58 per cent of modern employees, mainly Millennials and Gen Xers, opine that having access to professional development increases job satisfaction while significantly decreasing retention.
More than compensation and work culture, employees want concrete career goals and realistic ways to achieve them. This trend is one of the reasons why many companies are starting to put more effort toward initiatives for career progression.
Activism toward career progression is continuously changing the landscape of employment. While this concept is no longer new, many employers and employees do not fully understand the effects of career progression opportunities. After all, both parties may reap benefits when everything plays well.
What is career progression?
Simply put, career progression pertains to one’s advancement in the career ladder.
It is important to note that everyone’s career paths may look different because progress may happen vertically or horizontally. For example, becoming a manager is as much progress as gaining more privileges while staying in a current role.
Why is career progression important?
The primary purpose of career progression is to inspire employees’ career growth and satisfaction. As employees acquire better skills and build expertise in their respective careers, the company can become more competitive as a unified unit.
Overall, career progression can be mutually beneficial because it bolsters employees’ careers while enhancing the company’s overall competency.
Benefits of career progression to professional development
The relevance of career progression to professional development is clear as day. However, only a few realize that career progression can trigger various development opportunities regardless of position or industry.
This list summarizes some of the most noteworthy career progression benefits critical to employer and employee development:
1. Better job opportunities
Staying in the same role will only present you with similar job opportunities. Therefore, it is necessary to undergo a career progression if you want to open your career to more exciting jobs and projects. You will be surprised by what is waiting in store for you.
Getting better job opportunities is not only unlockable through internal promotions. Transferring to another department or handling different clients also counts as career progression. Leaving a position you have been with for years is a gamble, but it is essential to attain success.
2. Face new challenges
Workplace procrastination is a menace to both employers and employees. It can happen when employees perform the same things repeatedly for a long time. As a result, these become more likely to be complacent and irresponsible with their duties.
Human beings are dynamic creatures and require challenges to grow. Employees should undergo career progression to add spice to their careers and feel more motivated to do better. It is wrong to feel satisfied with the same work performance for years when trends and standards keep evolving.
3. Training and development
Besides better job opportunities and finding new challenges, career progression is about learning more advanced skills and having new experiences.
There is no future for an employee who refuses to undergo training every once in a while. The growing competition in the job marketplace will make one valueless and easily replaceable.
The relationship between employees and employers should be symbiotic to keep jobs and other employment opportunities. Thus, employees should take every chance they can to grow and be an asset to the company.
4. Improve self-confidence
Many think that self-confidence is only relevant to a person’s social needs. However, from the employers’ perspective, self-confidence is a key trait that teaches employees to become motivated contributors and role models. The more self-confident employees become, the more effective they are at work.
Self-confidence also inspires employees to grow as leaders. When employees become self-confident, they will learn to trust their decisions and work with less supervision. As a result, employees become more efficient, responsible, and capable of taking over complicated tasks.
5. A better understanding of company issues
Most low-rank employees fail to notice and assess company-wide issues because their perspectives are limited.
After all, they only do more straightforward tasks without regard for management and organizational problems. Career progression resolves this issue because rising to a higher position renews a person’s view of a particular workplace.
Career development help employees feel more for the company. After rising to a higher position, employees feel more involved. As their responsibilities grow, they will start looking at issues they did not pay attention to before.
6. Anticipate future career trends
An employee’s career progression plan is an attempt to prepare for future career trends. No one is resistant to change—even the biggest and most successful companies. One thing companies can do to prepare for the worse is to update the competencies of their employees constantly.
Employees should also anticipate future trends because not all work opportunities are permanent. For example, you may lose you job today and fail to get into a similar position in the future due to incompetency and rising work standards.
7. Increase employee retention
Losing employees is debilitating for many companies. Although all employees are technically “replaceable,” repeated hiring and onboarding processes can be financially draining. It is more practical to keep employees, train them, and provide opportunities to help them grow with the company.
Career progression helps with increasing a company’s employee retention rate. After all, having better job opportunities make employees happy and excited enough to keep coming to work.
Tips when building a career progression plan
One of the biggest mistakes in creating a career progression plan is attempting to build one without sufficient knowledge of what a career progression framework should be like.
There are no hard and fast rules in drafting career progression plans, but it is better to be strategic. These tips can lead you in the right direction:
1. Set SMART goals
It is typical for employers and employees to know what they want but not about reaching their goals. Setting SMART goals is a progressive approach to drafting a career progression plan because it will guide stakeholders in setting what needs to happen.
Besides efficiency and organization, SMART goals also offer transparency. This tool enables stakeholders to track goals and activities with better accuracy without exerting excessive effort.
2. Know where every employee stands
Every employee starts somewhere, but not everyone is at the same starting line. Employers should realize that other people’s career progression plans may require more preparation than others and vice versa. This effort will help even the playing field and give everyone equal opportunities for success.
Also, employers should know everyone’s starting points for monitoring purposes. It will be impossible to gauge progress without knowing how much has changed since the first implementation of the career progression plan.
3. Gather feedback from employees
Gathering feedback is an interactive way of acquiring constructive criticism from employees. It is a healthy practice because the company implies that employees’ opinions matter. Also, the company is saying that it wants to grow with its people’s interests in mind.
Company executives can only make realistic and effective career progression plans with employees’ feedback. Higher-ups should step into their subordinates’ shoes to understand the best career path for a specific position.
4. Seek experts’ opinions and other development resources
Do not hesitate to ask industry leaders when you are inexperienced in creating career progression plans.
Experts had successes and failures while making career progression plans, so they know what to do and not to do. Work closely with them and receive as many new insights as possible.
While consulting with experts, you may also read published resources. Do not settle for one source and find lessons that best apply to your situation.
5. Integrate training courses
Career progression is limited to vertical or horizontal career development. A huge part of this process involves behind-the-scene preparations to ensure that an ascending employee is ready for greater responsibilities.
One of the fastest and most accessible ways to build skills and boost competencies is through career development courses. During the Internet age, interested individuals may no longer attend school. Nowadays, online courses allow employees to learn remotely through smartphones or computers.
6. Make it a collaborative process
Drafting career progression plans is a commitment and a half. It is crazy to think that this task is doable by a single person. To make a successful plan, other people should chip in.
Find reliable experts and stakeholders who can contribute valuable information. Distribute subtasks to others and work as a team. Aside from making the task feel lighter, soliciting the help of others exposes the plan to the perspective of different people.
7. Review the career progression framework of successful companies
There is nothing wrong with looking at well-made career progression frameworks. Although you exerted a lot of effort in making a presentable career progression plan, there are matters you will only notice once you compare it with other people’s output. Learn from others and improve your draft.
Getting inspired by others’ outputs is fine but never copy. Take components that you like and make them your own. Besides, career progression plans should be customized because everybody lives with unique circumstances.
Cheers to continuous career development
Career progression continues after even accomplishing specific career goals. Since the future is always uncertain, it is best to keep moving forward and create another career progression plan.
As you take a different direction, you might find new reasons to pursue even more challenging career goals.
Joseph is a writer at Skill Success. After college, he decided to take the law, however, after four years of uncertainty, he decided that lawyering was not his destiny. Joseph then decided to pursue content writing as a full-time career. He aims to keep on growing in the following years to become an even more competitive professional in this craft.