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A Checklist For Improving Employee Development and Advancement Opportunities

It is clear from the many employee satisfaction surveys and exit surveys we have done that career growth and development are among the primary reasons why employees decide to stay or leave where they work. However, our benchmark norms suggest that many employers are not taking sufficient action to fully develop their employees and to help them successfully build their careers, which can lead to the unnecessary turnover of valuable employees.

We understand there are often many obstacles to internal employee development in most organizations, including:
  • Simply by definition, there will be limited opportunities for career growth in every organization.
  • There are often barriers between departments that constrain the ability for employees to move internally.
  • Fixed time-in-position policies may prevent employees from advancing when they are ready to do so.
  • Internal job posting systems can be slow, unwieldy and incomplete.
  • Employees may believe (sometimes correctly!) that favoritism and "who you know" plays more of a role in determining advancement than merit.
  • Training opportunities intended to prepare employees for future responsibilities may be discouraged in favor of training that relates strictly to their current position.
  • There may be no process in place to help employees with unclear career goals or no senior oversight of internal talent management activities.
  • Managers may be concerned more about their own careers than about the career growth of their direct reports.

We've created the following checklist as a way for employers to start breaking down some of these barriers to internal career growth and advancement:
  1. Provide self-assessment tools and career self-management training to all employees.
  2. Offer tools and training on coaching for all managers.
  3. Clearly define a variety of career paths and the related skills required and make this information readily accessible.
  4. Create meaningful alternatives to traditional career ladders.
  5. Keep employees informed about your organization's strategy and direction, especially your forecasts for talent needs.
  6. Build and maintain a comprehensive, fair and efficient internal job-posting process.
  7. Demonstrate a clear preference for hiring from within.
  8. Eliminate management practices and HR policies that block internal employee movement.
  9. Create a strong culture of mentoring and development.
  10. Separate career development discussions from performance appraisals.
  11. Implement an effective talent review and succession management process.
  12. Initiate and/or maintain a strong commitment to employee training.

And how do you decide if you are making progress? Retention by job level/type is an essential barometer of progress but you can also use your employee survey to assess how your employees feel about their career possibilities, how fairly they believe promotions are made and the degree to which they believe that talent and merit decide who advances within your organization.

Robert Gray

Where do you fall within our Employee Survey Loyalty Matrix?

Committed Loyalist
Change Seeker
Dissatisfied Compromiser
Satisfied Opportunist

Take our short demo survey and find out now. An Insightlink 4Cs Survey can let you see this valuable data on employee engagement within your organization.

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Some of our satisfied clients

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Get a no-obligation quote today and find out how improving employee satisfaction can also improve your bottom line.

Did you know?

Our repeat clients who have used our 4Cs Action Planning Workbook average a 7% increase in overall satisfaction on follow-up employee surveys.

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Employee surveys are a low cost investment in the success and profitability of your company. Research shows that companies with higher levels of employee satisfaction financially outperform their peers.

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