What is a career path?
Theoretically, everyone knows what a career path is. But how many people actually have a defined career path? How many managers and subordinates realize that clarification of this issue may help to achieve mutual success?
Career path is simply a development plan for the employee. Just as every workstation has a set of clearly defined duties, every employee should know their own development plan. The supervisor, by setting the criteria of obtaining successive promotions along with the employee, defines the development opportunities of the subordinate in the company.
But is defining the career paths so important for the company? Everything depends on the company’s objectives. In most cases, the owners of the companies care about the maximum involvement of subordinates in the assigned duties. However, to achieve this commitment, one must offer something in return. The possibility of promotion or receiving additional compensation is an effective incentive for maximum effort at work.
An employee with possibilities of development is more engaged in work, and more loyal. By setting specific goals, employee’s motivation to achieve them rises. Additionally, the realization of employee’s aspirations and ambitions is facilitated. A clear career path also contributes to the rise of a sense of organizational justice – says Sylwia Wiszowata, a coach, Architekci Sukcesu.
Employee Competency Profile
Determination of the employee’s career path should be a well-thought action. It should refer directly to the competence of the subordinate to be certain that the criteria are achievable. One should avoid indicating random purposes. When determining the individual criteria for promotion, you must be sure that each of the requirements is real and achievable.
Creating the employee development plan is a multi-stage process - highlights Sylwia Wiszowata. First, you must know the individual preferences of a given employee, and in particular his/her value system, what is most important to him/her in life, what is most interesting for him/her at work – e.g. power, prestige, money, independence, relationships, or perhaps becoming an expert in a very narrow field. Not every good specialist will make a good manager in the future. There are different types of transfers: promotions and lateral transfers, and their scope should be adapted to the ability and willingness of the worker – she explains.
After the initial research, the experience and competences of an employee should be thoroughly analyzed. One should also juxtapose the strengths and weaknesses of an employee. This will facilitate the determination of the different stages of development, which will allow to achieve professional goals.
When determining the stages of development (usually the successive positions which the employee may take), the period of time within which the position will be taken should also be settled. This way the employee will have more motivation to follow the right direction at work. After specifying the two abovementioned aspects, the final action is to indicate the ways to achieve the set goals.
Developing the career path with combined effort of the employee and the supervisor allows for avoiding labor disputes. Defining the specific requirements for the position clearly delineates the criteria to be met by an employee to reach the next career move.
Developing and implementation of career paths will bring a number of benefits not only to the employee, but also to the employer. The employer is fully aware of the fact, that the employees are really interested in the development within the organization, and consequently, their loyalty to the company rises. A career path tailored to the individual predispositions of an employee allows for using the full potential of the employee.
Remember, however, that creating career paths means more than creating the opportunities for promotion of the employees. Each path has to refer to the structure of the company, especially because the career development might vary greatly in different companies. With the development of the labor market, the meaning of the company changes.
It’s the time of innovations, when the company is something more than just a collection of solutions sanctioned by tradition – admits Sylwia Wiszowata. A company is an individual creation which processes the resources into effects, gaining the remuneration and the recognition of customers. Remember, that it’s mostly people who make the company, but other resources - material, financial or information - cannot be forgotten. This is why each company has a unique organizational - technological - strategic profile.
The overall organization of the company affects its position. However, disregard for the career paths means ignoring the human aspect, which is the main pillar of any business. Concern for employee’s development is also taking care of the company's market position and strengthening its overall image.