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While the Great Resignation may fade from the headlines, its impact on the workplace will not, as most talent professionals know all too well.
The balance of power has permanently shifted over a couple of extraordinarily turbulent years, giving employees more options and more leverage than ever before. As a result, they have been quitting in record numbers. With replacement costs rising as high as 2X the salary of the departing employee, that can quickly spiral into hundreds of thousands of dollars for even the smallest organization—and many millions for larger enterprises.
But organizations are far from powerless in the face of this disruptive trend. In this blog post, we’ll look at why launching a career pathing program has a transformative effect on a company’s ability to retain and engage the workforce, no matter how fierce the competition for talent becomes.
Growth is the key to retention
In a tight talent market, employers who can't deliver what employees want risk losing valuable talent to organizations who can. The good news is that employers don't have to guess what will keep employees motivated, engaged, and loyal. We already know. In survey after survey, across every sector, in organizations of every size, and in roles of all types and seniority levels, the answer is the same. Employees want to grow by developing new skills and advancing their careers.
Employers are missing the mark
While the research is clear, few employers are heeding it. An IBM study found that only 48% of employees considered the opportunities for career development and advancement to be “very good” or “excellent” at their organization, while data from Monster revealed even more dissatisfaction, with 80% of workers reporting that they do not think their current employer offers growth opportunities.
Career pathing expands options
At a time when talent has never been more elusive, creating a robust advancement process is one of the most impactful things talent leaders can do to position their organization ahead of the competition as an employer of choice—and there’s no better way to support internal career mobility than with a career pathing program.
Experts at HRSG believe that career pathing is important today and will remain so as millennials and Generation Z—demographics that are even more focused on self-actualization—become the predominant generations in the workforce.
What is career pathing?
Career pathing is a way to put more options for professional growth in the hands of employees, giving them more autonomy over their careers and more visibility into the full range of career possibilities the organization holds. Career pathing enables employees to explore not only traditional, vertical career moves (from "junior" to "senior" positions, for example), but lateral movements and even downward movements across different business units, levels or salary bands, or departments.
Because of this enhanced mobility, the framework that supports career pathing is often described as a career "lattice," while traditional career moves are referred to as "ladders."
Key benefits of career pathing
First and foremost, career pathing supports retention by giving employees access to the career advancement that is such a powerful motivator. Providing clear career paths for employees is an excellent way for organizations of all sizes to avoid turnover and retain their top talent.
But career pathing also delivers a host of other advantages.
Employees are more engaged when they believe that their employer supports their growth and when they are given tools to help them reach career goals. Career pathing helps to maximize the potential of all employees through focused development.
A career development path provides employees with an ongoing mechanism to enhance existing skills and acquire new skills and knowledge that can lead to new responsibilities, positions, and promotions.
Younger workers, especially Generation Y, are least interested in pay increases and most interested in learning new skills. They are more likely to value career pathing than any other generation, and that will factor into their decision-making around employment.
Career pathing can enhance and accelerate the organization’s responsiveness by strengthening the bench and identifying and redeploying talent in ways that not only support employee goals but also departmental and organizational objectives.
With career pathing, an organization can identify employees who are interested in acquiring advanced technical proficiency or moving into leadership roles and prepare them for the future with focused development plans.
Offering career pathing is a way to differentiate yourself from competing employers and enhance your brand as an employer of choice. Career pathing sends a clear signal that your organization truly cares about its employees and is committed to investing in their long-term success.
From "Great Resignation" to "Great Retention"
The research is clear: people stay in workplaces that encourage them to challenge themselves, learn, and grow continuously.
To empower them, organizations need to go beyond the limitations of traditional, promotion-based advancement, giving employees a wider array of opportunities across the organization—both vertically and laterally.
Career pathing enables employees to explore and visualize multiple career trajectories based on their knowledge, skills, abilities, interests, and career goals as well as the organization’s talent needs. And when we empower people to freely explore the opportunities and their own potential, we show them that we are committed to helping them be their best and most authentic professional selves, wherever that journey takes them.
Learn more about career pathing
Learn how to design and launch a career path in your organization. Download "The 2022 Definitive Guide to Career Pathing," a new eBook from HRSG’s expert consultants.
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