Nothing is stable about a career ladder!

Is it just me or has anyone noticed in the blame and claim adverts there is always a ladder present? It’s not surprising as a ladder is not exactly a stable or flexible platform from which to operate. So if a ladder is synonymous with accidents, risk and limitations, why do businesses promote career ‘ladders’?

One route, one destination, through and industry or a business for a person to build their career. Maybe a ladder is an accurate picture but the narrow development and experience isn’t creating the opportunities in an environment where the employee is king, it might be time to pack the ladder away.

Surely this is an outdated form of thinking and the following stats are great indicators it’s just not working. A Gallup survey found one in 10 people possess the unique combination of talents needed to effectively manage and organisations fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the manager job a whopping 82% of the time. BambooHR found that the average company loses 1 in 3 of their new hires within the first six months. The same survey discovered that 33% of leaders at companies with 100+ employees are looking for new jobs. More than 70% of high-retention-risk employees say they have to leave their organisation to advance their careers.

The impact on business is so significant it can’t be ignored. The financial cost of recruiting people, the time and investment to develop them in the systems, processes and products (assuming they have all the skills required). Add to this the loss of productivity with new employees learning curve and the risk they won’t fit the culture of the business; it has to be in businesses best interest to career plan brilliantly.

Employees want a more varied degree of opportunity. Talented and capable applicants are demanding more than just money. If people come for money then they will leave for money, businesses have to do something more than that to make people come and make them want to stay.

The approach to succession planning is too narrow for today’s employee centric workforce. An employee might typically excel in sales and move up the ladder towards a team leader position. All of a sudden, this talented salesperson is managing and leading a group of people with only technical skills from a sales background. The requirements of a management or team leader position are often not matched to the stand out candidate for promotion.

The idea that an employee could be moved sideways in a company is too much of an alien concept, but given that people now recognise the value of having a wider breadth of skills and experience, you have to ask why businesses aren’t thinking differently? I’m sure creating movement across as well as up and organisation is the solution to Peter Drucker’s principle.

"In an organisational structure, assessing an employee's potential for a promotion is often based on their performance in the current job. This eventually results in their being promoted to their highest level of competence and potentially then to a role in which they are not competent, referred to as their "level of incompetence". The employee has no chance of further promotion, thus reaching their career's ceiling in an organisation."

Pobi’s unique software equips individuals to understand their skills or experience against tangible, objective and consistent standards. It helps them identify capability gaps against roles within a business and provides options to support their development. The clarity of expectation for each role enables individuals to develop towards the standards for alternative roles. Supporting individuals in growing through the business and identifying alternative (perhaps sideways) roles that will help make them better and stronger to progress through the business.

What does this mean? It means a business can develop and identity outstanding internal candidates for roles across the whole company. This opens up the prospect to retain employees and help them gain experience across the entire organisation. 

  •     A happier, challenged and engaged workforce. 
  •     A stronger, broader, forward thinking business. 

Perhaps this could be the rebirth of a “Job for life”, imagine how powerful and attractive a prospect that would be?!

People don't necessarily want to move on, they just want options to support their growth and a limiting ladder only leads to Peter’s initial assertion of a level of incompetence, or to people leaving the business.


Maven Consultancy