Career Ladders Offer Milestones for Improving Employee Retention

Career Ladders for Retention

Employee retention has become an even higher priority for many financial executives lately. High achievers who see no upward mobility or few opportunities for professional development with their current employer may feel especially restless, and quietly launch a job search.

Financial leaders surveyed for the Benchmarking the Accounting & Finance Function 2015 report from Robert Half and the Financial Executives Research Foundation indicated that focusing on ongoing staff development is an important element in retaining top talent over the long term. The report notes that many organizations are also using promotion opportunities and succession plans to encourage retention.

These topics can be discussed in one-to-one meetings with your employees about their unique “career ladders.” Career ladders refer to a sequence of goals — often ascending positions, or “rungs” on the ladder — that can serve as road map for an employee’s progression toward increasing levels of responsibility in your organization.

Charting a future path — and identifying hurdles

While it’s common practice to review your employees’ performance, compensation and professional prospects during the annual review process, a career ladder discussion should be a separate meeting. The objectives of this discussion are to:

  • Identify potential career paths for the employee at the company
  • Highlight specific positions and milestones on that path
  • Identify any potential obstacles, such as skills gaps, and ways to overcome them, such as through training

The meeting should conclude with the selection of a date to check in with the employee on his or her progress toward promotion or other specific milestone. And because a professional’s career ladder can be quite dynamic, be sure to check in regularly with your staff members to gauge how their career goals may be evolving.

Career ladders can help your employees to better visualize their future in your organization, and understand the specific steps they need to take to reach their professional goals. Help them to set those plans in motion by connecting them with opportunities to engage in leadership training, mentorship programs and continuing professional education.

Does your business use career ladders? Share your best practices below. 

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