What is Career Path Mapping and Why Organizations Gain from Mapping Career Paths
What are a Career Path and a Career Map and Why Employees Need Such Plans
Professionals join organizations in the knowledge that their career progress and journey through the organizational life would be guaranteed over the course of their stints in them.
In other words, unless jobseekers know that they would be in such and such roles in the hierarchy after a few years, they would be beset with uncertainty as to how their career would progress in such organizations.
After all, all of us would want to reach certain heights in our careers and hence, there needs to be a plan both from our side and the organizations we join as to where we would be in a few years time, provided we perform well.
Therefore, a Career Map or a Career Path is a definite plan from the organizational angle to let their employees know that they can reach a certain role and expect to keep going in the chosen Career Path if all other things are taken care of.
Indeed, a Career Path is a plan that lets employees know how their journey would be and a Map that lets them chart how and when they would get there.
How Organizations Can Prepare Career Paths and Career Maps for their Employees
So, how do organizations prepare Career Paths and Career Maps? To start with, organizations need to divide the streams of roles into Technical, Managerial, Support Functions, and Executive positions.
In other words, they must first segregate the different functions into units that can be broken down to specific roles.
Say a Coder joins an organization and he or she would like to know where they would be in Five Years Time.
In this case, it is incumbent upon the organization to lay out a Path or a Map that is indicative of such progress.
Therefore, they must have a Plan that lets the Coder know that he or she would become an Architect, Solution Expert, or a Technical Manager in Five Years provided he or she performs well.
Likewise, for Managerial Staff, the organization must prepare a Map that shows how and when such employees can reach the Middle Management, Senior Management, and provided if they excel in their jobs, reach Executive Positions.
Similarly, for the Support Functions, there must be a clear path for the Human Resources, Admin, IT Support, and Finance, among others, to indicate how they would progress through the organization with the Caveats as mentioned before.
Why Organizations Need to be Flexible and Why Career Paths Must be Dynamic as Well
Having said that, a Career Path does not mean that employees are necessarily Pigeonholed into specific roles and their progress within the organization is restricted to them.
In other words, there needs to be flexibility and adaptability as far as Career Paths are concerned that would ensure a lateral as well as a horizontal movement for switching roles.
For instance, it should not always be the case that Coders would be constricted to Technical Roles and indeed, if they show aptitude and determination, they can become Managers as well as other Decision Making positions.
Indeed, the main advantage of having a Specific Career Path is that it lets all employees plan their progress and whenever needed, update such plans to take into account the changing conditions.
In other words, a Career Map or a Career Path must be Dynamic and be able to incorporate internal and external changes as and when possible.
In our working experience, we have come across colleagues who started out as Software Engineers and then went on to become Sales Experts and Relationship Managers after discovering that they have a natural flair for such roles.
Moreover, we have also come across lateral and horizontal career shifts.
How Career Maps Help Employees Realize Their Ambitions and Fulfil Their Aspirations
The reason why organizations must have definite Career Paths and Career Maps is that employees are motivated to perform well only when they are sure that they can reach a particular role in X years.
Moreover, all of us are aspirational by nature and hence, we need to know what and how to reach a certain level that we aspire to.
On the other hand, there are Middle Managers and Senior Managers who often quit large organizations to join Start-ups or launch their own firms so that they can follow their passions after accumulating savings and are in a position to experiment with their careers.
Of course, there are many organizations that retain such managerial and executive staff by giving them the chance to head units and divisions as well as work in other streams so that they can follow their passions within the existing organization.
In other words, we have different motivations at different stages of our careers and a Career Map is a step towards helping us envisage what we want and how we should get it.
Moreover, a Career Path lets employees have a personal vision and a sense of mission that would help them plan ahead.
Walking the Talk through Career Maps
Last, there are many organizations that have a Vague or Unclear paths for their employees and this is where frustration seeps in among the employees as they neither know what they would be after a few years or worse, whether the organisation does care for these aspects.
Inevitably, there is attrition in such organizations and employees flock to Greener Pastures after sometime.
Hence, it is our argument that organizations must care for their employees and in addition, must show that they care by walking the Talk.
To conclude, mapping and charting employee progress through the organizational hierarchy helps all stakeholders.
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Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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