Everything You Wanted to Know About Career Paths But Were Afraid to Ask

Career pathing. For many of us working for organizations in the HR industry, I think the thought of creating a career pathing program seems like a pipe dream. But in today’s economy, it should be an important part of not just your company’s retention strategy, but also part of the larger employee development strategy. A lot of times, we think that employees leave because of their managers, but research from Korn Ferry says that employees are leaving not just because of their managers, but also because they are bored in their roles. To combat workplace boredom, among other things, career pathing is something companies of all sizes should be not just considering but executing on.
Today, I’m joined by Linda Ginac. Linda is the CEO of TalentGuard. Prior to TalentGuard, she founded a successful career development franchise, The Ginac Group, serving clients across the U.S. and Canada since 1999.

Linda walks us through the definition of a career path. She says it is the career map or path that an employee experiences. It is unique to the employee, and she says your work and career spans multiple different types of life cycles. These happen over time. Individuals employees need to be able to accelerate or downshift their own unique paths, and the different career directions that they might take. For example, as a new parent, an employee might choose to move to a different job or take a role that requires fewer hours or different skill sets. Employers need to prepare and provide support for employees wherever their life and unique career path takes them
The idea of career paths is not new, but the way in which employers are now supporting their employees is. Linda suggests that individual employees need to have a way to dictate the pace and direction. Employers who want to retain their experienced and productive workers must find ways to not only engage them, but to support them in their personal and professional aspirations wherever they may lead.

How Succession Plays a Role in Career Paths

It makes sense that a company’s succession plan will need to align with the interests and career paths of an employee or a group of employees. A succession plan, however, typically involves a small percentage of employees who have specific skills and experiences, and are considered high potential for the company. If an employee is identified as high potential, the organization needs to make certain that the employee’s own career goals and path are in alignment with the larger organization’s. Working together, the company and the individual can plan out training, skill building, and other experiences that will prepare them for the new role which can happen in the short term or longer term over 5 or even 10 years, depending on the specific skills that are required for that employee to gain.
I hope Linda’s interview sheds some light on career pathing. It seems simple, but it is more than an employee flow chart displayed in the break room. This is one of the biggest misconceptions I hear from not just employees, but senior leadership too. Things like competencies and intentional training program development are critical to helping employees not just be, but also feel productive. However, they take time, money and strategy to really build and leverage for the long term.
Connect with Linda Ginac.