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Pathways: people need to know where they are going and why

Do you struggle to retain talented people with your business?  Do people learn and grow with the needs of your business?  How well are you creating career pathways and engaging your team?

The opportunity to be a part of a thriving organisation and do meaningful work is important to most career minded people.  Talented and ambitious people typically have a desire to contribute, learn, grow and advance both their capabilities and careers.  For many, an organisations vision, mission and culture are central to their decisions to join the team, stay or move on.

Attracting and retaining talented people takes a deliberate approach that inspires engagement, enables learning and rewards contributions.  Creating clear pathways down which people can travel is essential to any organisations ability to not only retain but also leverage the talent and energy people are able to bring.

Provide Direction

For people to add value they need to understand their role and want to play it.  A member of your team needs to understand not only what he or she must achieve today but also how they contribute to the success of tomorrow.  Just as important is their understanding of how they can grow and advance their careers with your business.

  1. Vision and Strategy. Provide an inspiring vision for your organisations future and how you intend to get there.  Share your organisations aspirations – what you want to become and achieve.  Paint a clear picture of what is both desirable and possible. Give insight to why you want to achieve what you want to.  Help people to see the difference your organisation does and can make.
  2. Career Pathways. Show the career directions and steps people can take with your business. Begin by creating career pathways that help people to understand the capabilities they can build, experience they can gain and ultimately the career rewards available to them.
  3. Clarity and Coaching. Clearly articulate the role you need each person to play to enable success.  Set expectations and provide meaning feedback that allows people to understand how they are tracking and how they can improve.  Guide and support people to learn from experience and adopt more successful approaches over time.

Provide Meaning

People are entirely more likely to thrive in their role and careers when they feel connected with what they do. As Simon Sinek, best selling author suggests, knowing why their job and your business are important gives people a sense of purpose, cause, or belief that inspires them to do what they need to do.

  1. Share your mission. Talk to every new member of your team about why your organisation exists and what purpose it aims to fulfil.  Remind people regularly how your vision is aligned to fulfilling your mission.  Sharing in your history and reason for your journey ahead is a powerful way of engaging people with important objectives and creating a sense of belonging with your organisation.
  2. Recognise contributions. Providing feedback not only allows people to learn from experience it helps them appreciate the importance of the role they play.  Ensure people understand the impacts of their role on the success of the team and business by regularly drawing their attention to how they make a difference.
  3. Reward achievement. Reinforce the behaviours and outcomes you want by rewarding success.  Maintain the standard of expectations you set when deciding who and what to reward or recognise.  Help people to feel that they make a difference by showcasing the valuable contributions they make.

Manage Careers

Retaining talented and energised able to deliver on your organisations vision today and into the future requires a deliberate approach to career management.

  1. Grow your own talent. Adopting a ‘grow-your-own’ strategy means working to develop specific capabilities needed in the future.  It also means supporting people to grow their capabilities and advance their careers in line with your business requirements. Start with your organisation’s strategic plan and deliberately foster the competencies needed to succeed.
  2. Development planning. With a clear view of the career paths people can pursue, you are able to set targeted development goals and implement learning solutions. Take a long-term view of the development priorities of your people.  Ensure you focus equally on the needs of the business and supporting them to achieve their career aspirations within your business.  Focus on learning milestones and ensure people understand the opportunities each presents to assume bigger roles and greater accountability.
  3. Show progress. For people to feel a sense of progression they need to know they are learning and achieving.  Set milestone objectives that allow people to see how they are moving toward their goals.


About the author

Karen GatelyKaren Gately is a leadership and people-management specialist and a founder of Ryan Gately. Karen works with leaders and HR teams to drive business results through the talent and energy of people. She is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical guide to getting the best from people (Wiley) and The Corporate Dojo: Driving extraordinary results through spirited people. For more information visit www.karengately.com.au or contact info@ryangately.com.au


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Karen Gately

Karen Gately

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