Career Management

Widening the Career Path to Retain Millennials


We have been reading a lot of research studies on the increase of millennials in our workforce. By 2030, about 75% of an organizations workforce is said be comprised of millennials. Are organizations truly prepared to recruit and retain valuable millennial employees? Organizations across industries expend large amounts of energy and funds towards talent management. Motivation and engagement will always remain managerial priorities, however if organizations need to fulfill talent gaps through candidates in the job market, especially millennials, they need to look at providing career advancement opportunities to them.

What is career pathing?
Career pathing is the process used by an employee to chart a course within an organization for his or her career path and career development. Career pathing involves understanding what knowledge, skills, personal characteristics, and experience are required for an employee to progress his or her career laterally, or through access to promotions and / or departmental transfers.

Integrating a career pathing program into an organization’s talent strategy is critical as a means of attracting and retaining talent. Developing, implementing and promoting career path programs can help establish your company as a preferred employer. Organizations need to tap the right skill set, identify potential amongst their employees and provide them with a customized career path – a path that could perhaps be unexplored for the employee as well as the organization.  By aligning talent management initiatives and ensuring association between job roles, desired skills, competencies and experience, career paths help organizations build a solid talent pipeline and ensure competitive advantage.

A question worth answering is that raised by Sylvia Vorhauser – Smith in her article

What if you were able to tap the latent interests, experience, education and skills in your workforce and apply them in ways previously unused?

She says, the mindset needed to recognize and leverage these opportunities is that lateral career paths that are driven not by hierarchy, but by the interests, passions and possibly hidden skills of your workforce. Most organizations have invested heavily in competency frameworks that are all about transferable skill-sets. (However) Few use these powerful frameworks to really unleash career opportunities.

Motivational value
As mentioned above, the younger work force today is motivated by factors like upward mobility and a clear career advancement strategy provided to them. Since the work force has (or will soon have) a heavy composition of millennials, it is essential that HR executives consider their expectations. Millennials don’t want to climb the traditional ladder. They are seeking multiple career paths and career advancement opportunities which are not limited to compensation alone.

Historically, career advancement was built upon seniority and time of service. Millennials don’t think that way. They value results over tenure and are sometimes frustrated with the amount of time it takes to work up the career ladder. They want career advancement much quicker than older generations are accustomed to. So for the high achievers who do show the potential to rise up the ranks quickly, why not let them? A relatively simple solution, such as adding more levels, grades or other ‘badges’, could be enough to meet their expectations. – PWC article on managing millennials

At a high-level, organizations need to develop a robust framework for career pathing as a part of their talent management infrastructure. In order to implement career pathing in its talent management strategy, organizations need to identify the roles, skills and define parameters that are required to be achieved/possessed by employees to advance to certain roles.

It is imperative that organizations do everything within their capacity to strengthen employee commitment towards the organization and redirect their focus. Well-crafted career paths and development opportunities can play a pivotal role in driving organizational change and building greater workforce potential.

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