By Lyndsey Nelson
The sense of moving forward in our life, and especially our working life, is important – it’s what motivates and inspires us. Employees want to see that there are opportunities for career growth and progression in an organization, whether it’s a lateral promotion or a vertical move to a position to learn and develop new skills. It`s not just about the next promotion or raise, but about continued development and personal success for people. If employees believe that a career path isn’t available in the organization and have no sense of where things can take them or how things can change for them, it can become very stagnating for them. Employees can then become disengaged, complacent and apathetic. All of these are traits we don’t want to see in our workplaces – these individuals don’t contribute to the workplace in a positive way.
Helping people see a future in the organization and creating an opportunity for people to see beyond their day with you today is important to keeping them motivated. Having open conversations with employees about how their role links to other jobs in the organization and potential opportunities available to them will help paint the picture for them. One way to communicate this link and have discussions about people`s career goals is in your performance management system. If someone wants to move into a certain role, say from a Junior Designer to an Intermediate Designer, knowing that this is where they would like to go you can talk to them about different projects they can get involved in that might help build certain skills that would be needed for that Intermediate Designer role. It will also inform you of different tasks that you can assign to them so they can start seeing themselves in their future career. They will get excited and energized by that and feel more connected.
Another great place to show how jobs are linked is on your Careers Page. You can highlight an employee as an example of what types of opportunities and career paths are available. The employee could talk about how they started in a junior role and on smaller projects, and by having open conversations about where they wanted to go with their career and skills they wanted to acquire, they were able to get more involved in different projects and gain more experience. Thus overtime getting exposure to different areas and growing into the position they wanted.
Wherever you can create a connection where the skills people are learning, tasks they are doing, projects they sign up for do contribute to the bigger picture and helps move them toward a bigger goal, the better. When people feel like they have something to work towards, they will feel more connected to their work. This creates loyalty, engagement, and energy for the future.
Your Engaged HR Assignment: If you haven’t already, start incorporating career conversations into your Performance Management System. Ask employees where they ultimately want to go and if there are certain projects or tasks they would be interested in getting involved in. Let them know the skills or knowledge they may need to acquire to help move them forward, and start thinking about ways that you may be able to support them on this path they wish to walk.