Promote from within: design career paths for retention and engagement

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Retention, engagement, succession planning – these are the big issues for HR and are not easily solved. Yet some companies have found success after implementing so-called ‘career pathing’ as a tool to improve all three of these HR verticals.

‘Career pathing’ is a simple concept: help employees visualize their future path through the company and give them the tools to achieve that - but it’s a step that’s not always taken.

Even companies with high engagement results sometimes miss opportunities to keep workers on side simple by not offering them these chances to develop. It’s a reality ING Direct had to face when its employees told the company “I love working for ING Direct but I don’t see it as a career path for me” in an annual survey.

The company re-evaluated what it offered and how it offered it, CEO Peter Aceto said. While they had a number of ways for workers to move up the ladder or between departments, it seemed employees either didn’t know about those options, or didn’t think the right path was available for them.

“We’ve been a lot more deliberate about career pathing for people, so when a call centre associate joins the bank we have a much clearer view about the career paths that person can take,” Aceto said. “Depending on their interests and how well they do we have actually mapped out career options taking them through a journey with the bank.”

The company also added resources to their leadership development programs, including self-help tools. One of the most successful programs they offer to high potential workers is their “Orange Rotation”. Employees spend up to two years rotating through different areas of the bank such as risk management, marketing, sales and service.

“It gives them exposure to other leaders and out of that comes a better rounded individual who is stronger and more knowledgeable,” Aceto said.

The bank won’t know until October the exact outcome, but so far word around the office is that the system is working.

One Canadian company that has been career pathing its workers from the store floor to the executive suite is Loblaw. A number of its chief executives started off working in the floor and they offer a range of ways for workers to get to management or corporate positions.

Next page: How does Loblaw ensure 90% of their department, store and district manager roles are filled internally?

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  • Anna Thompson on 2012-08-22 5:37:58 AM

    Love this - I started working in retail at 17 and worked my way up through management over about six years. It was a great start to my career, and I like to think a great way for the company to keep me on board!

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