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Steps to Architecting Career Paths

One of the most important tasks HR professionals have to master is helping employees map out their career paths. Like many tasks in HR, mapping out employee career paths can be overwhelming if you haven't done it before. If you are faced with creating your first development plan for an employee or group of employees, consider the following tips to help make the process less overwhelming. HR professionals should collaborate with department leaders on developing career paths for employees. The career paths must be in alignment with department goals and company strategy. Make it part of your plan to encourage department leaders to build relationships with HR professionals; the company will be better off if these two functions collaborate. When you design your program, make sure you communicate its value to managers and employees, as this is a key factor for its success. The process of creating your employee's plan helps you to understand better what they need for their professional development, which you can then use to help them map out their future in more detail. As part of developing each individual plan, HR professionals should work with each employee to assess their career aspirations. This is where you can work with employees to find out what they are interested in, any additional training or degrees they may need, and what steps toward advancement they plan on taking. This way, there are no surprises if the company ever decides to promote an individual outside of their current role. Career paths should focus on getting the employee to an opportunity for advancement within your company and broader career opportunities so that they are prepared for a lifetime of employability versus a lifetime of company employment. The career mapping process should provide employees with a better understanding of themselves, what they are capable of doing, and how each role they play in the organization contributes to overall success. It is also essential that HR professionals help employees understand their own personal limits. Not everyone can do every job at your company; however, employees should be realistic about what they are capable of doing. Some of the most beneficial parts of developing an employee's career path include providing perspective on how each role contributes to the business's overall success and helping employees understand their current contribution and how it ties into future opportunities. Keep in mind that the career mapping and development process is continuous. Some individuals may use their plan as a guide to help them map out their future when they are just starting with your organization, while others may have been with you for over ten years before they seek additional training or education opportunities. The challenges to effectively executing an employee development program are not only because it takes a lot of resources but also because you have to be able to work with different types of employees, including high potentials, high performers, and developing talent. Career mapping helps you identify the different skill sets needed by your employees, how they can develop them simultaneously and how you can meet their professional aspirations. It is vital for every organization to continuously invest in employees' development because it will help ensure future business success. Instead of just training employees, organizations can provide job enhancement and job enlargement opportunities to improve the overall work experience and reduce turnover. Considering that employees want to grow, my advice is to implement a career mapping program. Career mapping helps you identify the different skill sets needed by your employees, how they can develop them simultaneously and how you can meet their professional aspirations.

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