SmartRecruiters Blog

Internal Career Pathing: A New Selling Point for Recruiters – Why and How

Three HR experts from global organizations dispel 4 common career pathing myths that will allow you to attract—and more importantly—retain new talent.

With unemployment at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent, and baby-boomers retiring at a rate of one every nine seconds, the US faces a potential worker shortage of 8.2 million from 2017-2027. It comes as no surprise, then, that 27 percent of organizations in North America spent more on learning and development (L&D) in 2017  than in the year previous. These businesses recognize that upskilling and developing employees will hold them over in times of talent scarcity, and create a culture of continuous learning that wards off stagnation.

However, it’s not just companies who benefits, as workers increasingly desire clear paths to success. CNBC recently reported the top five things millennials (now the majority of the workforce) desire when they start a new job are

    1. Sufficient training — 40 percent
    1. Clear goals and expectations — 31 percent
    1. Given all the information needed to do the job — 30 percent
    1. Reasonable goals and timelines — 26 percent
  1. Leaders are invested in employee success — 23 percent

This means having an internal structure for career development isn’t just a retention tactic, but a recruiting selling point for attracting top candidates.

Career development is different for everyone, especially in the modern age of work-experimentation. Flat hierarchies, project-based work, and the constant demand for new skills have caused us to rethink the traditional career ladder concept, but that doesn’t mean we’re throwing it all out the window.

To better understand what has changed, and what hasn’t, we take a trip back to Hiring Success 18 EU, to the session Internal Career Pathing, where HR experts Hillary Klassen of Career Ari, Laura Moreno Salinas of Zattoo (formerly Native Instruments), and Sanam Moayedi-Stummer of Coca-Cola European Partners share their experiences with employee advancement programs to identify four misconceptions about advancement at your company to get them on board and keep them onboard.

  1. Career development doesn’t need to be discussed right away.

Many people wouldn’t think to detail advancement strategy with a new hire, but Hillary says “career pathing conversations need to happen within the first week, that way you know what you need to achieve to get to where you want to go.” Giving new hires the opportunity for growth immediately lets them know there’s room to explore at your organization, and that you want them to succeed.

  1. Advancement is all the employee – you want it? Go get it.

“On your first day, you don’t even know where the fire exits are, let alone what career pathing should look like at this new company.” Says Laura. “You need to be grown into making these development decisions.” Employee advancement is a shared endeavor. Companies bear most of the responsibility towards the beginning of a new employee’s career by making opportunities and resources available to them, and highlighting which department leaders are readily accessible. In time, employees should start to gradually take on more ownership as they gain experience at the organization.

  1. You have to be able to manage people in order to advance.

In highly technical jobs like engineering, the idea that a person must be good at managing people in order to advance is falling by the wayside. Now, companies are offering an alternative to the traditional track of “people development” in the form of “expert development”, which puts the focus on advancing in a particular discipline as opposed to climbing the company ladder. “Engineers especially need opportunities to grow where they don’t have to become people leaders.” Says Laura. “Not everyone is good at that, or even wants to be good at that and they need to have an equal opportunity to advance.”

  1. The career ladder is dead.

The career ladder isn’t dead according to Sanam, it just looks different than it once did. “I like to think of the career ladder as more of a house.” She says, “you climb up to one floor, explore there, learn new things, then maybe you see a door and that’s the next step for you.” The system of advancement isn’t strictly vertical anymore, people explore laterally as well. This freedom of movement is crucial to business agility and should be viewed as valuable.

Watch the full session now!

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