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Don't let your employees fall down the 'career hole'! Help them map their career path to improve staff retention in your company

by , 22 April 2013
New studies reveal that 'ants don't have a career ladder, they have a career hole, and only the wiliest of the insects can avoid falling down it.' It's the same in the workplace! Unless your employees have a clear career path in mind, they're likely to jump from job to job - leaving you with the headache of regularly refilling their position. Here's how helping your employees plan their careers can help avoid this headache...

'A particular genus of carpenter ants (Camponotus fellah) exist in a complex social structure, where their first jobs see them caring for the queen and her offspring, and as the ants age many of them wind up working at more and more of a distance from the big cheese according to an academic paper released this week,' reports The Register.

This means, as they age they actually go down the career ladder – not up. And that can't be good for the recruiters of these positions.

This research proves why having an effective career planning process in place is essential when it comes to attracting and retaining staff in your company. After all, if a staff member no longer feels satisfied that he'll be able to achieve his career goals, he's more likely to leave your company in search of greener pastures.

Here's how concentrating on career planning can help you avoid this…

Why career planning is so important for managing and retaining your staff

'With the war for talent and scarce skills reaching critical proportions, you need to ensure you will be an employer of choice for current and prospective employees,' advises The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management. After all, 'your ability to offer career opportunities and opportunities for growth and development are critical success factors in attracting and retaining talent.'

And that means you need to actively help your employees map their careers so they know what their career path is and what they need to do to achieve their career goals.

Use these four tips to ensure career planning is a key focus in your company

  1. Don't make career planning an annual event, advises The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management. 'Career planning should be a continuous process which allows employees to develop and change their career plans, while you plan on how you can meet these aspirations.'
  2. Don't reserve career planning for new, young or talented employees. Even an employee who's on the brink of retirement needs to have a career plan to ensure you timeously address the challenge of transfer and retention of scarce and critical skills.
  3. Take joint responsibility for career planning. If you leave career planning up to your employee, 'it'll negatively impact on your ability to retain talent (and therefore even your ability to meet strategic business objectives) if you don't take joint responsibility for career planning,' warns the Guide.
  4. Don't allow career maps to focus only on upward mobility (i.e. a promotion). 'A career path is a chessboard – every move (whether lateral or horizontal) should be a stepping stone towards achieving the employee's career aspirations,' advises the Guide.

So there you have it! By understanding your role in helping your employees achieve their career goals, you'll be able to retain talented staff and improve staff retention in your company.

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