A career ladder is described as a structured process through which an employee can make progress in various job positions in the organization. The word ladder has an essential significance because the workforce advances to the top position of authority, responsibility, and salary in a vertical position just as if someone were climbing a ladder step-by-step.
In a traditional sense, the term career ladder has been used to identify, motivate and reward the employees whom the company considers invaluable and capable of high performances. It is used as a useful tool to nurture and develop the workforce from the basic level to the top through various stages just like the steps on a ladder.
A career ladder serves as a development path in an organization that provides norms, direction, structure, and clarity to achieve a sense of ownership and desired success. The employee must show the willingness and competence to take on new responsibilities. Although a career ladder is considered a vertical progression but in some progressive companies, it also includes lateral positions for optimized effectiveness and productivity.
Building a career ladder
The jobs that have a career ladder include the ones in
- Law enforcement
- Customer service
Making a personal career ladder is vital for an organization and starts with a solid foundation. The important steps include
1. Create a career roadmap
It is essential to have clear goals in a professional life hence create a career roadmap and set achievable deadlines to reach your desired goal
2. Build position profiles
Build position profiles so that you are aware of the numerous steps that are involved in the career ladder. Outline the skills and responsibilities needed for the positions and understand the expertise and qualifications that are associated with all the different roles, positions and stages in the career ladder.
It also includes required skill, education, license, technical training and certification for successful performance at every step
3. Define performance standards
Every step in the career ladder has some core competencies and requirements attached to it. Define performance standards to align the career path with the acquired competencies
4. Include training and development
To move forward in the career path include the training and development process. This will help the employees to climb one step after another in a competent manner.
5. Establish accountability
Defined roles, responsibilities and requirements make it easy for an employee to reach desired goals and objectives. The key is to establish accountability so that the management can see the difference and help you in climbing the steps of the career ladder successfully
Benefits of the career ladder
A career ladder is beneficial for both the employees and the employer in an organization. Some of them are as follows-
1. Motivational tool
When an employee knows that there is precedence in the organization of using the career ladder for professional growth and development, it will motivate him to do better and step on that ladder. This is a great motivational tool
2. Clarity on potential future
A career ladder offers clarity in envisioning the future in a company. The roadmap is clear, and the employee is aware of the steps that need to be taken to reach the endgame. Clarity on potential future helps the workforce to make the cycle easy, fast and objective.
3. Employee engagement
Through the career ladder, the organization helps the employees to have a formal mechanism wherein they know which way to go to achieve desired success. The employees feel that the organization is investing in them by making all the steps clear-cut. Each step on the ladder requires some formal training and skill and the employee is aware of it beforehand.
From the beginning, they are prepared to take the tasks and projects that will make them one step further towards the top. The workforce feels valued and it increases their engagement.
4. Reduces bias
Career ladder helps to minimize real or perceived bias because promotion and raise are only based on excellent performance and not because someone is dear to someone in the company.
5. Employee retention
The employees are aware that every step in the ladder will provide additional benefits and career growth in terms of authority, role, and responsibility soon if they can maintain and boost both efficiency and productivity levels.
This helps the organization retain the workforce quite easily because the employees know that they have to start from the first step in a new organization whereas they have reached a certain level here and the next stages will be easy and quick to climb.
6. Employers save extra expenses
Employees want to stay with organizations that have the scope for advancement. This helps the company to minimize employee turnover and save on expenses related to hiring, training, Onboarding, etc
7. An incentive for excellent performance
One of the critical factors in a career ladder path is high job performance. The employees are encouraged to show their competency and perform at a high-efficiency level through training and experience.
These employees are promoted one step at a time on the career ladder so that it acts as an incentive towards excellent performance
8. Attract talent
Organizations are always on the look-out to hire new and fresh talent who are hungry enough to work hard and step on the career ladder that will one day take them to the top. These are the ones that will keep their eye on the top slot and thrive in the various positions of the career ladder.
It becomes easy to attract talent who are happy to start at the bottom because the path to higher levels is clear and they have the necessary self-confidence to climb the other steps one by one.
9. Competent workforce
One of the benefits of a career ladder is a competent and trained workforce. Every step in the career ladder requires some additional knowledge and skill and to take a step further; the employee has to take the initiative by himself to learn some new component or get additional training.
This helps the employees to gain invaluable experience as well as enhanced skill set at essential phases in life. For an organization, it means an active and well-trained workforce that is moving with the times
10. Assigning tasks as per the capabilities
The career ladder acts as a useful tool for the management in assigning tasks as per the capabilities and requirements. The employees who are at the bottom are given tasks as per their status and as they reach higher, the level of complexities becomes greater.
The more you climb at the top the more difficult the assignment is going to be because the people at those positions have gained the necessary abilities, skills, and know-how to do them effectively. The management prepares the employees at lower levels in developing the qualities that will help them to work effectively during their vertical progress.
They are allotted tasks ad projects that will help them to learn and manage the next level to some degree. This is a continuous process that will go on until the employee reaches the desired destination.