targets leads to a fruitful collaboration and a motivated hire eager to invest in achieving greatness. – Mario Peshev, DevriX

7. Help Employees Find Their Strengths

Helping your employees find their strengths is incredibly valuable. They do not always know what to strive for or what they are good at, but they usually have a good heart and want to help. Finding the things they are incredibly helpful in can be redirected back to them as a strength. Building up your employee to be a powerhouse is not only valuable for you as the employer, but it also helps them understand what skills they should be focusing on and growing. – Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo

8. Provide Feedback And Opportunities For Learning

Leaders can create clear, realistic and meaningful career paths for their teams by setting expectations and providing feedback. It’s important that employees know what is expected of them and that they are receiving feedback on their performance. This will help them to understand where they stand in their career path and what they need to do to improve. Additionally, leaders should provide opportunities for employees to learn new skills and advance in their careers. This can be done through training programs, mentorship programs or by offering promotions. By providing these opportunities, leaders can show their employees that they are invested in their career development and that they have a clear path to follow. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

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