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Building career paths
Progressing toward a goal is a strong motivator and opportunities to grow professionally is a top driver for employee engagement. Clear career paths can help you motivate employees in a way that’s aligned with your business and their desires.
How do you ensure you’re setting them up for success? Most companies define specific skills needed for advancement which can help internal candidates identify areas of development, such as project management skills or programming languages. When combined with their behavioral data and those behaviors expected for the role, employees can fully see what they need to do to take that next step.
Career pathing is an ongoing process and has a direct impact on your business results. In many ways, companies manage jobs and people like budgets: they do it once, and then they increase it a little bit every year. If you’re stagnant, your employees will be too.
Make sure career goals are discussed often with your employees and that Job Targets are reevaluated—especially if functions for that role change over time. Programs and processes change all the time, so be sure you’re effectively preparing your employees for the future.
Career pathing best practices:
- Be proactive. Plan for the roles your team might need in the future.
- Consider those who want to move laterally as opposed to vertically in the organization.
- When job responsibilities change, redefine the role and determine if the person in the role is still the right fit.
- Always capture the behavioral and cognitive profiles needed for success in the role.
It’s critical that people are able to assess how they’re doing through feedback. The way you deliver feedback can—and should—be tailored to each person. Even the most well-thought-out piece of feedback can be received poorly if done in a way that goes against how that employee prefers to receive recognition or feedback.
Providing feedback is something many struggle with, but there are principles you can follow to make giving feedback easier:
- Always tie feedback to the business.
- Explain how they’re making an impact.
- Give specific examples.
- Be objective.
See if you can determine the right and wrong way to provide feedback.
The Relationship Guide helps you understand how employees prefer to receive feedback and interact within the workplace.
Having scheduled sessions is important but, if something urgent occurs, feedback should be provided in a timely manner. Talking about something an employee did two weeks ago won’t have the same impact as it would on the day of/after the incident.
Holding employees accountable
Much like giving feedback, holding someone accountable to something means there needs to be a clear goal or expectation set. You can use PI to build awareness of an employee’s strengths and caution areas. Increasing awareness will help align with expectations and completion of goals.
Accountability is easier once you know how to interact with an employee. But, it’s not just about the manager when it comes to accountability. Build a culture where employees hold the team and themselves accountable. What if a team is consistently arriving late to meetings? Encourage the team to acknowledge this concern and create solutions to the problem. Periodic retrospectives can help employees take a step back and consider what can be done better. Always challenge your team by asking not only what to improve, but what just isn’t working.
Managing your employees and providing feedback is important, but coaching them on how to get there is vital to their success. Schedule a recurring meeting to have open discussion about personal and professional development. Remember, your responsibility isn’t to directly set a goal for them. Instead, ask clarifying questions and discuss paths they can take.
Coach employees in a way that fits their natural behaviors. For example, those with higher extraversion drives might like to talk in person and have these conversations face to face. Those with lower amounts of extraversion might want some time to prepare for a session on how to better leverage their strengths or accommodate for concerns.
Setting these standards will allow your employees to be aware of how they can stretch and strive in their career. Push them to grow by setting a path they can work for and holding them to those goals.
Here are some additional resources on this topic.