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The business industry is changing on a global scale. In the race for higher ROIs, increased productivity, and lower costs, companies face significant challenges. This highly competitive environment keeps them on the toes 24/7. 

The main issue is that almost all aspects of business operations now require modern, up-to-date approaches. Constantly rising customer expectations pose new demands, and mean that businesses must develop sustainable and purpose-driven HR brand. 

Technological advancement is crucial to maintain sufficient business capacity and reduce costs. The changing nature of talent management also increases the stress on businesses.

Each new problem requires a unique solution. While this is partially true, there is one aspect which affects everything: your employees. They are essentially the engine of a business machine. However, you shouldn’t consider this engine to be a panacea. After all, business success is a cumulative notion.

Talent Market and Its Modern Challenges

In the era of automation, in which machines are replacing humans, the most serious problem is a shortage of talent. In fact, according to a ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage survey, the USA has been suffering from the effects of this talent shortage for the past decade. Almost every seventh employer struggled to fill jobs over this period. 

The reasons for this can be different. High turnover rates, a poor HR brand, and considerable competition for skillful labor market representatives are just a few of them. All this makes HR executives search for working and preferably cheap methods to help them hire, engage, and retain employees. 

The first step for recruitment and career path management is determining employees’ needs. Many people mainly focus on financial aspects – bonuses, reward systems, and higher salaries. This is undeniably important, yet overestimated. As the statistics from Gallup show, these financial incentives are relevant for only 12% of employees.

What are the real reasons why people reconsider their current occupations? Relying on data from Achievers, 43% claim career advancement, and 19% cite lack of recognition as the factors which caused them to move on. This illustrates that businesses must focus on promising career pathing and motivation. The latter has already been around for some time. Let’s take a closer look at career path meaning and how to make use of this concept.

Career Pathing Is the New Black in HR Realm

Considering that a good career path is important for almost 50% of employees, opportunities for growth within a company are becoming the new priorities for HR culture. Basically, career pathing means working out a structured worker development program. This helps employees to visualize their potential career growth within a company. Usually, it also includes any necessary competencies and milestones.

Such an approach has two main benefits for HR practices: 

  1. Enhanced Loyalty The principle is simple: once you can clearly see the personal benefits of staying, you are willing to stay and work harder. This way, the working routine means more to employees than just an exchange of time for money. 
  2. Increased Motivation If a person knows what exactly he/she needs to do to take another step up the professional ladder, he now has the motivation to work for it. What can be stronger than an inner eagerness to achieve more?

The approach is even more effective when you support your employees emotionally. This isn’t just limited to empathy. A company works out career pathways, taking into consideration individual preferences, sets of competencies and skills, experience, etc. This forms the basis for a custom plan. Once it’s ready, career path advice is then given. It’s not a one-time event. To retain and engage talent, an HR leader should constantly help, guide, and support an employee. 

How to Work Out and Implement a Career Path Program

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Businesspeople planning on a glass wall

The career path program doesn’t just benefit employees. Being a strategic approach, it has to fulfill particular goals. This is the first stage. You need to determine weak points. 

These could be, for example, low productivity or high turnover rates. After that, you can adjust the program according to your needs. The current HR goals are the baseline, which literally shapes your ability to retain talent management.

Speaking about the process of the program development itself, it’s rather straightforward and involves four steps.

1. Plan Career Roadmaps

A roadmap for a particular job visualizes the journey from an entry-level position to an executive role. It encompasses both vertical and horizontal prospects and determines role changes. The cornerstone is basically a graph that illustrates opportunities within a certain area. For example, a regular HR officer will know that his career path choices will revolve around recruitment and training or the compensations and benefits sphere. However, the ultimate position to aim for is a job as an HR director. 

2. Work Out Position Profiles

A position profile is a set of responsibilities, skills, and competencies necessary for a particular position. Such specifications outline the key vectors for further program development. They clarify the suitability of the candidate for a role. 

This kind of method is efficient when it comes to recruiting as well. It clearly sets out exactly who you are looking for. Therefore, it contributes to quality hiring. 

3. Set the Standards 

Performance standards help to determine whether the skills and knowledge of applicants match the job requirements. In other words, if a person meets the standards, he will be able to carry out the job effectively. If s/he doesn’t meet these standards, you’d better look for another candidate or provide training. 

The standards should include not only the required areas of competence but also all the necessary parameters. It’s a challenging task to come up with good standards. Many skills (especially soft skills) are hard to evaluate. What is more, unified parameters might not fit all individuals. You can rely on top performers as a benchmark. They have practical experience and can share it, if necessary.

4. Determine Required Training 

Each role is unique. The higher the position, the more qualified you have to be to attain it. It’s common practice to assign a training course. Even if an employee is competent enough, he hasn’t faced the role before (since you hire internally). This means that there is still space for him to improve. 

As you can see, the process is rather straightforward. Nonetheless, working out the career path program manually poses many risks. These can vary from poor alignment of data to inconsistency in planning. This is where you can rely on software. 

Technologies Is Key for Effective HR Activities

New technologies have never left the spotlight. In fact, one technological advancement directly triggers another. It’s an everlasting process, where automation powers automation. Some will say that there are still areas in which traditional methods are effective. Indeed, Fortuna Visual Group claims that traditional banner ads are still effective. 

While this is true, the realm of HR is already on another level. Even its very roots – recruiting – are changing. For example, Sarah Johnston from Briefcase Coach claims that she uses LinkedIn to optimize hiring. She uses online keyword analytic tools, resulting in a 30-40% increase in LinkedIn search appearances.

The real power of automation in HR is down to corporate software that aggregates piles of data. It’s undeniable that advanced software deals with it faster and more effectively. Here are some problems which new technologies can solve:

1. Poor Data Management

Data Science for Job Hunting - Career In Data Science

Data-driven approaches to management have already proved their worth. Deep analytics delivers better results. It helps to determine weak spots. Businesses don’t need to spend precious time and resources on manually figuring out where a problem lies. 

A platform that stores all the data together boasts many useful features. It includes analytics, which can be visualized in the form of diagrams and graphs. This saves time: thus, humans have more time to focus on more meaningful tasks.

What Are the Benefits for HR? The first and most significant benefit is more effective management. The platforms allow for the monitoring of personal progress and career development plans – you can also supervise the productivity of a whole department and even an entire enterprise. 

This leads to data-driven development plans. You can spot any areas for improvement and work out changes. This helps to prevent many problems. One of them is a professional burnout. Excessive hard work and perfectionism can easily sabotage the entire career

The system helps to track the number of working hours and reward or grant a vacation when a person works too much. If the platform has an integrated career pathing program, you can assign the required training. While the software is responsible for monitoring, communicating changes to employees is still a human duty. 

Another advantage is that the software provides feedback on performance. According to a CareerBuilder survey, the vast majority of respondents – 81% – claim that this will improve their experience with an employer if done regularly

2. Anticipating Weak Spots 

Every mechanism has its strengths and weaknesses. It’s only reasonable to assess them in advance. Otherwise, a business might stumble upon a loophole, which could then undermine the whole operation. 

Technologies are excellent when it comes to evaluation and assessment. You can create an employee’s profile with all the data. It includes their knowledge, skills, experience, etc.

Conduct a career path test to determine these things. After that, you can easily compare the results with the position requirements. It’s vital to remember that there is no ideal candidate. Everyone has weak spots. It’s an HR manager’s duty to spot them.

Since all the data is in one place, you can conduct regular check-ups. These could, for instance, be quick tests of employees’ competence. Another benchmark is performance. Once it falls, it’s time to set up training or consider another candidate for a position. All in all, you can identify the aspects to nurture easier and faster.

Business doesn’t always need an enterprise-level integrated solution. Technology can be implemented in more specific ways. For example, if your team doesn’t show the desired product, it’s time to consider investing in a productivity tracker. Some platforms have outstanding functions which help to maintain efficiency within a team.

3. Prospecting Career Mobility 

Some researches show that employers fill their positions easier when hunting talent from other companies. This may sound ridiculous, as it’s always more efficient to utilize the existing resources. Some don’t see this as an option due to inner resistance to such practices. Others don’t have enough data to carry out an assessment. In fact, almost half claim that there are no established processes to identify and move employees around within an organization.

While companies are bound to hire new employees, employees who want to change their career paths are bound to leave: they sometimes leave even if they don’t want to. 

Retain talent technology can help both. With detailed information and employee profiles, the software can spot those who will fit certain jobs. This means that if you have an unfilled position, you can launch an algorithm to find those who match the appropriate criteria. 

As for the employees, they can determine which occupation is the most suitable for them, based on their set of skills and knowledge. 

Such a data-driven approach allows you to keep a loyal worker and potentially identify a role in which he may perform better. Basically, it’s a win-win situation. In this context, you could consider technologies to retain talent best practices.

What Are the Benefits for Business?

Business measures every investment in terms of potential benefits – simply put, ROI. This isn’t always directly related to finance. Increased productivity, higher engagement, and employee satisfaction are the initial advantages. If you think about it from a wider perspective, all these aspects impact the business operations, and consequently, the profit. Let’s get into a detailed analysis of what business gains from implementing technologies in HR:

  • Reduced turnover rates  The software provides everything you need to fill any positions from the internal workforce. This is cheaper and more efficient. When hiring an outsider, a company has to spend time and money on training and development. And even after all that, a person may not fit in with your corporate culture.
  • Higher engagement Career pathing powered by technologies outlines the way to the desired position. Milestones and rigid requirements keep your employees motivated and engaged. After all, every employee needs a goal to achieve.
  • More effective collaboration Since you know the strengths and weaknesses of your employees, you can set up a more effective team. The principle is simple. The skills of one member must balance out the shortcomings of another.
  • Data-driven analytics and decision-making Whether you are hiring, firing, or forming a team, a data-driven approach is a sign of quality. It means that your decisions have a solid foundation. Therefore, the risk of making a mistake is lower.

New technologies are, therefore, extremely effective tools in the world of HR. However, it’s vital to remember that the software alone won’t lead you to success. Humans must still do their part. Please leave your ideas in comments on how to retain and engage productive talent in our digitalized world.

Written By
Anthony Kreychmar is an HR specialist with more than ten years of experience. Her field of expertise includes efficient HR practices in enterprises of all sizes – from startups to organizations with 1000+ employees. The specialist often attends conferences and seminars as an HR expert.

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