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5 Ways to Help Employees Build a Career Path They'll Want to Pursue
Thursday, November 17, 2016
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The days of a career trajectory being described as “climbing the ladder” are gone. Instead, employees are now on a career path. Each path is as different as the people making the journey, from the straight lines of individuals who know what they want to the meandering twists and curves of people who want to explore and experience as much as possible.

This shift means it’s more important than ever for managers to understand the individual interests and aspirations of their employees. Companies are starting to leverage internal mobility programs to support employees along their path. These programs, according to Bersin by Deloitte, allow movement from role to role at all levels to enhance employee development, bolster succession efforts, and meet business needs.

Here are five ways managers can use internal talent mobility to help employees carve out a career path they’ll want to pursue: 

#1. Encourage Career Development in Your Company 

Career mobility begins with intentionally designing a structure that allows staff to move around more easily. Internal mobility empowers employees to build a career path that goes in the direction that best suits their interests. Learning a new skill might require an experienced employee to move to an entry-level role if it makes sense for both the employee and the business. Identifying when positions are available to internal applicants is one way to encourage staff to consider positions that may help them on their career path.

#2. Focus on Career Development, Not Potential Managers 

What about the employee who doesn’t want to be a manager? A good internal mobility program will factor in multidirectional career moves. Internal mobility allows a combination of lateral moves, promotions, and even voluntary demotions. Employees who don’t want or aren’t well suited for management roles will welcome opportunities that allow them to grow without the pressure to be promoted. 

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#3. Learn What Your Employees Want 

As a manager, you can act as a coach, facilitator, and guide for your staff on their journey. Make career development a regular part of one-on-one conversations to help you learn more about what your employees want to accomplish: What are their career goals? What skills do they want to develop? Where do they see themselves in a year? Two years? Five years? With this information, along with a solid understanding of their individual strengths and interests, you can support staff so they get the right training, development, projects, and even jobs to help them achieve their goals. 

#4. Align Internal Mobility Decisions With Business Goals 

The goals of the employee are an important factor for internal mobility programs, but decisions about internal moves need to align with organizational goals. Employees may want to acquire new skills, learn about different parts of the business, develop their skills as a leader, or take a step back in their career. A culture that is open to allowing employees to explore new opportunities will have a more productive and satisfied workforce. 

#5. Prioritize Continuous Learning 

Richard Branson once said, “The day you stop learning is the day you stop living. We should all pick up new skills, ideas, viewpoints, and ways of working every day.” Many organizations have embraced learning and development programs in their business culture. These programs help establish or clarify career goals and ensure that employees are getting the support they need to move their career in the direction they want. When managers make development a regular topic of discussion with employees, they can make sure the interests of their employees and the business are being served. 

Everyone Benefits From a Solid Internal Talent Mobility Strategy 

Career development should be a collaborative effort between you and your employees as part of your performance management efforts. By fostering a culture of career development in your company and team, you will have more engaged employees that want to work for and with your company for the long term.

About the Author
Joanne Wells is manager of the Learning Centre of Excellence at Halogen Software. She has more than 20 years of experience in managing, coaching, and mentoring skilled professionals. In her current role, she is responsible for employee skills development and career progression.
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