The Importance of Career Growth: Are You Hiring for Dead End Jobs?

November 1, 2012

In last week’s blog post, I wrote about the importance of having a competitive compensation plan for your employees. But there is another component that entices top talent to join your team and top performers to stay: career growth.

Any employee you want to hire will be driven by professional growth. Not surprisingly, aside from compensation, one big reason that people feel the itch to move on is lack of career growth potential.

Just yesterday I had a call with a successful sales representative from a company known for being a great place to work. The candidate was consistently exceeding quota, and when I probed as to why he was looking to make a move to a new company, he responded that there was no career growth opportunity where he was.

The next step, he said, would be his manager’s job and his manager was not going anywhere. In other words, this candidate had reached a dead end.

Believe it or not, this is quite common. People are promised career growth at a company — an opportunity to move up the ladder and gain responsibility — but a lot of times companies fall short on delivering this, and it’s a big mistake.

When you hire on a new employee, make sure you can account for their career growth potential.

I’m not suggesting that each and every employee needs to be promoted like clockwork. But there are employees who stand out who should be moved up the ranks, as opposed to getting stalled in their current role like some sort of professional purgatory because there is no clear next position for them.

One of the benefits of being in the expansion stage is that companies have less red tape to cut through when promoting an employee. For example, you do not need approval from a multitude of stakeholders, nor do you need huge fanfare. Candidates are drawn to working for startups and expansion-stage companies because there is upside and career growth potential.

For each position that you hire it is important you think long term. “Will this person have a seat here in two years time? How about five?” If the answer is yes, map out what that growth will look like and share it with the employee. By showing that person their career growth potential you will get better results from them, and they’ll be a happier employee as a result. Employees feel valued when you show them that you are thinking of them long term, and that’s also not a one-way street. Employees who have upside will be more likely to stay loyal to your company and exhibit signs of leadership.

If the position does not have career growth potential, you must be upfront. The worst thing you can do is lure a candidate in to your company under false pretenses that he or she will be able to move up within a certain time frame, and then not deliver. It is no different than a candidate fabricating his or her qualifications. You must be upfront. Some individuals will be okay with a role that does not have significant career growth potential, but my guess is that you do not want to hire those individuals.

Career growth is something that should weigh heavily on your decision to hire for your company. Do the positions you’re hiring for have an upside?

Senior Corporate Recruiter

<strong>Lindsey Gurian</strong> is the Senior Corporate Recruiter at <a href="">Acquia</a>. She was previously a Senior Talent Specialist at Sonian, responsible for recruiting initiatives at both the firm and its portfolio companies.