Why a career path needs a human resource professional


The need for a career path is one area where there is an unequivocal agreement between an employer and an employee. It is but natural that employees look for growth in the job, be it in terms of salaries, roles or skills. Equally, an employer also would like to bring on board someone who will build a long-term association and stay with the company for an extended period of time.

What is a career path?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a career path is “the way that you progress in your work, either in one job or in a series of jobs.” Simply put, it refers to a group of jobs that use similar skills, but differ in aspects such as responsibilities handled. Companies also talk of dual career paths, in the sense of focusing on the technical and the managerial aspects of the job.

Why is a career path needed?

As explained, a career path is a defined route to progress. Human resource professionals can use career paths to achieve the following goals:

  • Promoting more talent from within the organization
  • Creating and implementing suitable succession plans
  • Improving engagement and retention of employees

Recruitment is a key stage in discussing career paths

Discussing career path at the first stage of the employment process i.e. recruitment is a great place to start. A candidate who starts work as an analyst will want to know when he or she could become a senior analyst, a manager, a director, and possibly more. This is as important as knowing the roles and responsibilities that come with the position currently under discussion. Careful consideration must be given to the questions to be asked and matters to be discussed during the interview, as well as when to talk about career paths.

Onboarding is a time to share more details

At the onboarding stage, many human resource professionals have a detailed plan in place, which they share with the new hires. This plan illustrates the learnings that shall be shared over time. Along with this, new hires will spend time with their reporting managers to understand job expectations, goals to be achieved, and the inner workings of the performance management process. A more specific discussion on career paths is suitable here, to motivate and encourage eager employees.

Career paths can be incorporated into training and development

From compliance with rules and policies to specific technical and soft skills, learning and training is required by every employee. These are essential to not just the current role but also future roles that the employee could take up. It is essential to explain how the learning will affect and add to the on-the-job performance, and a career path discussion fits in well here. Human resource professionals can incorporate this into how they describe training programs and what the employees are expected to learn therein.

Offboarding is also a good time to talk about a career path

The idea is not as absurd as it seems, given that employees often return to work for past employers. Exits happen for multiple reasons, and an employee could well pick up additional skills in the interim, or take on more senior roles, and return to the previous employer at a position with more responsibilities.

Getting an HR certification is a great way for professionals to boost their HR careers. Aside from improving their own career paths, this helps them to better appreciate the needs of employees they deal with in the course of their work as HR professionals. A certification is an excellent choice to learn new skills and take on new roles and responsibilities, helping in career progress.