Keeping Employee Growth Simple

4 min. read

Create a clear path for employees to develop their futures

Growth is a critical part of employee happiness. Growth simply means that a person feels like they can achieve their work goals. Understanding and supporting a person's work goals results in people feeling that there are growth opportunities at their workplace. The first step in the growth process is understanding and mastering the work tasks for a job. For some, the growth process includes opportunities to add new work tasks and responsibilities within a job. Growth can also include promotion opportunities, leadership roles, and other work goals.

Simplicity is the to unlocking employee happiness about growth. Employees who value growth want to know how to pursue their goals. Survey results regularly show that employees feel unhappy if they don't understand what is required to reach their personal growth goals. Information (like job descriptions or promotion charts) that is too complex leads employees to believe they can't grow or aren't really expected to grow. Instead, employees need simple, clear information on how to move up, move over, or take on leadership responsibilities. They need support and feedback to make it happen. Here's how to do it:

Create Career Path Resources

Career path resources are simple documents that show exactly how employees from each job title can move up or over to new job titles. They are not detailed as job descriptions, but they should correspond to them. Career paths enable employees to enjoy clear expectations on what's expected of them for growth. These show – in simple terms – the things employees need to learn, achieve, or demonstrate to move from one particular job title to another:

  • Demonstrated mastery in completing specific job products.
  • Consistent application of soft skills, such as customer service, team leadership, or problem solving.
  • Performance targets for work completed, efficiency, or customer satisfaction.
  • Completion of training or mentorship programs.
  • Additional educational requirements (when applicable).
  • An estimated period of time in the role to reach the above goals.

Note that the estimated period of time to advance is just that – an estimate. In many cases employees can achieve goals faster than the estimate, and in some cases it takes more time. Growth to new jobs should never be based on time in the job itself.

Finally, avoid limiting growth paths to eventually becoming a leader. Not everyone wants to lead or supervise others. Provide opportunities (or tracks) for employees to choose to remain in direct work and production, but at higher orders of expertise, complexity, or responsibility. This serves to better fit many employees, and it preserves the output of the organization's most productive employees. These employees can still share their highly developed skills by serving as mentors or trainers if they choose.

Train and Empower Leaders to Support Growth

This step is often missed. Employees need leaders that can explain growth opportunities, help them set goals, and support them in reaching goals over time. It's necessary to train leaders on what this looks like in their organization. This way, leaders can be familiar with the career paths relevant to their areas of the workplace.

Training in growth also includes work on communication – how to speak to employees about growth, how to give actionable feedback, and how to explain employees' progress.

Demonstrate a Culture of Employee Growth, From the Top

Employees want to know that their leaders – from their direct supervisors to the top executives – want them to grow. Leaders can't fake this, so it's worth taking the time to craft the authentic story of the types of growth that the workplace wants to see. For example, executives can communicate how some experienced employees, managers, and top leaders have moved up themselves over the years. They can also take time to encourage employees to get with their direct leaders to work on their growth goals. In short, the workplace will benefit when top leaders say, "we want you to grow – in your personal goals, your career path, and toward the future that fits you best."

Amazing Workplace can Help

Fostering a happy growth culture is challenging, but the first step is understanding how your employees feel about growth right now. We do just that. Reach out to us to schedule a demo to see how we can help you build and maintain a happy workplace with our Employee Happiness Management System (EHMS).