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How to deploy manager’s behaviours to support career progression

Career progression plays an important role in making your employees feel valued and appreciated. Read how you can support this as a proactive manager.
Hand holding a growing plant
© CIPD

Lack of career progression can be one of the main factors why employees move on from their current employment. So, what is career progression?

Career progression is the process of being promoted or moving up the career ladder, progressing at every stage during your working life. Moving forward, getting a pay increase (in most instances), finding new challenges, new employers, new opportunities and getting the most out of your career.

Career progression plays an important role in making your employees feel valued and appreciated, which links back to feeling a sense of belonging. Below is a diagram of the stages of what career development looks like.

Career Development. There is an animated image of three people in the middle of this this diagram and it says career development. Surrounding it is five further circles showing in the following order: Self assessment, career awareness, goal setting, skill training and performing

Source: mba SKOOL – Career Development

Retaining staff is a valuable skill for organisations to create as recruitment can be time consuming and costly. It is always a good strategy to develop from within. We talked about some of the behaviours managers should adopt to create a sense of belonging.

Such behaviours can assist in building strong relationships that encourage your staff to stay in your organisation which keeps your retention rate at a healthy level.

As a proactive manager here are some behaviours you can consider that support career progression:

  • Be culturally intelligent
  • Speak to your employees and identify mutually beneficial solutions
  • Create a Mentoring Programme
  • Foster a culture of knowledge-sharing
  • Discuss and define a development path
  • Be a good coach
  • Express and show genuine interest in your team members’ personal well-being
  • Be a good communicator and listen to your team
  • Provide constructive, consistent meaningful feedback
  • Have a clear vision and strategy for the team
  • Give recognition and praise
  • Provide strong leadership and a clear vision
  • Celebrate your team members success
  • Support your team members’ development and growth

Be mindful that there are times when there just isn’t a progression opportunity internally. This can cause friction and lack of motivation with members of your team. Do not shy away from this conversation.

Continue to have development conversations and value your staff. The fact of the matter is, sometimes there aren’t any vacancies available or the scope to move your people upwards.

Also, you are unable to even create opportunities internally for people to progress. It is a case of developing up or developing out, meaning once people have been developed to their capacity, they will eventually leave the organisation for the progression and promotion they have been working towards. This is at times unavoidable.

  1. How would you handle a situation, if you knew a member of your team wanted to progress but there weren’t opportunities anytime soon within the organisation?
  2. Share your experiences of developing up or out, either your own or of people you manage or managed in the past (be mindful not to identify anyone specifically).
  3. As a manager, what do you think your biggest challenges are when dealing with progression and retention?
© CIPD
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