What is Career Mapping?

TalentGuard - What is Career Mapping?

It’s no secret that employees leave companies because they often feel as if their contributions aren’t seen or valued. Internal growth and retention among employees are key pieces of the HR puzzle. One of the best ways to stay connected to employees and alleviate their fears is through career mapping.

Career mapping is the strategic process through which organizations create transparent career paths that enable employees to visualize how their skills and aspirations align with future roles across the organization—whether upward, lateral, or downward. It empowers employees to take charge of their careers by exploring these pathways, identifying necessary upskilling opportunities, seeking mentors, engaging in continuous learning, and more. This proactive approach not only supports personal growth but also enhances organizational agility by aligning talent development with strategic objectives.

Career paths are key to retention, as they demonstrate to the employee from the onset that the company cares about their future. This increases employee productivity and output while serving as the basis for a strong, thriving culture. A detailed career path helps in identifying opportunities for advancement, considering the employee’s skills, objectives, and interests.

Career maps and paths work in conjunction with the HR team to give employees an overview of what they can achieve, the steps to get there, and how their contributions will be of value to the company. This helps in building motivation to learn more, develop their skill set, and showcase those skills throughout their career.


Career Mapping Tool

There are a few ways to map out a career. Many human resources teams use a career mapping tool to provide a big-picture overview of where the employee is and the steps they should take to get to the next level. When using a career map, conducting a self-assessment, considering the goals of the organization, personal development goals, and considering which roles would be the best fit are all ways to figure it out.

A career progression framework can show development and any opportunities along the way that can be plugged in using real-time data. Career ladders and lattices can be used in this type of framework to show progression and mobility over time. The best way to stay aligned with professional goals is to have a document or software that can not only map it out, but remind you where you are, what needs to be done, and when.

No matter the profession, being able to create goals to align with your passion and interests starts with researching roles you are interested in based on what your dream job looks like. Then, creating a list of positions and knowledge you’ll need to move can show where you need to expand your skill set. A career mapping tool helps see forward, sideways, and backward moves.


Career Mapping for Employees

What does career mapping for employees look like? First, it means human resources must have a participatory role in creating a career progression framework. There are different ways to use a career map tool, so figuring out the one that works best for the employee can make a difference in how involved they are in the career progression plan.

Employees may not understand the career mapping process. This is where the HR team can discuss the benefits of career mapping to further reinforce the company’s position of creating a culture where employees are seen, heard, developed, and prepped to advance within the organization. Here are a few benefits employees should be aware of:

  • Self-awareness
    It’s easy to think you want to be CEO without realizing how much work goes into becoming the person that runs everything. This process helps employees become better in tune with their skills and abilities.
  • Knowledge
    Career mapping helps put new roles on the radar. This brings clarity to the employee, showcasing the skills they have and the skills they need.
  • Self-development
    It isn’t easy looking in the mirror and facing some truths. Some employees figure out early on that they don’t want to do the additional work. It takes discipline, focus, and drive to accomplish goals and adopt traits that will keep you moving up the ladder.
  • Assessment
    This also helps employees recognize when they are content and happy in their role and when they really accept the challenge of wanting more.
  • Visibility
    Career mapping means more visibility for employees and opportunities to engage with the people who may be responsible for growth and promotion.

How to Improve Career Development in an Organization

Career development is important for each employee in the organization – even the CEO. Career mapping benefits the organization by helping with engagement, retention, and future-proofing the company as it moves forward. A career progression framework for each employee helps the company set itself up for succession, with the right employees being developed for roles that keep the company strong.

The HR team must place high importance on how to improve career development in an organization, realizing that the company is only as strong as the employees that keep it running. Developing a career path framework that addresses the needs of the organization while enhancing the skill sets of current employees makes a difference in how employees view the company, why they will remain loyal to the company, and where they aspire to go within the company.

Getting a career path framework properly set up takes time, but the right career mapping tools and software can streamline the process, providing accessibility to employees to track their progress and make changes over time. Giving employees autonomy over their career mapping helps them with accountability and demonstrates that employees are serious about moving up.

Career Mapping Examples

Some employees use a career map maker to outline roles they would like in the future. Some components of a good career map include job descriptions, skills, competencies, personality profiles, and training and development. Career mapping examples also include a career mind map template, which provides critical thinking for the employee. They determine a starting point and final goal. In the middle of those goals, the employee lists all the steps and goals needed to advance along that line to reach the final goal. A sample template may look like this:

  • Starting job title and description (of the new role)
  • Add additional requirements
  • Add personality profile
  • Create goals under a separate heading (use the S.M.A.R.T. system)
  • Add the things under the goals that work to your benefit, like experience, reviews, achievements or rewards, and additional education
  • Ending job title and all the details needed to acquire this role

Using this strategy helps put things into perspective and create a big-picture view of how this works for employees and the employer. To see how TalentGuard can help with your career mapping strategy, request a demo with us today!


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