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Development Retention + Mobility

Does your organization have the strategic essentials in place for high-performance career development?

By Sarah Beckett on October, 16 2018
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Sarah Beckett

 Part 1 of a 5-Part Series:

Career development is fundamental to helping employees determine their work identity and career progression potential. For employers, career development plays a crucial role in improving employee engagement and retention by driving key talent processes, such as career pathing. According to a 2018 Brandon Hall Group Career Development Study, the top talent processes driven by career development are learning and development, performance management, talent management, career pathing, and succession management.

To correctly implement a high-performance career development strategy, it is important to incorporate a variety of framework elements including, defining career levels and career streams, aligning competencies with clear and communicated career paths, and enabling technology. Brandon Hall Group’s Career Development Study also reports that 70% of organizations do have a formal career development framework yet most do not leverage their variety of framework elements.


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Further, 62% of organizations have less than one-fifth of their employees with clear career paths. These unimpressive numbers are a result of numerous barriers such as a lack of clear communication in matching competencies to career opportunities, unclear job descriptions, and a deficit in technology to support organizational career development.

How then, can organizations be proactive in breaking down these barriers? Brandon Hall Group’s report discusses a foundational approach that balances organizational and employee goals, aligns various talent processes, leverages technology, and much more.

To follow, we shall detail the first step that Brandon Hall Group recommends in starting the career development process, specifically, developing a complete career development framework. A career development framework should commence with a job, then a job family, a career level, and culminate with a career stream. These definitions can be found in more detail in the report itself. An organization’s career development framework must include all these steps in order to provide clear career paths for employees to both navigate and follow.

About 30% of organizations have no career development framework whatsoever. Building such a framework entails effort, buy-in, and organization-wide collaboration. Brandon Hall Group’s data shows how organizations with some type of career development framework are approximately twice as likely to see increased engagement year by year, four times more likely to see increased employee retention, and six times more likely to have employees with well developed career paths.

Despite the work involved in strategically building a career development framework, it’s clearly a venture well worth the effort.

Incorporating career development frameworks is different for every organization. What is consistent though, in implementing a career development framework, is that the first step is to implicitly understand the organization’s and employees’ goals. Next, and very importantly, all stakeholders must endorse and understand the benefits of the initiative to ensure the framework aligns with organizational culture.


Next Steps

In next week’s blog we’ll discuss the next critical step in high-performance career development, enabling career development with technology.

In the meantime, should you have questions about strategic and proven career development, please refer to our comprehensive guide ‘Everything you Need to Know About Career Pathing’.