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Creating a Career Path for Small Business Employees

January 11th, 2017 Comments off
Taking decisions for the future man standing with three direction arrow choices, left, right or move forward

While many people love working for small businesses for the ability to be part of a close-knit team, perform a multitude of tasks, and know your efforts are integral to company success. The ability to move up in a small business, however, can be hard, as there isn’t always a place to go. Small business owners who fail to address this reality risk losing talented workers.

While a traditional upward ladder may not be possible, plenty of possibilities exist to forge satisfying career paths at small businesses. Help your employees envision their future with your company using these tips:

Talk about goals

A limited-size staff allows a manager to know his or her employees well. Regularly ask individuals about their aspirations. They’ll appreciate your interest, and you’ll gain insight as to what measures may help with retention. Write thoughts out so both of you can reference and monitor plans and create a career path from there.

Part of the ongoing conversation also should center on your small business’s goals. Sharing a vision reminds workers that exciting new opportunities may arise down the line. Figure out positions you anticipate fulfilling in the future, and begin to determine how current staff might grow into those roles. This action not only supports employee engagement, it sets up your small business to have promising internal talent as the company expands.

Redefine advancement

Not every career path means a straight climb from one level to the next. People who choose to work at a small business often do so because they love the chance to wear many different hats. Increasingly involve top performers in different aspects of the company. They’ll learn additional skills, take on more responsibility and thrive on new challenges.

Encourage role crafting

Lastly, show your small business staff how the lack of a clear career path for promotion can be to their advantage. Without formal “rules,” ambition and interest can be greater determinants for advancement than specific educational attainment or years of experience. Likewise, neither management nor employees must be bound by preset job descriptions. Instead, everyone can really consider how an individual can best contribute to the company.

As employees come to you with ideas on how to form their career path at your small business, support their efforts with concrete measures. Budget time for them to work on pet projects. Pay for memberships to professional associations. Invest in specialized training. Your commitment to their development builds loyalty as well as a multi-talented staff capable of taking your small business to new heights.


Want more small business advice? Find the answers you’re looking for at CareerBuilder’s small business advice and resources page

Career Pathing for High-Potential Employees

November 30th, 2016 Comments off
Businessman chooses the right path.  Vector illustration Eps10. Success, career

When you think about ways to increase engagement and boost retention among high-performing individuals, you likely think about raising those employees’ pay, giving them more vacation time or offering more benefits. Though it may not be the first option you consider, however, career pathing could be one of your strongest engagement and retention tools available.

What is Career Pathing?

Career pathing is the process by which managers help employees chart the course of their careers within the organization. Career pathing helps employees envision their career trajectory and understand the steps necessary to move forward in the organization and reach their professional goals.

Career pathing is especially important with high-performing individuals who want to see their efforts pay off, which will help them stay motivated and engaged in their work. Helping high-performing employees create a career path not only helps them reach their potential, it also benefits the entire organization. Consider the following:

Organizational Benefits of Career Pathing

  • It gives you a competitive edge when recruiting. Employees want to work at a company that is willing to invest in their future, and where there is potential to grow. If career pathing is a priority at your company, candidates will take notice and keep your company top of mind when considering their options.
  • It increases morale and productivity. When employees know they have something to work toward – that their work will pay off – they are more motivated, more engaged in their work and, as a result, more productive.
  • It fosters employee loyalty and lowers turnover. When you create opportunities for your employees, they are more likely to stick around to see those opportunities through.


3 Steps to Developing a Career Path with Employees

Like any worthwhile business venture, creating a career path with your employees is often easier said than done. There are many variables to consider – as you want to ensure the career path aligns with your business’ needs – and each career path must be customized to the individual, based on his or her individual strengths and goals. Follow these steps to create a career path for your high-performing employees.

  • Discuss the employee’s career goals. Understanding your employees’ career goals is the first integral step to helping them plan a career path. It will also enable you to align their goals with that of the company’s and explore opportunities to develop these goals within the organization.
  • Put the plan in writing. Career pathing can mean a lot of moving parts, so putting everything down in writing will not only help you and your employees keep track of what needs to be accomplished, it will also help keep you both accountable to sticking to that path. Once you have something in writing, revisit this document once a quarter to check-in, gauge progress, address any concerns or obstacles and make any adjustments needed.
  • Provide the resources necessary to succeed. Help your employees pursue their career paths with the tools they need to move onward and upward. This might mean setting them up with a mentor, letting them shadow other employees or cross-train. Also, be transparent: Make sure they know about other opportunities within the company and feel free to pursue those. Make room in the budget for employees to take classes, get certifications, attend conferences or join professional associations. Consider creating an internal learning and development program. Do what it takes to help your employees thrive – your business will benefit as a result.


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