A career ladder within a workplace encourages employees to develop their skills and apply themselves.
A career ladder encompasses the roles an employee holds over the course of a work history. Career ladders may be specific to a certain skill set and usually depict vertical growth, such as starting at entry level and working up to management. Ladders may also integrate into overall career paths, which usually describe a less linear path that employees travel to achieve certain developmental goals.
One of the primary reasons good employees leave an organization is due to a lack of opportunity. According to Pew Research Center, 63% of employees leave their positions because they aren’t achieving advancement opportunities. In this article, we’ll look at some ways you can build an organizational job chart that provides clear pathways for employees to work their way up in your organization.
63% of employees leave their positions because they aren’t achieving advancement opportunities.
The benefits of a formal career ladder
If employees don’t feel they have the ability to climb to the next rung on a corporate ladder, chances are they may jump ship and head over to a competing organization. However, you have an opportunity to build employee retainment by giving your employees a clear path of upward mobility.
By providing your teams with career ladder programs to guide them in achieving their professional dreams, you can easily boost your retention rates and keep top talent onboard. Establishing a well-defined career ladder that includes increased employee engagement, retention, succession planning, and an ability to attract top talent gives your best people a reason to stay.
Elements of a career ladder
Today, job hopping is far more the norm than the exception. In some industries, such as food service, this is anticipated, but the reality is most industries are not prepared or budgeted for high employee turnover. To prevent this, you can provide your employees with career growth opportunities through a career ladder. A career ladder typically has 5 levels.
Exploring where one wants to go on a career path is an exciting time. Life is essentially an open canvas. In the exploration period, individuals begin to transition from college to work and they start to pursue their preliminary choices for their career journeys. Job hopping is common in this stage; this period usually starts in the early 20s and ends by the mid-20s.
This period usually starts once an individual finishes college, has obtained the fundamental knowledge for a job, and begins seeking long-term, steady work. Responsibilities are usually minimal and salary is lower on the pay scale since those in the establishment phase are still learning.
Job candidates in the establishment stage have some professional skills, but many need cultivating. This stage is a significant step because decisions made at this time set employees’ career paths. Business owners can help by requiring employees to be equipped with the basic tools they need to succeed and providing them with chances for upward mobility through continuing education and training. Many people will jump at the chance to pursue any initiatives they’re offered.
Job candidates in the establishment stage have some professional skills, but many need cultivating. This stage is a significant step because decisions made at this time set employees’ career paths.
In this phase of a career, people are usually either satisfied in their jobs and want to maintain the status quo or are ready to pursue more challenges, if they haven’t done so already. It’s common for employees at the mid-career point to feel stagnant and, thus, are ready to:
- Update themselves
- Gain new skills
- Begin to coach others
- Take on new jobs with new challenges
People reaching this stage are usually well-established in their chosen career paths and content at where they are at this time. As a result, they may pursue new opportunities or training less aggressively. They may work each day satisfied by the professional reputation they’ve built or take on mentoring roles. Many move into SME (subject matter expert) status and take on the role of a consultant or start planning for their succession if they stay with their organization.
At this stage, an employee begins winding down, is usually at the top of their pay scale, and is making post-employment plans. It’s a bittersweet time for many because they have a lifetime of achievements and successes they’re leaving behind. However, they also may be ready to take on the next chapter to pursue other lifelong dreams that they have time for in retirement.
By proactively helping your employees through each of these stages, chances are they’ll stay with you for the long term, especially if there are sufficient intrinsic and extrinsic rewards they can enjoy.
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Offering your employees a well-defined path to promotions encourages them to gain new skills while keeping them challenged and engaged. The bottom line is that pursuing these programs, and other employee-centric efforts, can be a win-win for everyone.
If you want to improve your ability to build a satisfying workplace and offer your teams a chance to experience consistent growth in their careers, Zenefits can help. We specialize in helping business leaders and HR professionals put solid initiatives in place to help your employees move up the ladder.