employees looking and understanding the steps needed to develop a career path that leads to retention

Create Employee Career Paths that Increase Retention

Employee turnover is costly to organizations in many ways.


Financially, it costs an estimated 21% of an employee’s annual pay, according to the Center for American Progress. Additionally, turnover means the loss of experience, organizational knowledge, and a potential hit to morale for remaining employees. 

According to Glassdoor chief economist Andrew Chamberlain, Ph.D., one of the key factors in increasing employee retention is providing a viable career path. Studies have found that employees who stay in a job without a title change are more likely to look for their next step at another company. Creating a career path for your employees increases the likelihood that your top talent will remain in your organization – reducing your hiring and training costs.


Why building a career path matters

A sense of stagnation at a company is often what sends people out of the door, Chamberlain says. A clear career path tells a different story, particularly when employees can regularly move through job titles over time. Developing a career path for employees is more than just a strategy to increase employee retention. Implementing a career plan for your employees can also mean:

  1. Employees are empowered to own their career development. Employees need to understand what next steps in their career can look like. This enables them to determine which skills and competencies are needed to align with their career goals.

  2. Employees are empowered to honestly assess career goals, skills, experience, and educationA key factor for employees to advance in their career path is honestly understanding skills gaps and necessary training. When employees are actively managing their own career path, they are also actively managing their skills and abilities.

  3. Organizations differentiate themselves from competitorsWhen employers invest in their employee’s career development, it’s easy to differentiate from the competition. This investment shows employees that their organization has a vested interest in their future with the company.


What does a career path look like?


Traditionally, a career trajectory looked more like a ladder. However, the Society for Human Resource Management states that career paths can now include dual career ladders, horizontal options, and encore careers. While advancement into new levels of responsibility is one aspect of a career path, job redesign can also enrich an employees’ role. This helps employees refine skills to better prepare for more traditional advancement opportunities when they are available.

Similarly, a dual career ladder can offer a path for advancement without mandating supervisory or management positions. This is generally more applicable in a science, IT, medical, or engineering field. In these fields, professional training and expertise can become quite advanced. This means that innovation is essential and credentials or licenses can differentiate employee skill-sets.


6 essential steps to develop an employee career path

For organizations, providing resources and tools to assist employees in creating their career path is the important focus. To create an employee career path, organizations must:

  1. Update your organizational chart, and align it with the business planBusiness leaders must define what roles are essential to support future products or services included in the strategic plan.

  2. Define job descriptions and key responsibilities. This is important in guiding employees toward what additional skill sets they need to take on a position.

  3. Establish a road map for departments, teams, and business functions. Your road map should clearly outline how an entry-level employee can advance, and what lateral moves may also be available.

  4. Identify training needs and analyze potential development programs. Review existing resources to determine what supplemental needs may need to be outsourced.

  5. Task employees with developing a learning plan. This plan should be specific to their individual career goals.

  6. Utilize career management software to automate the process of career development. By providing employees the tools and resources needed to track their progress, your organization can analyze and measure career management data. This allows you to see how employee career paths, and development, are making a difference.


Is your organization refining its career management program or launching a comprehensive career path for your employees? Insala can help. With more than 30 years of experience, we’re equipped to help you identify all the potential roadblocks you haven’t considered, and the key value adds your employees will appreciate. Increase employee retention by developing a career path for your employees that keeps them invested in your business for years to come.


Request a demo to discover how our career management software can transform your organization’s approach to developing an employee career path.

Through innovative web-based SaaS technology, Insala partners with organizations to accelerate performance and drive evidence-based decisions for organizations and their people.

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