Why and How to Build a Career Path Program in Your Organization

Career Plan 210Businesses of all sizes provide some form of perks, benefits, or resources to their employees. The larger the organization, the more benefits, and perks. This is a tougher challenge for the small business owner. However, to compete, they must provide some attractive incentives.  If a company can afford expensive benefits and incentive packages, great. But there are benefits that are budget friendly, such as a career path program. Of course, while the benefit of a career path program is obvious for the employee, this begs the question, what is in building a career path for the company and how do you do it anyway?

The Why

Every business owner, especially small business owners, understand that people can be a source of frustration, challenges, and expense. But have you ever tried running a business of any size without them? People are essential to business, period. Therefore, keeping them happily and productively working for you is also essential, period.   


Are employees an asset or an expense? It depends. If you’re sitting on an accountant’s side of the ledger, they are an expense as an article by Leadx explains. On the other side of the ledger, “Assets are company resources which have future economic value.” The Leadx article suggests that this is how great leaders view people. It makes good business sense to invest in a “future economic value.”

Turnover is an expense regardless of which side of the ledger you are sitting. Having a career path for your people helps increase retention, thereby reducing expensive turnover costs.

Having a career path in place helps recruit top, diversified, and those people seeking an “employee centric” culture in which to work. All these further help reduce costs, boost productivity, and innovation.

How to Build a Career Path Program

Building a career path program does not have to involve a lot of expense or labor. All organizations are either growing or dying. The same applies to small companies. Therefore, it becomes imperative to sell the idea of growth opportunities within your small company as well as your plans for growth.

  • Dust off your strategic plan. If you do not know where your company is headed, you will be unable to create a career path program that will take you there.
  • Review your organizational chart. First, create one if you do not have one. Ensure that all the positions are currently active. In other words, are there people filling all positions? Are current positions servicing your business and doing it in a profitable manner? In reviewing your strategic plan, what positions will you need to add both near and long-term?
  • Position descriptions are essential tools to keep everyone and every job on track. OK, these may be a little labor intensive, but there are plenty of resources available, especially if you are not at that crucial 50 employee mark, where you must begin considering adding an HR Department.
  • Training and Development. While many organizations put these important functions at the low end of need, employees have them at the top. Can you say disconnect? Investing in training and developing the very assets that fuel your “future economic value” seems like a no brainer.
  • Tracking Systems. Tracking the process and progress of every person in your career path program is a necessary element to understand the engagement in your growth, succession planning, and strategic plan implementation. Again, these need not be expensive, labor intensive or time consuming. However, it is imperative that you know who is where in their growth process, their achievement levels, and how all this aligns with your organizational needs.

Regardless of the size and growth goals for your organization, leadership, talent management and strategic workforce planning need to be top of mind. If you would like more information on career path planning for your organization, Let's get started

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Succession Planning,, Human Resources,, Employee Development, Career Development