Employers are juggling a lot right now. Some main challenges? The Great Resignation has seen millions of people quitting jobs, and the ongoing pandemic has made people want remote working capabilities more than ever.
So, as an employer, how do you navigate all of this to create a work environment where employees feel happy and supported in their careers?
One of the first steps is to hire the right people for the right jobs. Then, you can help each person on your team create an employee growth roadmap, which will enable them to understand their path at your organization better and visualize what their future there could look like.
Employee Growth Roadmaps: The Basics
The employee growth roadmaps should track the progress in the core skills and knowledge each team member needs to succeed in their role. You can also track areas like:
You can use a ranking system (like 1-10) to track employees’ growth in these different areas. Be sure to communicate to employees that the purpose of these rankings is to help them shine their brightest.
These employee growth roadmaps don’t have to look fancy. They can be in the form of Google Docs you privately share with each employee and their direct manager, so everyone involved can keep track of the employee’s growth over time. What matters most is how you approach building these employee growth roadmaps and working with your employees to ensure they’re benefitting from this exercise.
But of course, for employees to grow in different areas, they need to have avenues to understand what’s expected of them, get feedback, act on that feedback, and stretch their skills and knowledge. Here’s how you can build a strong foundation to help your team get the most out of employee growth roadmaps.
1. Establish Organizational Goals and Objectives
Whether an employee has been at your company for one day, one year, or ten years, it’s a good idea to go over your organization’s goals and objectives with them. That way, you can ensure all parties have a common understanding of:
What the organization is currently trying to accomplish
Where the organization sees itself headed in the future
What each employee needs to do to help the organization—and themselves—be successful
Once you (or the employee’s direct manager) discuss these overall goals and objectives, it’s time to discuss the unique projects and tasks each employee is responsible for. Managers and employees should take a holistic look at the projects and tasks, such as deliverables and deadlines.
As part of that conversation, you or the direct manager should also bring up work-life balance. Given the hectic nature of some projects, sometimes employees don’t feel like they can sit back for a moment, take a breath, and celebrate small victories. By establishing mini-milestones, employees can take breathers more often. So, you or the direct manager should create mini-roadmaps for current projects in each employee’s roadmap. These mini-roadmaps will establish the key deadlines and milestones on the way to the main goals.
2. Evaluate the Strengths and Weaknesses of Team Members
There is no such thing as a perfect human being. We all have strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses make us unique.
It’s crucial that employees are aware of the value they bring to the table and the skills they can continue to improve. For example, an employee can have fantastic project management skills but be bad at public speaking. By improving their public speaking skills, that employee can add even more value to your organization. They’ll also be able to carry that skill with them wherever they go next in their career.
You can show employees that you appreciate them and encourage them to level up by having open discussions with them about their strengths and weaknesses.
A good place to start? Train managers to openly discuss these topics in a non-condescending way during performance reviews and 1:1s (more on 1:1s in a bit!). Check out this research on ideal praise-to-criticism ratios for inspiration.
When it comes to performance reviews, we recommend breaking them down into various sections based on the core responsibilities and skills of the role. If we’re talking about a member of your content marketing team, for example, here are a few categories you could include:
Talk with each manager to determine how to split up the sections for different roles. Then, work with the managers to create a ranking system for each category. From there, instruct managers on how to give fair and honest reviews about how the employee is doing in every category. If the managers are too easy with their feedback, employees will be in for a bad surprise down the road—they thought they were meeting their goals just fine, but they actually aren’t.
On the other hand, if the managers are too strict with their feedback, employees may feel like their work will never be up to par, no matter how hard they work.
By reviewing employees’ strengths and weaknesses, managers can help employees use their strengths in the most effective ways possible and guide them on improving their weaknesses.
3. Hold Regular 1:1s
Whether your organization is entirely remote, in person, or going with a hybrid model, regular 1:1s between managers and employees are essential.
If you already have regular 1:1s at your organization, it never hurts to give them a refresh. If you don’t have regular 1:1s, you should establish them!
Think of them as the “touchpoints” that come before performance reviews. With regular 1:1s, managers and employees can check in with each other on goals, performance, and other issues (such as needing some time off due to a family matter). Here are some topics managers and employees can discuss:
Roadblocks and concerns
1:1s shouldn’t be all business, either. Managers should throw some fun questions in the mix to lighten up the conversation, like “What’s one fun thing you did last weekend?” and “What’s a great book you recently read?”
If your organization doesn’t already have a 1:1 system and you’re just establishing one, be sure to first inform everyone about why you’re implementing 1:1s and what they should expect to discuss during their meetings. You don’t want employees thinking they’re about to be in the hot seat.
Additionally, be sure to train managers on how to become pros at 1:1s—for example, encourage them to actively listen to employees and give honest feedback. You can even roll out a tool like Pingboard to help managers with their coaching skills and help create enjoyable, productive 1:1s for everyone.
As for how frequent these 1:1s should be, you can have everyone at the organization meet with the same frequency or leave that decision up to each department or individual managers. Speaking from our experience at Pingboard, we recommend weekly 1:1s. That frequency gives managers and employees a “bite-sized” way to track goals and adjust tasks as needed.
4. Organize Training and Coaching Opportunities
Performance reviews and 1:1s are helpful, but regular training and coaching opportunities where employees can learn new skills and knowledge will help them flourish in their roles even more.
For example, you can create a “thought leaders” program where you bring in influential people in your industry to share their insights with your team once a month. Or, you can give employees stipends to attend conferences and take courses to boost their skills.
These extended training and coaching opportunities will show employees that they work for an organization that is genuinely invested in their growth. Employees will be able to expand their skills and learn new things that will help them in their current roles and help them in their future roles—which might be higher-level roles at your organization!
Don’t Forget to Update Employee Growth Roadmaps
Remember how earlier, we suggested using Google Docs for employee growth roadmaps? No matter which method you use—be it Google Docs or good old-fashioned pen and paper—remember to track the progress of each employee’s growth over time.
You can weave these updates into 1:1s at your organization to make things easier. For example, you can tell managers to spend part of the last 1:1 each month collaborating with employees to update their growth roadmaps.
Once you have a comprehensive employee growth roadmap system rolling, you can tackle employee journey mapping. Employee journey mapping is the method of mapping the various journeys different types of employees at your organization take, from the start to the end of their tenures.
Employee journey maps are centered on employee personas rather than exact correlations with existing employees. However, when you combine employee growth roadmaps and employee journey maps, you’ll be able to unlock a new level of understanding your team members, connecting with them, and helping them be their very best each day.
Pingboard can help you unlock your team's full potential. With tools like Pingboard 1:1s, the org chart, and more, you can set each employee up for success at your organization and beyond. Sign up for a Pingboard account to see it all in action.
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