12 tips for creating a fulfilling career path

…without being obliged to give promotions or salary increases.

Career progression makes a significant difference between an employee who is loyal to your company in the long term and one who is willing to leave for a competitor.

A Deloitte study on nearly 8,000 millennials shows that career progression is one of the most important reasons to join a company.

Professional development is a magnet but also a retention force.

When we talk about career progression, some managers believe that it is only about promotions and salary increases… But many other alternatives allow you to offer a rewarding career progression to your employees without having to promote them within the next three years.

Your employees will generally not tell you that they are thinking of changing jobs because they will not meet their career goals or because their job no longer motivates them. They will only tell you when it is too late to keep them… In Amélio’s tool, the ” Advancement Opportunities ” indicator measures your employees’ professional development. Think about making quick changes if your indicator is yellow or red! 😉

Results

 

Here are several effective ways to achieve attractive personal development within your company.

1 Demonstrate Personal Interest

Avoiding the subject altogether because a promotion will not be available in the short term is not a good idea. Schedule one-on-one meetings to discuss your employee’s ambitions, expectations, and frustrations. What are their career path obstacles, and where would they like to be in 2, 5, and 10 years?

While there may not be any opportunities in the next two years, a sincere discussion about the employee’s goals and career path will help you retain them.

Demonstrate that you sincerely intend to help your employee grow, despite the risk of them eventually leaving. If they decide they want to move up and you do not help them do so within your company (even if you lose them from your team), a competitor will do it instead, and you will lose them anyway. Therefore, it is better to show a sincere interest in your employee and help them grow within your company.

2 Nominate an Onboarding Manager

When hiring a new employee, why not give the role of Onboarding Manager to an employee who wants to become a manager? This is the first step towards their career goals.

The Onboarding Manager ensures that the employee integrates well, meets the right people for their job, and has a contact person to help them with questions.

Your onboarding program will become obsolete if not frequently updated as your company evolves.

This employee can be responsible for maintaining it, creating helpful documentation for new employees, and designing an onboarding experience that will impress new hires! Remember: employee experience starts before the first day… Be proactive and use your team’s strengths.

Give your Onboarding Manager clear objectives. For example, new employees must complete a given report before their second week on the job or meet with each project manager. Measure the Onboarding Manager’s progress; you are training a future manager!

3 Let Them Become the Teacher

Is there new technology available on the market or an event that attracts exciting speakers to help develop new strategies for your company? 

Send an employee to the conference and ask them to present a 30-minute training session to their colleagues when they return. They can share their knowledge and develop a skill set that is unique to them. 

If you cannot afford to send one of your employees to a conference, ask them to do some online research on a specific topic that is useful to the team. Have them present their research results when they will be ready. They can become your team’s go-to person for everything related to topic X.

4 Add Responsibilities that Will Help You

The manager’s role is not to increase their performance but rather to make their team shine and perform better.

The key to achieving this is to know how to put your employees first. Here are a few examples to inspire you in creating responsibilities to help your employees progress in their careers while increasing your team’s productivity:

  1. IT Development Manager to a developer.
    Be the go-to person for both testers and developers.
    • Learn about Development Best Practices and ensure that all developers follow them; become the reference on the subject.
    • Be responsible for time management during scrums.
  2. Marketing Manager to any employee interested in marketing.
    If you aim at having a booth at five shows during the year, have an employee research new events and identify the five most profitable ones. You can also give the employee the responsibility during the year to follow up on new events to be the first to book your booth.
  3. Purchasing Team Manager to any employee interested in sales.
    Delegate the responsibilities of seeking out new providers beyond the current ones, building trust, and soliciting bids for smaller contracts that are often the last to be reviewed due to time constraints.

Essentially, the objective is to create responsibilities for employees interested in growing within your company. Whether they are responsibilities within your team or others, seek out ways to help your employee earn tasks that will motivate them and make them want to be loyal to your company.

One would attribute many tasks to managers, but they are not done due to managers not having the time to accomplish them. Hence, why not give these tasks to employees motivated by their personal growth?

5 Promote Personal Development

Professional development involves personal development. Ensure that your employees continually learn and develop new skills that will propel them toward their career goals. Here are some ideas for promoting continuous learning:

  • Send employees to external training, conferences, or meetups.
  • Hold workshops with experts in a field.
  • Bring in a consultant for a day to share tips on being more effective or learning new concepts.
  • Buy an employee a new book to help them develop their skills (e.g., negotiating like a pro, sales tips, mastering marketing, advanced programming techniques, etc.).
  • Start an office library.
  • Connect an employee to a colleague who is an expert in another field (e.g., a programmer who wants to learn about digital marketing).

This allows your employees to acquire new skills and focus their work on their new skills (i.e., grow faster!).

6 Develop your Employer Brand

Have an employee speak at a conference in their particular field of expertise.

They will have the opportunity to represent your company, obtain important responsibilities related to their skills, and gain visibility.

 

There are trade shows for just about everything! If you cannot find a trade show where you can showcase your company’s expertise, host a webinar or lunch conference from your office. This also provides a beautiful opportunity to gain exposure and increase sales.

For employees who like crowds and build new relationships quickly, offer them to represent your company at networking cocktail parties or trade shows.

For your expert programmers, offer them to take an hour or two a week to answer questions on stackoverflow.com using a company-branded account (original idea from Leading Snowflakes).

7 Maximize Use of Unique Skills

To break the routine, encourage your employees to do other work, related to their current position or interests. Use each employee’s unique skills to help them grow.

Would it be possible for you to send an employee to another team for particular projects a few days a year?

For example, an employee uses their Excel programming skills to develop a tool that generates automated reports for the accounting department.  

This will allow your employees to:

  • Connect with new colleagues and develop more genuine bonds.
  • Gain an objective understanding of other business processes and see the importance of their role.
  • Develop themselves personally by developing training skills and sharing their knowledge.
  • Break out of the routine and develop other interests within your company.

Here is a quick guide to taking advantage of employees’ skills within your team:

  1. Identify your Employees’ Specific Skills
    Determine what skills your employees have that could benefit other team members. Do this exercise with your employees and get to know them better. To help you, here are examples of skills you might recognize: 

    Programming automated
    tools on Excel

    Sales skills from a
    previous career

    Ability to train colleagues
    Writing skills
    (articles for your website,
    newsletter, media communication) 
    Networking skills
    (prospecting clients)
    Thoroughness and
    ability to perform routine tasks well
    (e.g., validating reports, comparing brochures)
    Graphic design
    (e.g., redoing PowerPoint presentations for clients from another department)
    Translation
    (e.g., validating the shareholders’ documents rather than using a translator)
    Product design
    (e.g., one of your team members still has good ideas? Have him meet the product team for a day)
  2. Maximize the Benefits of Your Management Committee
    At your next management meeting, ask what challenges they have faced on recent projects. Question them enough to get a good understanding of what slowed down projects or what could be improved. For example, what was the customers’ response? Were the set goals met? After all, you are all working towards a common goal: growing your company.
  3. Demonstrate your Added Value
    Using the list of employee skills you have built, offer to help another manager by providing them an employee for a day. Show them that it will benefit them since the employee will bring an external view and expertise that is missing within their team. That manager will likely extend a similar offer to you at a later time when you could be the one optimizing your methods.

8 Promote Lateral Movements

Routine and lack of challenge bring boredom. If there are no more senior positions available, it certainly doesn’t mean that there aren’t any exciting opportunities for your employees.

If you notice that an employee’s performance has declined over time or they seem bored, this may mean that they are now ready for something else. Ask them what interests them and what skills they want to improve.

Under the same conditions, a lateral move can be a desirable solution for both parties when the routine settles in. The employee integrating a new team has new challenges that stimulate them. They also bring their knowledge of the company and different expertise to their new team. It’s time for innovation!

Hubspot President Brian Halligan illustrates how crucial continuous learning is to maintain a successful and innovative company. The 2,000-employee company has even established a quarterly lateral movement indicator.

 

9 Build on Their Interest

Career progression is more than just getting a promotion. Use your employees’ passions to make their work more exciting and push them one step closer to their career goals.  For example:

  • Sales: Review personas, strategize how to speed up the sales cycle, create new literature to give prospects. Test the suggestions; it may even be more effective than before.
  • Programming: Mandate a programmer to design a new interface or share a designer with another team for a few hours (this offers a short-term project management experience).
  • Marketing: Develop a press campaign, create a Facebook ad, or look for new sales opportunities to build relationships with influencers.
  • Human Resources: Assign a payroll technician in finding new employees.
  • Writing: Write blog posts on topics related to your business that might stand out in Google search results. For example, an administrative assistant who loves to write could write a few articles about the workplace to attract talented people to your company!

In other words, vary the tasks and delegate some of the responsibilities whenever you have the opportunity so that your employees see that they can progress and develop new skills.

10 Develop a Mentoring Program

Create knowledge and expertise transfer relationships between your employees. Through the mentor’s experience, the mentee receives valuable advice that helps them grow and gain confidence (e.g., how to reach the next steps in their career, handle a customer relationship successfully, etc.).

When developing your program, try to assign mentors from different teams than the mentee to reduce the employment bond. The employee will then be more comfortable confiding in and asking the tough questions that will help them progress more quickly.

Consider using youth to mentor seniors in other domains such as technology. Young people can also teach their colleagues a lot. This will increase their feeling of recognition for their skills while giving them a good reputation among experienced people.

While no promotion may be available, or there may not be an interesting new project, there will always be learning opportunities. Mentoring is a great way to help your employee thrive.

11 Share Market News

Get your employees involved as if they were strategists and decision-makers.

One effective technique is to hold a monthly lunch and explain to them what’s going on in your industry—for example, new legislation, new tax credits, or a new programming language.

Occasionally invite a speaker to talk about a specific topic of particular interest to your employees. You could also create a short newsletter or discuss it during team meetings.

If you cannot offer promotions, allow them to understand your market and get involved in the team’s or company’s strategy. At the very least, listen to their opinions and consider them in your strategic plan.

12 Create a Succession Plan

Your employees must know that there is a future for them within your company. They must understand that there is an opportunity to achieve their goals and thrive within your organization.

Create a succession plan for each key position in your company and demonstrate how they can obtain it to your employees. We are all motivated by goals. They are what keep us motivated.

To develop a culture of growth, identify possible career paths to reach these key positions. Demonstrate that it is possible and explain how to get there. Do not forget to identify the barriers and the skills gap between positions.

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