4 Strategies for Regulating Career Pathing with Performance Management
This blog post is brought to us by MRA Global Sourcing.

Knowing what it takes to advance and how to do so is important to employees. Without a clear understanding of the path forward, top talent may jump ship to an employer with a more clear definition of how to advance, presenting companies with the imperative to more clearly outline their potential progression through the organization.

Creating a clear roadmap through career pathing provides both employers and employees a mutual understanding of the criteria required for the employee to advance and prevents loss of talent by increasing employee retention. By developing these guidelines for what is necessary for an employee to reach their career goals, employers are motivating performance and ensuring, for their own benefit, that the employee's plan aligns with the goals of the company. While career pathing is specific to each individual employee and offers them benefits, the process also allows the organization to achieve its goals.

1.       Offer employee investment options that stand out from competitors.

Employers who demonstrate the value of their employees by investing in training and professional development opportunities are more likely to retain talent and prevent these valuable individuals from being recruited by competitors. By offering these options to employees, companies can offer the career development desired by most professionals in today’s workforce and have a competitive edge over similar organizations seeking the same talent for the industry. The best methods for offering these opportunities at a low cost approach include implementing programs for new training developments or encouraging mentorship from an advisor.  “Career pathing can have the added benefit of functioning as a branding tool that will appeal to industry talent,” says Naseem Malik, Managing Partner of MRA Global. “If a company can demonstrate how employees have advanced with them internally, and how this option exists for all employees as a performance management process, candidates will value this organization compared to competitors.”

2.       Preserve and encourage development for initial talent

An on-going risk for many employers is a combination of a lack of talent and inability to retain employees in areas where they require seasoned professionals. Voluntary turnover does not come without its penalties, as productivity, institutional knowledge, organizational and industry relationships all decrease while remaining employees are left to make up for the lost talent. The employees who are central to the business strategy need to be identified by organizations so they can be prepared to implement retention plans that fulfill the needs and intentions of these workers. As an employer, being able to provide clear career paths is a key factor in any successful retention plan, including training for talent employees and high performers that allow them to reach new roles where they can apply the skills and knowledge achieved earlier in the process.

3.       Apply commitment incentives for newer generations 

Tactics to recruit previous generations don’t apply for millennial workers, based on a recent study conducted by the MRINetwork on Millennial Hiring Trends for 2017. In this study, more than half of those surveyed ranked career pathing as a priority in their workplace, and was selected as a deciding factor when seeking new employment. The new generation of workers prefers to have control in their situations, and by allowing them to set out their career paths and expectations for their performance review, managers give them this desired authority. They appreciate the power to share with management their career goals, and management provides them with what they are expected to do and how they are expected to perform to achieve their goals.

4.    Modernize employee performance management practices 

During the annual review, managers are responsible for determining how well employees fulfilled the career pathing plans agreed upon, and determining new ones for the upcoming year to continue to drive results and encourage employee commitment to the company. “Career pathing allows the employee to drive their own career goals, since they’ve mapped out a success plan with their manager and the road to advancement is clear,” says Malik. “This new concept is a welcoming aspect of company culture that will be valued by existing employees and sought out for by new, potential talent. 

This alignment can be accomplished through changes in the organization’s performance management process specifically. Some adjustments every employer should consider includes:

  • Reduce the amount of steps to ease the overall process and remove anything that requires too much time and isn’t necessary.
  • Confirm the strategic goals of your organization align with the system you enforce for performance management.
  • Initiate new structure and guidelines for performance management that will offer continuous feedback for both employees and you as the employer, which in turn with show regular development.
  • Encourage management to participate in an ongoing acknowledgement for quality employee performance and to respond with praise.
  • Separate discussions regarding performance from discussions regarding compensation, when combined the employee can have difficulty interpreting the feedback that could influence their performance.

Both the organization and employee need to invest time and be willing to commit to career pathing in order to achieve the benefits and mutual success the process provides. The advantages of career pathing include a more satisfied and easier to operate work environment and an increase in long-term employees. Talented individuals who are developing inside the organization are motivated to remain with their current employer because of the confidence they find in career pathing that demonstrates the influence their valued abilities and expertise has on the company. 
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