8 Steps to Kick-Start Career Growth for Your Team

Posted in Career & Performance

Think onboarding — and Enboarder — is only for starting new starters out in a role? Think again. The very best onboarding doesn’t end after a few days, weeks, or even months. It simply pivots into helping people stay successful and connected in your organization — and one of those ways is through career growth.

From the moment you bring someone into your team, your onboarding process should already be helping you to plan 10, 20, 100 steps ahead in their future at your company. What are their hopes and dreams in their new role? What is the pathway to their NEXT role — and how can you be sure that career growth path stays within your company?

Workforce planning is a long game. If you’re keen to turn today’s fresh hires into longtime contributors, you’ll need to proactively weave career progression right into their starting blocks.

That means career growth can’t be a simple checkbox you can tick with job fairs or annual feedback. You will need to be more strategic about helping employees grow the skills and competencies of tomorrow, and helping them to advance into them. 

The reality is, employees stay where they are helped to grow. The chance to learn more, expand their skillsets, increase responsibilities, and raise pay are all key things that keep people sticking around in a job. 

In a recent Pew Research survey, 63% of respondents who had left their jobs cited a lack of advancement opportunities as the reason. A McKinsey study from 2022 similarly found that “lack of career development and advancement” was a top reason people left their jobs. Lattice has found that the almost half of (47%)  of U.S. employees looking for new jobs were looking for more clarity and growth opportunities — especially younger employees who were also more likely to feel like their careers had stalled. 

Why do they think that? Reasons employees gave in that survey included: lack of mentorship, lack of clarity around career paths, and a reduction in one-on-one face time between employees and their supervisors. 

That’s a wake-up call — and a to-do list.

Luckily, technology (especially a platform like Enboarder) is great for this. You can set up workflows to communicate frequently with employees, better understand their goals and aspirations, assess their skills, connect them with mentors, skills experts, and learning resources, and share internal opportunities. This weaves career growth opportunities into the onboarding experience from day one, ensuring new hires have a trajectory for advancement clearly laid out.

If companies want to keep top talent within their ranks, it’s crucial they put this infrastructure in place to connect to and hear regularly from employees — supporting and promoting their ongoing career development.

Research, like the studies above, really underscores the urgency here. Employees crave progression. Neglecting to plan for an employee’s future within the organization — even from onboarding — can inadvertently accelerate their departure.  

Introduction to Career Growth: What’s the Big Deal?

career growth

Career growth is really all about optimism: expanding horizons, deepening expertise, and occasionally stepping into bigger shoes. It includes internal promotions, but it is more than just that. It moves an individual from Point A to Point B, but also enriches the journey between those points. For many people, shining a light on career growth at the start of a new job is an important source of hope and belonging.

Career growth has changed in the digital era, where technology has become a transformative force in career development. Platforms like Enboarder are doing more than simplifying administrative tasks; they’re rewriting the script on how those career paths are crafted and pursued — infusing them with engaging “Wow!” moments and enriching them with the 4Cs of onboarding: compliance, clarification, culture, and connection. That’s all while helping to retain top talent with career growth opportunities.

Thanks to technology, career planning and development have become much more customized, interactive, and data-driven. Managers and leaders can tailor development efforts that align with individual aspirations and organizational needs — driven by direct input from employees, themselves — with personalized engagement initiatives for career growth.

But it’s not all input and analytics. Technology also brings a human touch to career growth. Through platforms like Enboarder, employees can connect with mentors, access tailored learning resources, and even receive nudges about new opportunities — all seamlessly integrated into their daily workflow. It’s about creating a dialogue between employees and their career potential, facilitated by technology that’s as intuitive as it is insightful.

A tech-enabled approach ensures that career growth is not a passive process but a dynamic exchange, keeping employees engaged and invested in their own development. It’s about making every role not just a job, but a stepping stone to greater achievements.

By leveraging technology, organizations can provide a clear, accessible path to career growth, transforming the hopeful uncertainty of a new hire into the strategic confidence of a team member poised for advancement.

Why is it Important to Consider Career Growth for Your Employees?

What keeps the workplace buzz alive? (Spoiler: It’s not free coffee — although caffeine rarely hurts!) It’s having a workplace where everyone sees a great future for all — and can easily see the way you all get there. And by the way, that’s not just a retention strategy, it’s a recruitment magnet.

In fact, there is a lot of upside to focusing on career growth for your employees — in the form of measurable outcomes like retention, employee satisfaction, and more. Career pathing can boost performance and productivity.

According to an article in Harvard Business Review, a lack of future career opportunities is among the top reasons employees hit the road. But here’s the kicker: Companies focused on nurturing careers are 15% more engaged with 34% higher retention rates (yes, you read that right). This isn’t even just about keeping seats warm — that article also cites research from Deloitte that showed organizations with a strong learning and development culture are:

  • 92% more likely to develop novel products and processes
  • 52% more productive
  • 56% more likely to be the first to market with their products and services
  • 17% more profitable than their peers
  • And have 30–50% higher engagement and retention rates  

That’s because when your team’s happy and chasing their dreams, they don’t just work — they innovate. They push boundaries. They stay.

Career Growth vs. Career Development

Alright, let’s decode some jargon, quickly. “Career Growth” and “Career Development”sound similar, but there are some subtle and important differences.

  • Career Growth is the blockbuster everyone waits for — it’s the promotions, the title changes, and those sweet salary bumps. It’s visible, measurable, and often, it’s the headline of an employee’s career narrative. It’s about stepping up the ladder, one rung at a time, eyes fixed on the next big title. Think of it as the ongoing process of enhancing one’s skills, knowledge, and experiences, with the goal of advancing to better or more desirable roles.
  • Career Development, on the flip side, is what it takes, behind the scenes, to get there. It’s the workshops, the skills training, the mentorships — it’s everything that prepares you for the spotlight. This is where technology like Enboarder shines — offering a buffet of learning modules, connecting employees with mentors who are where they aspire to be, and nudging you towards workshops that can polish your skills for that next big leap. That’s career development in the digital age — personalized, continuous, and dynamic.

Both career growth and career development are crucial. While career growth places you in new roles, career development gets you there and ensures you thrive in them. And with today’s tech, these processes are more integrated than ever. Platforms like Enboarder help you tailor all of these processes to fit each employee’s unique story, aspirations, skills, and potential career pathways.  

Let’s keep this energy rolling. Next, we’ll explore the stages of career growth and how you can design a foolproof career growth plan that makes your team stick around not just for the job they have, but for the one they want next.

Stages of Career Growth

As we said earlier, career growth is a long game. You can think of it as a career ladder, where every rung represents a pivotal stage in an employee’s journey, from the bright-eyed newbie to the seasoned vet. Skills and competency development should be continuous, and there are many benefits of internal mobility for professional growth, but within the career ladder there are many specific rungs — and your employees may enter at any point. 

Here’s a quick breakdown for career growth along a leadership trajectory:

The Rookie Stage: The Growth Stage: The Leadership Prep Stage: The Leadership Stage: The Strategic Leadership Stage:
Here, it’s all about learning the ropes. Employees soak up knowledge and begin to understand where they fit within the team.Now they’re starting to hit their stride, taking on more responsibilities, and maybe eyeing the next big step.At this point, employees are not just doing; they’re starting to mentor others, lead projects, and influence outcomes.They’ve made it to a managerial role, where they shape the team’s culture and drive major initiatives.Top-tier territory. They’re making decisions that affect the company at the macro level, steering the corporate ship.

Types of Career Growth

Now, let’s talk types of growth —  because career paths are far from one-dimensional. You’ll want to account for both vertical and horizontal growth:

  • Vertical Growth: This is the classic promotion track — think of it as an elevator shooting straight to the top. It’s about rising through the ranks, from junior roles right up to leadership positions. Each promotion is a morale booster, and here, Enboarder acts like that supportive buddy, celebrating each milestone and prepping you for the next leap.
  • Horizontal Growth: Not everyone wants to climb upwards; some might want to explore different departments or develop new skills. It’s like taking a scenic detour that broadens one’s perspective and sharpens new skills. Enboarder supports these lateral adventurers too, by highlighting transferable skills and ensuring no matter the direction, the journey’s rewarding.

A platform like Enboarder can be helpful throughout the process — integrating seamlessly into each stage, soliciting feedback and input, connecting employees to learning and resources, providing reminders, and offering recognition and engaging interactions that keep everyone marching forward.

8 Steps to Design a Career Growth Plan for Your Employees

Creating a personalized career growth plan is clutch, here. Using HR technology, you can craft a plan that aligns with each employee’s aspirations and also drives your organizational goals forward. Here are eight steps to consider:

1. Assess Individual Aspirations

Start by listening. Maybe your employee wants to be CEO someday. Maybe they want to earn a patent on a big breakthrough. Maybe they are more focused on increasing their salary. Use tools like Enboarder to send out surveys or set up one-on-one meetings that dig deep into your employees’ career visions. This personalized approach ensures that each career path you support is as unique as the individual following it.

2. Define Clear Objectives

What’s a journey without a destination? Set clear, achievable career objectives together with your employees. Tools like Enboarder can nudge you to track these goals, providing both you and the employee with real-time updates on progress and milestones.

3. Identify Skill Gaps

Where do we need to buff up the skills? Compare an employee’s current skills against those required for their desired role, pinpointing exactly where the focus should be placed next.

4. Leverage Technology for Skills Development

Bring in the big guns — online courses, webinars, and workshops — all things you can schedule and nudge through tools like Enboarder. Make learning an integral, seamless part of everyday work life. (Take a peek at how Bayer used Enboarder to improve learning and development. 🤓)

5. Facilitate Mentorship and Networking

Connect, connect, connect! Use tools like Enboarder to pair employees with mentors who can guide them, or with peers who can offer new perspectives. In one survey, 67% of individual contributors surveyed said they want to advance their career, but 49% said a lack of good career advice has hurt their job trajectory.

6. Regular Feedback and Adjustments

The path to the top isn’t always straight. Regular feedback can help keep career paths agile — adapting and evolving as needed. Bonus: This can also give you a lot of information to avoid common internal hiring mistakes to support career growth.)

7. Encourage and Track Internal Applications

Don’t let those internal job postings go unnoticed. Tools like Enboarder can alert employees to new opportunities and guide them through the application process, making internal mobility a clear and accessible path.

8. Recognize and Reward Progress

Celebrate every victory and success along the road to growth! Enboarder can help you acknowledge and reward progress, turning achievements into stepping stones for further growth.

Grow Your People to Grow Your Company

The bottom line is that if you want to keep employees and grow your own bottom line, you’ll need to invest in their career growth. It’s hard to overestimate the role of engagement-focused onboarding in career development.

Creating a culture of continuous advancement also creates a culture of innovation and loyalty. And with technology tools like Enboarder, you can future-proof strategies for your workforce by personalizing and creating that career growth at scale.

Ready to see how Enboarder can transform your approach to career growth? Let’s make those career dreams a vibrant, thriving reality for every member of your team.  Explore our platform or contact us today to connect with our team to learn how Enboarder can help you turn an onboarding experience into a career growth experience.  

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