The Most Effective Way to Create a Career Plan for Employees

2 min read
Oct 11, 2016

Employee developmentOur research shows that a lack of career direction is a source of employee disengagement. An employee who feels like they have no future at your company isn’t likely to stay. An employee who feels like their career is stagnating is going to start looking elsewhere for work.

But research shows that the best leaders are often internal hires. You want to keep your most-talented employees around. Not only will they help with productivity, but turnover is incredibly expensive, ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars. Retaining employees saves on recruitment and onboarding. 

Employees Want a Career Path

An EdAssist study found something interesting: both employers and employees believe that employees need a career path. However, employees said it’s the employer’s responsibility to provide a career path. Employers said just the opposite — it’s the employee’s responsibility to create a career path.  

The truth may lie somewhere in between. But one thing’s for sure: employees expect that their job will be part of a career path. Our Engagement Report found that only 25% of employees think they have adequate growth opportunities. And EdAssist uncovered that 71% of employees think that managers should provide job opportunities and career paths.

Employers who offer career paths for their employees will have an advantage in the labor marketplace over those who don’t. A career path is something employees value, and they’ll flock to those employers who provide one.

employee development

Align Their Goals With Your Goals

However, a career path is only as good as its practical application for your business. Before having any conversations about career paths, look at where your business is weak. Can you match your employee’s skill set to those needs? Do you think the employee is capable of developing in the right ways to move up at your company?

Once you’ve determined how you want to proceed, meet with the employee one on one. Listen to what they have to say and work through what a long-term vision looks like. This isn’t something you want to try with brand-new employees. However, for someone who has had a chance to prove their value, this demonstrates that the company has faith in their abilities. An employee who has invested time in your company may earn the company investing in them.  

Create a Plan

Work with the employee to put together an action plan that meets both sides’ needs. The plan should include large objectives, like working up to a higher position, and smaller objectives, like sales goals.

Then you need to look at how to get there. What will they need to reach their objectives? More training or professional development? Can you establish a mentorship for them?  

Managers who are interested in furthering their employees’ careers will have better retention and higher workplace satisfaction. Sometimes the key to better retention is just a conversation away.



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