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Attract and Retain Millennials with Solid Career Pathing

rw-admin | 02/23/2017

Career Path ladder

It’s no surprise that in the current candidate-driven market, employers have to adjust, rethink and implement new strategies to not only attract, but also retain talented employees.  There has been a lot of research presented over the past few years on learning to understand what motivates the Millennial generation and how to better merge workplace styles and expectations. The concept of career pathing has emerged as a valuable tool that can give your company the advantage over one that does not offer such a career track when hiring Millennials.

Career pathing is basically defined as a systematic approach to career development, enabling employees to map out advancement. By presenting employees a clearly defined plan showing career progression, they become more engaged in their roles and the development of their careers.  This increases job satisfaction and retention among Millennials. When asked in a MRI Network study, 53% of Millennials sited career pathing as an effective tool to engage and retain them.

First, it may be important to understand why this would be important to Millennials.  This generation has had much of their life mapped out for them, and expect no different in their professional lives. From organized playdates and highly structured youth sports, they are used to progressing onward and upward. Even their educational path was logically laid out before them – high school to college, college to grad school or grad school to their first job. They are naturally conditioned to have a clearly defined path forward.

How does career pathing benefit employers?

  1. Employers can differentiate themselves from competitors by investing in their employees’ career development.
  2. It is a way for companies to develop internally the skills needed to achieve future business goals. This can potentially reduce the investment in recruiting, hiring and onboarding new employees.
  3. It provides clear, predetermined criteria for advancement, by charting out a course of action along with goals and benchmarks. Resulting in less or no surprises.
  4. It produces happier, more manageable, easier-to-retain workforce by providing a win-win scenario for both employers and employees.

Creating these progression maps is not an easy task.  It takes serious thought and time investment to fully develop a logical, attainable path between positions A and B, C and ultimately position D.  A Cornell University paper When Developing a Career Path, What are the Key Elements to Include?, details the following steps when designing a career path from scratch:

Step 1: Create a Career Roadmap

Step 2: Build Position Profiles

Step 3: Identify Core Competencies and Expected Behaviors

Step 4: Incorporate Training and Development

Step 5: Establish Accountability

A 2016 Gallup poll determined “career development” as the top factor in retaining Millennials.   Conversations about development and progression are vital to their retention. Disclosing that there is a clear upward career path during the interviewing and onboarding process can motivate and comfort this generation. This can be a beneficial tool in both attracting and retaining valuable employees in the ever shrinking pool of skilled talent.

Written by: Angie Barnes, The Q Works Group