How to build successful employee growth plans by focusing on tech-driven career mobility

Cornerstone Editors

Growth is a key factor built into how we measure success. But when we talk about growth, we're typically focused on profits, market share, headcount, etc. What tends to be near the bottom of the types of growth organizations place importance on is the growth of their people.

As workers take stock of their career goals and revaluate their priorities, it’s clear that the opportunity for career advancement is non-negotiable. People are willing to leave their jobs if they don’t see opportunities to grow.

So we've got a few tips you can use today to start reprioritizing employee growth and integrate it into how your organization measures its own success.

How to build a successful employee growth plan

What you need to do to create a successful employee growth plan that accelerates development and boosts retention may sound simple, but it gets much more complicated in its execution.

You just need to connect people to the skills and learning opportunities that match their personal career aspirations and align with your organization's goals.

This isn't anything new. It's a straightforward enough plan. But where organizations can drop the ball is when they assign people to similar linear growth paths that don't change with the employee's evolution.

Careers aren't straight paths from A to B. They're winding journeys full of cul de sacs, backtracking and wrong turns.

To truly deliver meaningful career development, organizations need a connected HR technology that knits together roles, skills, learning content and people and continuously adapts and grows with employees.

Moving beyond linear growth paths

Even before the Great Resignation began in earnest, a whole generation of workers had a reputation for being "job-hoppers." But that adjective isn't their fault. The benefits that existed to keep employees at an organization long-term aren't a priority at most organizations anymore. So the employees' organizational loyalty left with them.

Looking at it now, all those cuts to benefits seem wildly counterintuitive. A new hire is always more expensive than promoting someone, and you're losing institutional knowledge and leadership when an experienced employee leaves.

“A fulfilling career should enhance existing skills and build new skills, facilitate learning opportunities and allow for experiences that provide for support and growth now and in the future,” says one Cornerstone customer, a VP of learning at a Fortune 50 healthcare company. “If we can give every employee a clear view of the frontier ahead, our employees can grow and stay with us.”

But for many employees, the frontier ahead isn't a straight line from junior to senior to VP. People want opportunities to step outside of their comfort zones, explore new areas of the organization, take on internal "gigs" to try out new skills or even scrap the whole plan and pivot to something new.

“Companies that survive and thrive do everything they can to make work easier for people,” Global Industry Analyst Josh Bersin recently said at Cornerstone Convergence. “This means giving employees self-development and empowerment tools.”

The 3 ingredients that drive modern career mobility

To truly empower workers with the ability to do more than just climb a career ladder, organizations need to evaluate what kind of work employees have done in the past, understand what they’d like to do moving forward and, most importantly, provide the tools to facilitate career growth.

1) Access to open roles within your organization

Workers need to be able to see what opportunities are available — whether in their department or not — in order to set realistic and achievable growth paths for themselves. Provide your people with clear insight into what open positions your organization has and the skills requirements are for those roles to help them envision a future that fits their personal growth goals.

2) Data on employees’ current and desired skills

By 2025, 44% of the skills needed for workers to effectively do their jobs will have changed. Modern career mobility requires upskilling and reskilling for people to step into new roles and challenges. To effectively connect employees with opportunities to sharpen or build skills, organizations need a full picture of what skills they have and where gaps exist.

3) Learning content that matches growth goals

“People need a broad range of learning opportunities and soft skills to achieve breakthroughs and growth,” says Heidi Spirgi, chief strategy and growth officer at Cornerstone. Providing personalized, self-directed learning content based on a skills profile and career development goals is essential for an employee growth journey rooted in building relevant, adaptable skills for the future.

How tech powers the future of career mobility

Typically, those three ingredients — skills, data and learning content — require your organization to have three separate solutions siloed off from one another. That put the legwork of mixing those ingredients into a personalized career journey on your already busy employees.

Cornerstone Xplor does all that connecting (and more!) for you.

As the new solution revolutionizing how organizations and their people learn, grow and evolve their skills, Cornerstone Xplor helps organizations identify the skills employees already have and need and connect those skills to tailored learning content and opportunities for career development.

By offering employees realistic avenues for advancement and personalized development pathways to build necessary skills, Cornerstone Xplor can help provide the meaningful career development employees want and your organization needs.

“We want to provide the best experience for our employees by making it simple and easy for them to gain the knowledge they need for the role they have and the roles they want at Fossil Group in the future,” says James Webb, VP, global people development, engagement, and communications at Fossil Group. “Cornerstone Xplor will create a real opportunity to enable easy and relevant learning, matched with personalized career mapping, that better aligns with how our people think about their own development and their long-term career aspirations at Fossil Group.”

Organizational success hinges on career mobility and growth

People want growth opportunities. If your organization isn't giving them what they need, they'll go somewhere else. And you'll be left trying to fill an open position without room for growth that no good candidates will want.

But if you can build a connected technology experience that empowers people to achieve their personal advancement goals, you won't have that great candidate leaving in the first place.

When organizations reimagine people and career development from straight lines to winding journeys, they can build an environment designed for collective growth and success where people want to work.

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