The Path of Least Resistance: Aligning Opportunity and Trajectory for Successful Employee Career Pathing

Cristina Mateescu

Picture this: You’ve spent months interviewing potential candidates, narrowed it down to your top picks, and offered the position to your soon-to-be new hire. Twelve months later that same new hire is suddenly leaving your organization for a different opportunity. 
 

What happened? Too often, it’s because they couldn’t visualize their career path within your organization. In fact, 63% of employees who leave their jobs do so because they don’t feel there are opportunities for advancement. Without the opportunity for internal mobility and supportive career pathing for employees, you risk facing continued (and costly) turnover. 
 

Employee turnover is expensive, often costing companies double the employee’s salary to replace them. Today’s labor market is competitive, and unless you’re prioritizing your employee’s career path by providing opportunities for next steps through gigs, learning and development courses, or other similar programs, you’ll quickly find yourself in the same position again and again – rewriting that latest job description to fill yet another role. 
 

To attract and retain your best employees, you must move beyond traditional business models to offer an engaging internal mobility platform, encourage customizable career paths that highlight employee talent, and create a structured employee referral program.
 

How to Overcome Internal Mobility Challenges to Drive a Positive Employee Experience
 

Despite the significant benefits, not enough companies prioritize moving talent or having a formal talent mobility program. To put it into perspective, only 51% of L&D professionals say that internal mobility is more of a priority now than before the pandemic.
 

Challenges to successful internal mobility can include:

  • Strategic alignment
  • Manager resistance
  • Recruiter challenges
  • Lack of internal visibility into job opportunities
  • Lack of visibility into current employee skill sets
  • Diminished employer brand

 
So, how do we move past these barriers to improve internal mobility and employee career pathing?
 

Two words: Cultural shift.
 

Creating a framework for internal mobility in the organization is more than a promotion, 401K, or paid time off. It’s the opportunity for employees to shape their future, bringing their true talents into clear view in support of their organization.
 

And it’s all supported by technology. An internal mobility platform creates visibility into open positions within your organization as well as the individual talents your employees possess. This two-way viewpoint allows for organizations to better match between skills and jobs, creating personalized recommendations for the workforce and making it easy for recruiters to search and find employees with the right skills for open roles.
 

The best part? Recruiting from within results in faster time-to-hire, increased productivity, and long-term employee retention.
 


Related: 5 Best Practices for Your Internal Mobility Strategy



Offer Employees a Clear Trajectory for the Future
 

With a job market that’s constantly evolving, companies must be ready to grow and retain employees for jobs that don’t yet exist. The average shelf life of a skillset is less than five years, which means that helping employees learn and upskill is imperative to both their continued success and the company’s bottom line.
 

In order to keep your most valuable employees, you must systematically and effectively address skills gaps — the divide between the skills employers expect employees to have and the skills employees and job seekers actually possess — and identify opportunities to transition talent into best-fit roles within your organization.
 

Once an internal mobility platform is in place, employees can create concrete career paths, focusing on what opportunities the company can provide for them and what learning and development courses they may need to take to gain the skills needed for their desired career trajectory. 
 

With opportunities to grow their skills and take on new professional challenges through a talent marketplace, employees are rewarded for their efforts without having to leave the company for new opportunities.
 


Related: 6 Ways To Engage Employees for a More Meaningful EX



Creating a Referral Program that Works 
 

How can organizations help managers and HR teams do their part to support employee growth and development while empowering employees to be proactive in their career planning? Through employee referral programs.
 

A structured referral program creates a pipeline for potential talent that you can truly rely on for your hiring process. The lack of a referral program leaves employees referring candidates haphazardly, and those recommendations easily get lost in the shuffle.
 

Balancing the quality of hire with speed can pose a major challenge. However, with a well-functioning referral program, you can cut through the noise and quickly find qualified candidates from the people who know your company best — your existing employees. 
 

Implementing a referral program may take some initial effort upfront, but with the right support from management and customized technology, you can reap the rewards of referrals.
 

Here’s how to start:

  • Aggregate your pool of open positions with clear descriptions and necessary qualifications
  • Create an internal portal or system of communication, creating visibility into your existing positions
  • Develop a process for referrals, including any incentives for successful referrals
  • Leverage employee experience technology to automate processes for both the hiring managers and the employees


With a strategy like this in place, your referral program leaves employees feeling valued and validated, happy to help bring top talent to your organization.
 


Related Customer Story: The Sky’s the Limit: Inside Southwest’s Employee Referral Program



Retaining Talent
 

Today, employees can choose from a massive pool of employers, and if they feel they can’t grow and learn new skills or don’t have the opportunity to adjust their role within the same company, they are quick to leave.
 

The percentage of employees switching careers rose 37% over the course of one year — and too often than not, it’s because people feel they aren’t being invested in. The very nature of work is changing, and if employees are to remain relevant, they need to acquire new skills to fill the jobs of the future.
 

For employers who capitalize on their best assets – their employees – and invest in their growth within the organization, attracting and retaining top talent is easier than ever.
 

Want to learn more? Watch our recent webinar on Elevating Opportunity & Trajectory. You’ll learn how to better connect current employees with their next role and empower them with skills-based opportunities, all while decreasing time-to-hire and turnover.

 

 

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