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Imagine you’re hiking on a mountain. The trail isn’t mapped, but others who reached the top tell you there is only one way up. You start out fine but start to feel lost; every time you think you are nearing the top, there is a steeper hill to climb. Eventually, you’re forced to take a rescue helicopter.
This might seem extreme, but it’s what navigating a career path can feel like for both the employee and the employer. As soon as either party feels like they are on the right path, they get lost — and that’s when employees become disengaged and frustrated and start looking for other roles.
So what can employers do to help employees create clear and individualized career paths? We knew this question was too large to be answered by only one person, so we talked with three industry experts about what career roadmapping looks like for the employee versus the employer and how you can use it to keep employees engaged and thriving.
The two sides in career roadmapping: the employer and the employee
There are two sides of the career roadmapping coin, and it’s important to understand how it looks and differs for the employer and the employee. For employees, strategy consultant Heidi Pozzo defines employee roadmapping as “the plan for getting from point A to point B that includes gaining all the skills, capabilities and experiences necessary to be successful in the desired role.”
On the flip side, for an employer, Townshend says, “Employer-driven roadmaps look at both the macro and micro level, with an eye to how that employee’s progress can help marry the company’s goals.”
So both employer and employee definitions are focused on goals. One is goals for a singular person, while the other is goals for many people that make a whole. But one person can make all the difference to how a company progresses toward its macro goals. Let’s take a look at four tips for creating individualized, engaging and successful career path programs for your employees.
1. Individualize career paths
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for career roadmapping. One way you can help employees is to create a career path tailored to the needs and wants of each individual as these align with the needs of the company.
Pozzo says, “It is important not to bucket people. Each individual can have different objectives at different points in life. Part of career roadmapping should be understanding what the individual wants.”
Townshend agrees: “The easiest way to meet the needs of all your employees is to treat them as individuals, ask them what they want and how you can help them get it. Everyone has their own motivators, and if you want to help your employees upskill and bring new knowledge and skill sets into your business, you need to find out what they need to get there.”
In short, when approaching career roadmapping with employees it’s important to listen to them and approach each employee plan individually.
2. Look for ways to provide more resources
Actively look for ways to give more resources and skills to your employees. The more that they…