Career Pathing: A Clear Map Forward for Employees

| Kelli Howard

Over the past two years, we have endured a pandemic, the Great Resignation, supply chain issues, and the list goes on. It’s not surprising that many firms are reporting less than sparkling numbers when it comes to employee satisfaction. Across the board, employees cite unclear expectations, equipment and technology inefficiencies, and reduced opportunities in their current positions as reasons for dissatisfaction. In fact, a recent Gallup survey found that only 32% of US workers feel engaged in their work—that’s a shocking figure.

So, how can you show your employees their potential throughout their career experience? Start with a clear career path.

With a formal career progression mapped out, employees can visualize the various paths they can take from their current position and what is required to achieve that next role. For instance, an Office Technician can view their specific career path from a Technician I to the next level and all the way up to even a CEO role. Having this knowledge motivates employees to start or further their training and professional development courses and tailor an approach to accelerate their upward mobility throughout their careers.

Career pathing not only helps retain employees by creating opportunities and increasing job satisfaction, but it also aids in the attraction process for recruiting. I have seen firsthand that when candidates can see beyond the job they are being hired for and look into the future to where they want to go at a company, they are more excited to join the team.

Additionally, in the AEC industry and beyond, we’ve seen that engaged employees are more productive than otherwise talented but less committed ones. By giving employees a clear path forward, they become more invested in the company’s overall success, are more satisfied within their positions, and are less likely to look elsewhere for opportunities.

At SAM, we developed a Career Path two years ago after receiving feedback from our employees that they could not “see” opportunities for advancement. This was a shock to our team. All we saw were vast opportunities across the board. To address this need, we created a well-documented career path for each department in the company. We published this in our in-house training system and made it available online through our Career Path Explorer. Now, our 1,300+ employees have a detailed view of their next promotion level and future opportunities.

A career path system will only succeed when coupled with a culture that both encourages and supports professional development. Encouraging employees to seek technical training and take advantage of any management and leadership courses provided throughout the year is vital. For employees whose learning needs extend beyond the company’s in-house capabilities, offering a strong tuition reimbursement program and paid training for professional certifications will benefit both your employees and their value to the organization. SAM is a professional services business. Our people are one of our key competitive advantages. As such, we work on all these fronts to build our employees’ competencies for the next stage of their career because that provides strong benefits for each employee and our organization overall.

So, dust off those job descriptions and start building the roadmap for your future leaders and check out SAM’s Career Path Explorer to see how we’ve laid out progression paths for our employees.

Kelli Howard

Kelli joined SAM in 2012. She has over 16 years of experience in recruiting, with more than eight in the A/E/C industry. She leads the talent acquisition team, with a primary focus in attracting and retaining top talent.

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