Quiet quitting, high turnover, and disengagement are a modern workplace plague. And HR leaders are grappling with an alarming trend: a rise in employees quitting their jobs, 25% higher than pre-pandemic levels, adding fuel to the fire of The Great Reshuffle.  

The struggle to not only attract but retain top talent is real. But it doesn’t have to be. The solution is to meet employees where they are. And the tool to get them there? Career progression plans.

Empower your organization with the skills-based canvas.

Rethinking career progression in 2024 

There might not be one sole reason for employee turnover, but there is that one stands out: 41% of employees quit their jobs due to a lack of career development and advancement. That's quite the wake-up call.

Career development opportunities play a crucial role in an employee's professional life. They motivate and drive performance, inspiring the individual and, in turn, lifting morale and leading by example for the team that surrounds them. These opportunities cultivate a sense of purpose and foster collaboration and, ultimately, greater job satisfaction.

An environment that nourishes career development paves the way for growth across the organization. When people feel invigorated and engaged in their work, a sense of commitment to results (and company) enriches. And the rewards, like promotions, salary increases, or even lateral moves within a company, further boost employee wellness and happiness.

It doesn't take long to recognize that the benefits of investing in career development are reciprocal. It's not only about the growth of individuals within your organization; it's about harnessing the full potential within your existing workforce. This investment fuels performance momentum, nurtures future leaders, and shapes the next generation of workers.  

To boot, a culture that prioritizes growth culture is highly appealing to top-tier talent and ambitious professionals. It positions the company as a desirable workplace, lending a hand to hiring efforts. 

Lawrence Bossidy, a renowned American business executive known for his leadership as the former CEO of Honeywell International and his co-authorship of the popular management book "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done," encapsulates this sentiment perfectly:

I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.

Lawrence Bossidy, author and former CEO of Honeywell 

With all this in mind, we acknowledge that attracting, developing, and retaining talent can be quite a challenge. However, we’re here to guide you toward this excellent place to start: career progression plans. 

Career progression planning: The benefits of investing in your people 

Career progression plans are more than just a part of your HR strategy. They tap into employees’ ambitions and outline the building blocks for achieving their professional goals. Having them in place and working also sends a message to your employees that their success matters as much as the company’s.  

And when employees feel supported and invested, that is when the magic happens. Investing in a career progression strategy helps: 

  • Promote a positive company culture
  • Set performance standards  
  • Boost engagement
  • Bridge skills gaps
  • Enhance organizational agility
  • Future-proofing succession planning 

We all want a team that’s not just working but thriving. The aspirational aspect of career plans is a call to arms that drives performance, sure, but it is also a loyalty pledge. When employees see a future within your walls, they don’t look elsewhere and want to grow with you. 

A career progression plan offers structure and a clear path forward. It’s not just about setting the bar high—it’s about creating a framework that provides learning and development benchmarks, connects the dots across every project and task, and helps employees and managers have better conversations around performance.   

A guide to crafting effective career progression plans 

So, what are the main components of a well-structured and effective career progression plan?  

As with all things people-related, personalization is key. Career progression plans are not one-size-fits-all but do all need to involve a strategic blend of these essential elements:   

Clear goal alignment

A well-structured career progression plan creates a shared vision where employee aspirations align with the larger picture. Establishing goal congruence creates a cohesive plan where every step leads into the next and contributes to collective success. 

💡 Tips for creating synergy between employee goals and corporate aims: 

  • Conduct goal-setting sessions where open communication is encouraged 
  • Communicate the broader organization’s mission to employees 
  • Establish measurable milestones and regularly gauge process  

Skill development roadmaps

A well-crafted career progression plan identifies and nurtures essential skills for professional growth. Skill development roadmaps guide individuals in acquiring new abilities and gaining experience, supporting their progression. It goes beyond job titles and dives into the core competencies and interests of the individual.  

💡 Tips for integrating continuous learning in career progression plans: 

  • Develop a skills matrix outlining key competencies for each role 
  • Offer continuous learning opportunities like online courses 
  • Promote a culture of skill-sharing and mentorship 

Regular feedback and assessment

A career progression plan is ongoing, and constructive feedback guides employees in the right direction. It's not just about pointing out areas of improvement—regular assessments, open communication, and ongoing dialogue ensure progression is on track and allow for course correction when needed.   

💡 Tips for a strong feedback system: 

  • Establish a feedback loop and set up regular one-on-one meetings 
  • Use performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess progress and drive conversation 
  • Leverage peer-to-peer feedback to foster collaborative learning 

By establishing a shared vision, creating a direction, mapping out the steps, and keeping the lines of communication open, you’re essentially providing employees the answers to the What, Why, How, and Where of career progression.

Keep this quick 5-step formula as a reference point as your cheat sheet: 

5 steps for a successful career progression plan

  1. Set clear objectives: Outline the specific career goals for each employee, aligning them to your company’s broader objectives. 
  2. Identify key competencies: Pinpoint the essential skills and competencies required for success and identify skills gaps. 
  3. Establish milestones: Set measurable milestones to track progress and remember to celebrate achievements. 
  4. Encourage continuous learning: Integrate learning opportunities into the plan to foster ongoing development. 
  5. Regularly review and adjust the plan: Career progression plans should be dynamic, adapting to evolving needs and goals. 

Introducing Workleap Skills to manage and track career progression plans 

When it comes to managing and tracking career progression plans, efficiency and precision are paramount. HR leaders of today face a load of options—or do they?  

Indeed, there’s a best-suited solution for everyone. Although, when an investment needs to be made, it’s important to go for the truly transformative. There are common challenges with conventional options:  

  • Spreadsheets and manual tracking: Some still cling to the age-old method of spreadsheets, drowning in the sea of manual tracking. The result? A convoluted mess that hinders rather than helps. 
  • Generic HR software: Some software solutions lack the personalization features often needed to answer the nuanced demands of career progression planning. They lack the precision needed to tailor plans to individual aspirations and organizational goals. 
  • Ad-hoc mentoring programs: While mentoring is invaluable, and ad-hoc mentoring programs have value, they also lack structure and continuity. Random pairings may not align with specific skill development needs, resulting in a hit-or-miss approach. 

The modern alternative? Workleap Skills—designed to cut through the complexity of career development while catering to a people-first experience that meets the standards of the 21st century.

The solution uses AI-enhanced skill mapping and real-time data on skills and gaps to formulate targeted progression roadmaps for each employee. From the role recommendation tab to mentor matching, Workleap Skills is a 360-degree skill development platform to foster talent retention, internal mobility, and workforce planning. It’s ridiculously user-friendly and transforms what was once a tedious process into a streamlined, intuitive experience for both HR leaders and employees.  

There are a lot of great tools out there, but Workleap Skills stands out not just as a software solution but as a strategic ally. 

Workleap Skills dashboard showing your suggested next role at your company, new skills recommendations, and internal job openings.
Tap into your team's skills and potential with the next generation of career development software.

Here for the small players, too: Tailoring plans for SMBs 

For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), crafting effective career progression plans comes with unique challenges.  

They’re more likely to work with limited resources, making investing in extensive HR solutions difficult. Smaller teams can also mean less HR specialization (you know, the HR professional that's tasked to do it all), making comprehensive career progression planning more of a challenge. That said, SMBs still require the ability to attract and nurture great talent and have access to ways to do so efficiently, if not more so, than their larger enterprise counterparts. 

Workleap Skills steps in as a tool and a tailored solution that addresses the hurdles SMBs face as they grow. Here’s how: 

  • Offers a trial period: When budgets are tight, the investment certainty of investment becomes even more important. Workleap Skills provides a free demo and trial period, allowing SMBs to test the waters before committing. 
  • User-friendly interface: Designed for simplicity, you don’t have to have any previous HR training or expertise to use and benefit from Workleap Skills. As most SMB employees have to wear multiple hats, the platform enables anyone to become HR-minded. 
  • Agile and adaptable: In a world of constant change, Workleap Skills provides the flexibility SMBs need to adapt their career progression plans swiftly, thanks to its many automation features.  

The absence of dedicated HR experts doesn’t have to relegate career progression planning to the background. The right software becomes your virtual HR assistant, streamlining processes and ensuring that career growth doesn’t get lost in the shuffle and grind. And Workleap levels the playing field. 

💸 Workleap Skills even offers pricing plans explicitly made with SMBs in mind. Interested? Start streamlining your skills-based HR process for free with the Essential plan—the go-to plan for SMBs.

Future-proof the success of career progression plans with agility and adaptability

Like any talent development strategy, career progression plans aren’t just meant to be effective for today—they should be made to have lasting impact, anticipating and adapting to industry trends. 

After all, people aren’t static entities. Skills, interests, and career expectations may evolve. The average person may change jobs at least 12 times in their lifetime. With this in mind, retaining a talent development system that can be agile is important. 

But really, the future belongs to those who embrace innovation and set the pace rather than trying to keep up with it. Forward-thinking HR leaders don’t wait to jump on the bandwagon of new, cutting-edge tools and technology. Skills is an evolving solution part of a growing ecosystem fueled by Workleap. Workleap's AI is trained with 75 million data points to generate progression plans for each role, department, and industry to help you provide employees with the clarity they need to grow, perform, and thrive.​​

employee looking at the progression plan for his career
Empowering career growth with AI: Workleap's approach to skill enhancement and progressive career planning

Lead your team towards the peak of success with Workleap Skills 

Remember, as you invest in the growth of your teams, you're not just shaping careers. You're crafting success stories for those who help you achieve organizational success. 

Tailored for SMBs, designed for simplicity, and future-proofed for innovation, Workleap is every HR professional's strategic ally. If you’re looking for a tool that doesn't just keep up with change but also drives it, give Workleap Skills a test drive for free today

Monitor, support, and optimize your team's professional development.