Lack of Career Path/No Mobility – Upper or Lateral

Part 2 of 5 in the People Leave series

Career paths and career ladders are traditional methods by which employees develop and progress within an organization. Career ladders are the progression of jobs in a particular field. Career paths can be more varied and may include career ladders or horizontal transitions. (SHRM). Whether you have a large organization where career paths and career ladders are well established and advertised or you are a small, growing company that wants to retain top performers, it’s important to identify the talent you have and why people work at your organization. People – even your top performers – will quit. Why they quit should never be a surprise to you (with the exception of when it’s a surprise to them, i.e., sudden life change, move, etc.).     

It’s not uncommon for people to leave their jobs because they believe there is no career path or ladder for them when in fact:

  • They’ve waited for a year for their performance review and weren’t offered a growth opportunity
  • Their manager has no idea that they’re not happy in their role or in their team
  • They don’t know (or buy into) the company’s vision or strategy for the future nor see how they can be a part of it

What you can do:

  • Have regular one on ones with your team.  What conversations are you saving for the annual (and dreaded) performance review?  
  • Check-in with people.  Are you dealing with someone with a risk-averse communication style who won’t speak up?
  • Speak often about the path forward with your team. Do your team members understand how their job fits into the big picture? Bonus points if you’re encouraging them to use their most natural talents in their current and future jobs.

The Problematic Manager

Part 1 of 5 in the People Leave series

You can tell if a manager is effective by observing their team’s performance and cohesion. An effective manager knows their team members’ strengths and challenges relative to their jobs.  They can anticipate when to guide and how much guidance to provide. They understand that a team’s cohesion will depend on allowing people to do what they do best.  They know who is happy, who isn’t (and why). They communicate clearly about a path forward, providing their team members a vision for the future. 

In Gallup’s  2015 State of the American Manager report*, one out of every two professionals surveyed said they had quit a job at some point in their career to “get away” from their boss. But problematic managers aren’t always the villains. Some common situations I see are:

  • A top performer is rewarded with a promotion and finds that their natural talents aren’t a match for key requirements of the new job
  • The new manager is given more responsibility without the resources and support they need to do their job well
  • The new manager wants to make a good impression and won’t admit to being challenged

What you can do:

  • Take the time to evaluate the fit of the manager – if they’re not a good fit, how can you provide support to grow the skills needed for top performance?
  • Is the manager feeling overwhelmed?  What additional support and resources can you offer to help them succeed?
  • Have weekly or bi-weekly one on one meetings with the manager and focus on opening the lines of communication with them to identify areas where you can offer support and coaching.  Are you speaking their language?

*Gallup’s 2015 State of the American Manager Report can be viewed here.