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April 30th, 2021 · 5 min read

A guide to employee career pathing: Everything HR leaders need to know

employee career pathing featured image

What is career pathing?

Career ladder vs career path

Who is responsible for career pathing?

Benefits of employee career pathing

  • Employee engagement: Today’s workforce wants to be enriched both personally and professionally by their job. Career pathing allows employees to learn more about their own competencies and clearly see their value within the organization, leading to better overall engagement. 
  • Retention: A limited career path is one of the top reasons employees might consider leaving a company. Dedicated career pathing helps to mitigate this and reduce the risk of turnover. Clear growth potential provides employees with something to strive for every day and gives them a reason to stay with your organization.
  • Succession planning: Career pathing for employees can help an organization prepare for the future by having the right team member already lined up to fill an open role. This allows you to close skill gaps, identify potential leaders early on and leverage strategic skills development to support career mobility.
  • Business health: Initiatives that support employee growth and wellness ultimately work to uplift and accelerate the company as a whole. Engaged, long-term employees who love their jobs have a number of positive effects on the health of an organization — from lower absenteeism to increased productivity.

How to develop employee career paths

Outline the structure of your organization

Identify role requirements for individual career paths

Create a unique career path for each role

Implement a comprehensive learning and development program

Career pathing starts during onboarding

How to measure the impact of employee career paths

  • Career mobility: Simply put, this is a long-term measure of whether your employees are moving up or not. What percentage of team members are reaching their goals? Are they receiving promotions? Do they feel they are receiving adequate training? Do they have the skills required to perform in their future role?
  • Return on investment (ROI): How you measure the ROI of your career pathing efforts will largely depend on other key talent development metrics that are specific to your business.

The importance of career pathing

You can address talent development challenges