Recruiting, Talent

Creating Career Paths

Job candidates want to know about career paths. Is your company prepared for this conversation?

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According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “career paths encompass varied forms of career progression, including the traditional vertical career ladders, dual career ladders, horizontal career lattices, career progression outside the organization, and encore careers.”
Your company may offer any or all of these.

Map It

If yours is a large company, it’s more likely you’ve addressed the issue of career paths, by using tools like career mapping. Yet, career mapping can benefit midsize companies as well.
SHRM describes career maps this way: “Career maps help employees think strategically about their career paths and how to meet their career goals within the organization rather than leave it to move ahead.”
According to SHRM, career mapping involves three steps:

  1. Self-assessment. A manager engages with the employee to explore his or her knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as past experiences, accomplishments, and interests.
  2. Individualized career map. Creating an individualized career map involves identifying other positions within the organization that meet the employee’s interests. The position may be a lateral move into a different job family or a promotion. In either case, the position should capitalize on the employee’s past experiences, interests, and motivation while at the same time requiring the employee to develop a certain degree of new knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to give him or her something to work toward and stay engaged.
  3. Exploring other opportunities. The final step in career mapping is to explore other job opportunities within the organization as they become available.

This formal process is actually rather straightforward. Chances are managers in your organization – especially the good ones – are already engaged in some form of career mapping. The goal is to make the process routine throughout the organization.
The advantages to doing so are many, including employee engagement and employee retention. In addition, career mapping helps you identify and tap internal talent for open positions.

Candidate Benefits

From the standpoint of candidate attraction, creating career paths allows you to address issues related to career opportunities and career advancement. This is information you can share one on one, in interviews.
You can also provide details about career paths at your careers site. Information can be conveyed in general terms and/or through employee profiles.
Because career paths are top of mind for college students, you’ll want to make a “career path conversation” part of your college recruiting strategy, while including related information in career fair handouts.
Sharing details about movement within your organization will move candidates to consider your company as an employer.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.