Career Architecture: Sculpting Long-Term Success

Modern careers are non-linear and can include moves that are vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. That’s why the nomenclature has moved on from ‘career ladders’ to ‘career paths’. A career is no longer a vertical progression through an organization’s hierarchy. People expect their career paths to not only account for their skills and talents but also factor in their life and career stages. Not content with being shoehorned into managerial positions to grow, people explore options outside their current companies to grow their careers instead.

With companies already struggling to find the right-fit talent, this exodus of people worsens the supply-demand gap and increases the pressure on recruitment teams as well as talent management professionals. Much like a plant growing within a lattice, talented people will find ways to grow. However, the onus lies with companies to address their needs and nurture them.

To unlock the power of non-linear career paths in your company and help your people grow, there are some aspects you can focus on:

1. Assess the general infrastructure: The first question to ask is whether the overall environment encourages learning and growth. Do people feel empowered to think about careers outside the linear career ladders and do they feel safe to explore outside their comfort zones? Invest time and effort in understanding what people want and identifying their aspirations. This can be done through personal interviews, organization-wide surveys, or using a tool like the TMA assessment, which provides other insights about skills and motives as well

2. Create career paths: Based on what you hear from people, create career paths using the following steps:

  •  Undertake a comprehensive job evaluation exercise to understand how different roles across the organization compare with each other.
  • Chart the behavioral and technical competencies needed for each role.
  • Create career heatmaps and roadmaps to indicate the multiple growth opportunities that are available at each level based on the competencies.
  • Invite people to participate in shadowing and mentoring opportunities to undertake a safe exploration of new jobs.

3. COMMUNICATE! Let people know about how they can shape their own careers. Advertise the career mobility options available for growth to the outside world as well and strengthen your EVP (employer value proposition). Build spaces for people to discuss their individual development plans with their managers based on the options available. Collect feedback on an ongoing basis about how people feel about the growth options being provided to them and realign your career architecture as needed. Celebrate the successes of your career mobility program by narrating stories of people benefitting from it.

The best people in every company are looking for opportunities to utilize their talents and skills to the maximum. Providing them with options to own their career mobility improves their workforce experience (Wx) and helps them be more engaged and productive.

To craft your own career architecture that aligns with your business objectives and is meaningful to your people, reach out to us compteam.

About the Author

(Collaborators: Sam Reeve, Howard Nizewitz, Char Miller, Sumit Singla)

Sumit Singla

Founder of eleventHR Consulting.

Sumit has been working in HR & HR consulting roles for 16+
years across sectors and verticals and specializes in
organization design, wellbeing, storytelling & design thinking, and performance management. In his career with consulting firms such as Aon, Deloitte, and Accenture, he has successfully led programs aimed at total HR transformation for clients.

 Recently, as Associate Director for India Consulting at Deloitte, he worked with clients on cultural transformation and HR process and policy design. He also organized and spoke at conferences and events about a variety of topics relevant to HR today.

Now self-employed, he works with clients across the globe on a variety of HR solution areas.

Sumit Singla
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