There are several tools HR professionals can leverage to implement career paths in their organizations.

Career paths are predefined steps that employees can take to grow within an organization. They answer the question, "What's my future with the organization?" Employees like these paths because they give them a roadmap for future job opportunities. Employers appreciate them because they can use them to develop future talent.

We've already talked about how the functions of recruiting, onboarding, learning and development, and even offboarding can drive the creation of those paths. Today, let's add to that conversation and discuss the tools that human resources professionals might need to effectively implement them in their organization.

5 Tools for Developing Career Paths

In some cases, career paths can be obvious. For example, the career path for a human resources manager could be HR director and then VP of HR. But not all career paths are that straightforward, and we might not want them to be. Career paths can be used to help with cross-training and job-sharing. But it requires having the right tools in place. Here are five that could come in handy:

  1. Organizational Charts. An organizational chart can initiate the design of career paths. Using this chart, individuals and organizations can see how an employee might move within the business. They can also adjust career paths after seeing where the organizational chart has defined future opportunities. The chart itself can be created using programs like PowerPoint or stand-alone software.
  1. Internal talent pools. Some organizations might be reluctant to develop formal succession plans because they want to keep their future staffing plans agile. An internal talent pool allows employees to participate in learning and development activities, keeping the organization's talent pipeline filled and using career paths without specifically telling someone, "You're the next controller."
  1. Strategic partnerships with colleges and universities. People don't have to build career paths on their own. If the organization's training and development function doesn't have the bandwidth and resources to create and maintain career paths, that doesn't mean they can't reach out into the community. The business can build a partnership with a college or university to give individuals the learning they need to grow professionally.
  1. Learning Management System (LMS). After putting career paths in place, HR needs to monitor each employee's progress toward goals. An LMS gives the organization a place to keep information about an employee's skills, training, credentials and more. This allows HR to regularly update department managers and the rest of the organization about the status of their career path program.
  1. Self-management training. This last tool is one that human resources should support throughout the organization. Employees want and need to have some control and say about their careers. A big tool in creating and maintaining career paths is educating employees on how to be a partner in their own career development.

Build Career Paths Using the Right Tools

One of the reasons that employees stay with their organizations is because they feel they have a future where they currently work. And they believe that the organization is making investments in their success. Career paths help employees understand the career options that are available to them and what it takes to get to the next level.

HR departments play a key role in helping the organization buy into the creation of career paths and the right times to educate employees about their value. Using learning and development tools can accelerate the process and create a win for everyone involved.

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