It’s generally recognized that a company must have a well-defined career path (i.e. opportunity for advancement) for its employees in order to attract, motivate, and retain them.
But what if there are organizational constraints and the feasibility of promotions, at least in certain departments, is extremely limited? Is the company still able to inspire employees if they can see there is no potential for advancement?
No doubt there are companies in which establishing a career path is difficult. They may have too few employees for any upward mobility to occur within the firm, or they are too “specialized,” requiring employees to have certain difficult-to-acquire credentials and certifications that makes movement impossible unless such qualifications are obtained.
If you have already experienced the challenge of recruiting, hiring, and retaining desirable employees because of a lack of a clear career path, you know how frustrating and it can be.
Yet it is not entirely impossible to bring in and keep excellent employees even in such circumstances. Here are a few steps you can take to help develop and motivate loyal employees, career path or not:
Investing in your employees by paying them well is always a smart strategy, even more so when there is minimal opportunity for an employee to advance within the company. If possible, consider establishing various goals that can provide the employee with the opportunity to earn additional income on top of his or her “regular” salary. Bonuses that are based on error-free work, attendance and punctuality, customer service satisfaction, and sales or account retention, are all areas that can be measured and incented.
Even if an employee seems unmotivated to move up the career ladder, it doesn’t mean that their desire for additional knowledge about your business or industry has to be thwarted. Provide employees with opportunities to take classes on subjects that can make them more skilled in their jobs as well as in other subjects in which they have an interest. There is a wide variety of adult education classes and programs, and just because the company does not currently offer career path potential it does not mean that employees should stop learning.
All employees need to feel that their work is appreciated and that the company respects their efforts and loyalty. It has happened time and time again, even when employees are well compensated and have opportunities for advancement, they will leave their job if they do not feel supported, encouraged, and valued. Business Owners must make it a point to be attentive to these needs and be demonstrably grateful for all of the hard work that is done by all of their employees.
While the opportunity for advancement is a strong motivator for many employees, it is not so for all. Employees have various reasons why they may be satisfied in their current position, especially if well compensated, appreciated, and have the chance to enhance their knowledge. They may have time consuming commitments outside of work that give them limited time to handle additional responsibilities at work, or they may have an outside interest that is so satisfying that it overcomes any need for career advancement.
The key to success is to hire carefully and be extremely honest about career growth within your company. No employee wants to be sold a bill of goods on which you cannot deliver.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.