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Customer Spotlight: 4 Essential Components for Effective Career Progression

Without a solid foundation for career progression, your team is at risk of losing motivation…and possibly leaving.

An employee’s career progression includes the steps to improve or advance in their current role and beyond. This journey is unique to each individual. Some may value compensation, while others prioritize work-life balance. 

Regardless of professional goals, research indicates that all employees want to feel valued and have a sense of belonging at work. So, how can employers create an inclusive culture and support team members in their professional journey? From onboarding to managing a team, Megan Foote, Executive Vice President of digital marketing firm IMGE, shares her pro tips for designing and reinforcing effective career progression for team members.

Start with onboarding

New hire training and onboarding provide a foundation for employees to understand what the company does and where team members fit in. In addition, employee onboarding helps new hires feel welcome and valued, acclimate to the organization and company culture, and be productive faster.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), effective onboarding led to greater employee retention and increased productivity:

  • 69% of employees are more likely to stay at a company for three years if they had a great onboarding experience 
  • Organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50% greater new hire productivity

Onboarding shouldn’t be siloed. Hiring someone for a specific role doesn’t mean they should only learn about their department and responsibilities. The onboarding process is even more effective when new hires learn about the entire company.

“A holistic onboarding experience helps ensure new team members are successful from day one—and helps maintain a consistent workplace culture,” Megan says. “We’ve found that a strong onboarding and initial training program is critical for new employee success.”

With the help of WorkRamp as a centralized hub for onboarding resources and materials, Megan and her team can promote role-specific training and provide each new employee with the cross-functional context they need to excel in their role.

“It’s important that everyone has a clear understanding of what their colleagues are doing,” Megan says. “So if I’m in a marketing role, I know what the content person on my team is doing and why they’re doing it. A transparent understanding of everyone’s responsibilities allows the team to operate more efficiently.”

Promote cross-training

As onboarding shouldn’t be siloed, neither should day-to-day responsibilities and career progression. For example, moving into a new role requires going beyond just having the skills to do the job. You also need a deep understanding of how other departments function and work together strategically.

Cross-training can help you develop your team’s capacity, making your organization more resilient if employees leave or lower-level team members move up to new positions.

“If you want to move up within marketing, for example, you should cross-train and learn more about content,” Megan says. “It’s not just the basics, and it’s going a level deeper by actually training in another position. This helps employees become more versatile in terms of skill sets and knowledge base.” 

Cross-training employees can also benefit your organization by:

  • Creating a more agile workforce
  • Developing a flexible team who can adapt and recover to changes quickly
  • Help employees be more efficient
  • Promote teamwork and collaboration

Provide people-management training

New and first-time managers may struggle to adapt to leadership positions. In addition to managing team members and their day-to-day responsibilities, leaders must also learn:

  • Prioritization and project management
  • Delegation
  • Problem-solving and conflict resolution
  • Effective communication 
  • How to support and/or coach team members
  • Goal setting and feedback

According to the Global Leadership Forecast 2021, developing the next generation of leaders is the number one challenge for CEOs, and 84 percent of U.S. workers say poorly-trained managers create unnecessary work and stress.

Effective managers need proper training. But leadership training isn’t a one-time thing; it’s also important for employees who manage others to have ongoing training and a library of resources. 

Read More: Proven Strategies to Design Leadership Development Training That Works

To do this, IMGE set up specific Pathways in WorkRamp for manager training. The people-management library includes resources such as:

  • Tips and tricks for new managers
  • Helpful resources, articles, and books
  • Spreadsheets, docs, and/or templates
  • Advice for dealing with specific challenges and problem-solving tips for situations managers may encounter 

“[This people management library] is a great way to have something evergreen that people can always look back to.”

Focus on company culture

Company culture isn’t just a buzzword used by HR teams or job descriptions. According to the 2022 Job Seeker Nation Report, 55 percent of workers say they would leave a new job if the culture is not aligned with their values. Positive company culture can lead to several benefits for employees, including:

  • Employees are more likely to enjoy work
  • Workers feel like valued members of the team
  • Helps to attract and retain talent
  • Increases employee engagement

Creating a positive company culture isn’t just the HR team’s responsibility. Managers must ensure they promote the workplace culture and values in their interaction with team members.

“When you reach a professional level where you manage other people, upholding company culture is a core part of the role,” Megan says. “You take on the responsibility of ensuring that the way you lead and manage people reflects the culture the company is trying to maintain.”

There are many ways for managers to support employees and promote positive company culture, such as:

  • Celebrating wins and providing positive feedback
  • Getting input from employees on what can be changed or improved in the workplace
  • Promoting continuous learning opportunities
  • Providing mentorship and coaching 
  • Offering flexible working options (remote/hybrid)

An ongoing approach to career progression

Supporting an employee’s career progression should start during onboarding and continue through their tenure at your organization. Helping team members pursue their professional development goals empowers them to level up and fuels your entire organization. 

New hire training, leadership development, company culture, and ongoing learning and development are integral components of a successful career progression strategy. Want to learn more about how to use WorkRamp to promote career progression? Contact us to schedule a personalized demo. 


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