Organizations need to identify the core roles and levels within their organization and then set the criteria on what it takes to advance to these roles. A skills analysis is also necessary to see where you have gaps in your talent.
Pros and Cons of Career Mapping
Larger organizations tend to benefit the most from this method because there are simply more positions and places for people to move. For start-ups and smaller companies, it can be more of a challenge. "If you start off in an entrepreneurial atmosphere with little or no structure, it can be difficult to accomplish structure after the fact. Most people, however, want definition and structure," says Hurst.
It's not to say it can't be done, but companies then need to walk a fine line between overly processed methods and no structure at all; in both cases you run the risk of losing key personnel.
That said, career mapping is possible in any size organization, Mantle says. "One of the most important aspects of this [career mapping] is to have clear levels within the organization for which there are objective criteria, so people can understand what to do to go from level to level within the organization. Without this clear set of criteria, it's almost impossible to successfully manage career paths." says Mantle. This, he notes, is key to get the process going within your company.
There are downsides, however. You could potentially lose good people. "It becomes incumbent on managers to help employees understand their career goals and some may not be attainable in your organization," says Mantle. The bottom-line is that sometimes for employees to grow professionally the position needed lies outside the company. Losing personnel isn't easy, but career mapping creates a pipeline of talent within your organization for you to draw upon when this happens.
Where to Start Your Map
There are different schools of thought on how to implement mapping. For example, Hurst says, "The best start for implementation is an overall, top-down mentality where the executive leadership believes in promoting from within." And others like Mantle say it's the role of a manger to take up this cause, although he cautions not to go it alone. Enlist the help of someone in your HR department. "Without a buy-in from HR, you're doomed to failure, "says Mantle.
Each employee should also build his/her own Career Map that includes the following:
Employee profile that list jobs and roles you have fulfilled (be specific).
An idea or goal position that includes positions within and outside of your company.