How to Create a Career Map that Works


Your best employees want to grow.

If they believe there is room for growth and career development within your organization, they’ll stick by you. If they don’t, they will leave in search of greener pastures. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to provide career development opportunities and to make your employees aware of them.

How can you do that in a way that is scalable?

Most businesses, particularly enterprise-level organizations, have invested in arduous processes that educate new employees about different roles, departments, and ways to advance within the company. These career mapping or career pathing programs show employees how to reach target positions. This style of career development involves numerous steps with associated, specific training sessions and tedious workshops.

Many organizations have found these programs to be counterproductive. Besides overwhelming employees with too much information, the market changes so rapidly, that much of the information is quickly rendered obsolete and no longer useful.

The best way to implement a career development program is to break it down into smaller, manageable parts and have employees consume relevant information in stages as they move up the ladder of your corporate structure.

It’s not your responsibility to hold employees’ hands every step of the way, but organizations should enable employees to take ownership of their own career development.

A more succinct career mapping program might look something like this:

A hire’s first year should be solely focused on mastering their current role. A robust HR orientation could be followed up by team onboarding and all of the necessary training for them to do their job optimally. The training could be conducted through a mix of job training classes and having employees shadow employees currently working in the roles they will soon be filling.

For the next two to three years of their careers at your organization, your employees should be provided with classes and training sessions that will better acquaint them with their industry. Employers should also provide professional development coaching, helping employees hone their skills with a focus on grooming them for future management positions or continuing as individual contributors to the organization. Finally you can start training employees who have remained with your organization for approximately three years, for more senior management positions.

Costly, time consuming programs that attempt to teach new employees about every facet, department, role, and opportunity within an organization all at once are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The future of career development will be employees taking an active role in their own professional development while employers provide the guidance, support and opportunities.