Career pathing: Talent leaders moving at the speed of growth

Embedded into the world of work, employers should embrace an inclusive career pathing continuum for leaders that enhances their knowledge and skills with opportunities worldwide, allows for flexible time models and provides the support needed for career growth and development.

by Sonja Mustiful

February 28, 2023

Think of this as the year of career options. As employees are deciding what they want out of their careers in the near term, leadership development is still a priority. It has become necessary, not optional, for organizations to evolve and realize their role in sustaining employee engagement by remaining flexible and pivoting quickly.

Career pathing continuum

Career pathing is a portfolio of options that highlights an employee’s professional growth aligned with their skills and interests. It is the intersection between continuous learning opportunities and organizational talent priorities. In strengths-based leadership cultures, career pathing is the expectation and the norm. Leaders of the future need tools to reskill and upskill coupled with career opportunities toadequately prepare for the future of work and support them rise to their potential.

So, what is the path forward?

Talent Retention

Here are the top 10 career development options that should be paramount to enhance your employee growth and development experience.

  1. Reimagine your flexible time models to reflect ever changing needs of where an employee works best.
  2. Shift how you administer the performance management process. Encourage quarterly meetings focused solelyon career development and track your team’s progress with metrics tied to performance goals.
  3. Have intentional career pathing conversations. Support managers who avoid transparent career development conversations.
  4. Start and end your months with stay interviews. Remain curious about what excites your team members. What dothey enjoy most about their roles? What do they want to achieve in the next six months?
  5. Cultivate a culture of continuous learning where all employees grow within their career with coaching, online courses or in person workshops. Implement Career Choice Programs, where you offer pre-paid tuition, learn anew language, learn from the CEO for a day, etc. Also take this opportunity to revisit the allocation for tuition reimbursement.
  6. Empower employees to continue to drive their career paths forward with focused career options that drives impactful succession planning discussions.
  7. Build on your engagement pulse survey results. Overcommunicate what the team can expect on their career path continuum. What big levers can immediately impact positive change?
  8. Expand career development and growth opportunities for employees who consistently exceed expectations.
  9. Create themed focused internal career days that align with celebration days such as National Mentoring Month, Career Resilience and Empathy Day or the International Day of Education.
  10. Increase experiential learning opportunities through international work assignments, job rotations or jobsharing to gain experience needed for highly visible projects, workstreams and cube moves.

While this is not an all-inclusive list, it should be a reset button to choosing your employees first. Theemployee market cycle begins with an employee asking themselves, should I stay, or should I go? Leaders, are you ready to pivot in an ever-changing workplace that embraces career pathing? As employees are navigating their next career move, make sure you have done your due diligence to ensure they have professional development tools that support their career growth and development.

What do employees want from their jobs? A career that makes them feel seen and heard. Show them you are invested in them by having meaningful stay interviews. Talent leaders can no longer wait for the next wave or new word of why employees may consider leaving. Leaders have shifted from career positioning to career cushioning.

Leaders are keeping their options open, strengthening their professional networks and leveraging their skillsfor the next best opportunity. So don’t ask what else can you do, ask what more can you do. Start today, start now, building an inclusive culture where leaders stay because they have opportunities to grow.

By Lee Smith
Lee Smith Career Specialist