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How to Leverage Career Path Planning to Keep Your A-Team Intact

When employees join your company, the last thing they want to feel is stuck. In fact, 45% of employees leave their jobs in pursuit of better professional development opportunities—almost as often as they leave for better pay. Without room to grow in your organization, your team members will find somewhere else to plant their roots. 

So, how do you ensure employees feel supported, even when a promotion can’t always happen every year? That’s where career path planning comes in. 

Career path planning is all about carving out clear paths for your team members to reach their professional goals. It adds transparency to promotions, provides an ongoing sense of progression, and helps managers give the right resources to their teams—all of which are key to long-term employee retention. Here’s what you need to know to get started. 

4 Steps for Developing a Career Path Framework 

career path planning

Effective career path planning starts with developing a framework for advancement within your organization. These four steps will help you define opportunities for every position, so you can easily design personalized career advancement plans. 

  1. Map Out Your Organization

Structure is essential to clear career path plans. Before determining where employees can go, identify where they’re at. Take time to update your organizational chart and job descriptions so you can fully understand what needs your current workforce is covering. 

Then, build out your organizational chart to include the roles you expect to fill in the next few years. As you start achieving the goals in your business plan, what skills will you need to continue your momentum? Odds are, you’ll start to see gaps that your current employees can naturally fill through professional growth. 

  1. Consider Adjusting Your Structure

As you review the structure of your organization, consider any need for adjustments. In this stage, it can be helpful to get insights from managers and your human resources team. For example, if you learn that employees leave after two years without promotions, you can consider moving away from a flat structure and implementing smaller, more frequent promotions. 

As you revisit your hierarchy, it’s important to consider compensation data. Reviewing market rates will help you determine what frequency of promotions is feasible for your organization. Read our 2023 Supply Chain Salary Guide to learn about expected salaries for key positions in the industry. 

Changes to your structure don’t have to happen right away, but knowing what your organization will look like in the long run will help you create more sustainable career paths. 

  1. Identify Potential Paths for Each Role

Once a clear organizational structure is established, you can draw out potential career paths. Make sure you have more than one option for each role. Not every person in the same position will be interested in taking the same path, and flexibility will always lend a hand in retention. 

Discussing the most common career paths in your company with managers can help you map out where people with similar skillsets can move. Don’t be afraid to get creative—sometimes, lateral transfers can help employees reach their goals, too. 

  1. Establish Training Programs for Each Career Path

Finally, it’s important to design career development plans that show how you’ll support employees on every path. Think about the trainings, mentorship opportunities, and continuing education resources you can provide to get employees from one position to the next. This extra step in career path planning will ensure employees feel supported throughout their tenure. 

How to Implement Career Path Planning 

career path planning two people meeting

With a framework for career path development in place, managers should schedule one-on-one meetings to discuss professional goals with their employees. This meeting is an opportunity to get to know each team member’s long-term interests and identify the career paths that suit their skills, experiences, and goals. 

Once you determine an ideal career path, you can create career maps for every individual on your team. Career maps should provide target timelines and action steps for team members to achieve their next promotion. This allows managers to regularly review progress with employees, so they can work together to stay on track. 

Treat each career map as flexible. Over time, new career goals can replace old ones—and organizations that accommodate those very human changes will be best set up for retention. 

Nurture Your A-Team Through Career Pathing 

Learning how to enhance career development is critical for improving your employee retention rate. Through career path planning, you can show your team members your commitment to investing in their skills and helping them achieve their desired growth. 

Start by building out a career path framework, which helps you understand your organizational chart and training needs. Then, collaborate with your employees to map out their journey up the career ladder. 

When you’re ready to hire new employees, discuss your career progression framework with Total Talent Search. We’ll connect you to supply chain leaders who can best fill your organizational gaps in the long term—we have a 98% retention rate on placements to prove it. 


Have more questions on how to speed up your hiring process? Connect with the experts at Total Talent Search to find your next hire in no time.


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