Career Path Framework

In 2018, LinkedIn made a stunning discovery as part of its annual research on workplace learning. If a company invests in employees’ professional growth, 94 percent of executives will stay longer. That’s why establishing a targeted and comprehensive career path framework is critical to the long-term success of your business – and it’s never too soon to start thinking about one! This thorough guide will teach you what we mean by a career path framework, how to create one that performs, and the best practices to follow to ensure that it is a long-term success for your organization.

What Is a Career Path Framework?

career path framework

Continuous personal development and professional growth is the primary goal of a career path framework. It assists your team members in achieving their career objectives (s). There is no one-size-fits-all approach to professional development, and it will differ markedly for each employee of the organization. Some people desire to advance their jobs, and some like to change careers entirely. Some people are content with simply progressing in their current position.

Both the management and the staff can shape and impact career development. Create a clear career path framework to help employees understand how they may improve and thrive at your organization. Your coworkers would be able to visualize their upcoming steps and make efforts to move forward using this approach.

Examples of these acts are taking classes or training courses, reading magazines or subscribing to podcasts, offering or partaking in mentorship programs, and much more. One of the best approaches to promoting your teammates’ growth is creating a professional path framework and having plenty of learning opportunities.

What Are the Benefits of a Career Progression Framework?

career path

A career path framework necessitates a significant initial expenditure of resources, but the long-term advantages far transcend the initial effort. The following are the primary benefits of establishing a solid career path framework for any expanding company:

  • You can encourage employee engagement, efficiency, and retention by providing a clear, organized path to professional advancement.
  • Define responsibilities and compensation and what personnel must achieve to advance to remove biases and improve fairness.
  • Gather market data to create salary ranges per grade, function, and area to streamline and improve salaries.
  • Encourage people to collaborate on their career growth to foster a learning culture.
  • Official paperwork should clearly and efficiently communicate organizational values and expectations.

These advantages apply to all businesses but are essential for mixed, blended, and geographically distributed organizations. Documentation is crucial in a context where many discussions take place digitally because it makes information plain and available to all. Having uniform paperwork ensures that employees, regardless of whether they sit at a desk or operate remotely from all over the globe, are fairly treated.

What Are the Elements of a Job Level Framework?

Career Progression Framework

A career path framework is a blueprint for how people can advance in their professions while working for your organization. It’s a well-organized document outlining roles, duties, and advancement concerns. Your career path framework ought to include the following elements:

  • Define the present and potential jobs and titles in your organization.
  • Create clear and consistent career routes for all roles, from the most junior to the most senior.
  • Based on how much information they have, what they’re expected to achieve, how much coaching they require, and how they connect with business values. Next, map each individual to the function they’re now doing.
  • Describe what each worker needs to do or achieve to advance to a new position.

We can divide a career development framework into two routes: a specialist contributor road and a leadership course, in addition to the numerous stages of progression. This option assists your company in transitioning away from a restrictive career advancement perspective and toward a more fluid and people-centered strategy.

Previously, becoming a business leader was the only way to advance your career, make more money, and acquire a higher title. However, this strategy does not consider everyone’s abilities and goals. The individual contributor route provides an alternative, allowing one person to reap the same financial and influence benefits without managing people. The purpose of a single contributor is to evolve into an expert in their area.

Now, that you have understood the definition, upsides, and elements of a career path framework, let’s get started with how to design the perfect structure for your firm.

How to Create a Career Path Framework: 10 Easy Steps

job level framework

1. Begin with the ‘whys’ and a timeline

Consider why you’re constructing this structure; what issue(s) are you attempting to address? You might need to establish position objectives, clarify career routes, or implement equitable promotion and commission systems, for example. As you develop your structure, keep asking yourself, “Would this resolve the difficulty we’re having now?”

Now, choose the best time to begin the project depending on your company’s growth, objectives, management support, and resource availability. To spearhead the initiative, you’ll want an experienced HR expert, either in-house or somebody you hire to assist you. Set a realistic timeframe for each phase, with defined milestones for each. Monitor the project’s progress frequently and adjust the timeframe as needed.

2. Build an organizational chart

To begin, make an organizational chart if you don’t already have one. Make sure it’s updated if you have one. An organizational chart is a visual representation that depicts the structure of your company. It’s a diagram that illustrates the hierarchy and interconnections. Your company’s architecture could be classic, flat, or both.

Second, make sure your organizational chart and company plan are in sync. Are you expanding your product and service offerings? Are you growing into more markets? You might have to create new positions, teams, or departments if you don’t already have them.

3. Establish job roles

List the primary tasks for each position description now that you own an organization chart. Then, add in the schooling, certificates, and complex as well as soft skills needs. Be detailed and precise in your research. Examine recently completed projects to ensure you haven’t overlooked any skills. Incorporate the KPIs for every position as well. What criteria do you use to determine success? Consider the top performers in each situation. What features, for instance, make them efficient?

This process is known as job profiling, and it can help you figure out if a job role fits within a career cluster. Career clusters, also known as job families, are a collection of employment with comparable traits or attributes.

4. Design roadmaps for each role

Now that you’ve established your job roles, it’s time to consider the big picture. Design a roadmap or career path for each division, team, or functional area. Can entry-level professionals progress through the ranks of the company? What lateral movements are required? What methods can you use to manage multiple personal characteristics? An HR assistant, for instance, could be an entry-level role in the HR job family. Before becoming a CHRO, a person may have worked as a perks specialist, recruiter, or associate director of Human Resources.

Please note that each role will not have a single path leading to an advanced position. You will have multiple other career options if you do not have highly specialized job roles. This may be a fantastic asset in assisting each individual in finding the ideal career for them. One or maybe more lateral movements will be included in many.

5. Determine training initiatives

The next stage is to see if you can get employees to follow you down the career path framework. Begin by compiling a list of existing in-house and external training programs.

  • Is it possible for your employees to rise up the ranks with whatever you have?
  • Is peer or leadership mentoring a significant element of your culture?
  • Examine your exit interviews. Why do people quit your firm?
  • Take a poll of your employees. What kind of training are they looking for?
  • Which divisions hire from within? Which departments employ workers externally?

6. Design a targeted learning and development program

This exercise will take significant time and effort if you haven’t spent much money on training and L&D programs. You can implement this section of your firm’s career path framework. Set a schedule for implementation by identifying needs.

Of course, there’s a chance you’ll have to upset the existing quo. But that’s precisely the purpose. It would help if you incorporated your vertical expansion programs into your business plan. After that, you can include it in your budgeting. You will establish a coaching culture if you are successful. This is what distinguishes outstanding businesses.

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7. Select the right tools

There are numerous tools available to assist in the creation of a career path framework. A cloud-based solution is a suitable home for your structure, whether it’s purpose-built software, a consolidated Google Spreadsheet, or your existing skill hub. It’s simple to upgrade, safe to use, and distribute. The technology you choose will be influenced by your budget, the issues you have to address, and how it will connect with your current technologies.

8. Document your career path framework

Let’s go over everything again. You should now have the following information:

  • Organization chart
  • Job descriptions
  • Mentors and coaches
  • Roadmaps for each role
  • The right technology
  • Training types and schedules

Following the establishment of an employee’s career path framework, the management and employees should gather to smooth out any issues, answer any queries, and amend the framework as appropriate.

Consider this a shared process to boost employee buy-in and the possibility of good follow-through. An HR team member should examine the structure after it has been approved by the manager and staff to ensure that the process, budgets, and resources align with the company’s capabilities and practice guidelines.

9. Map the career path of every professional

Now is the time to start putting your career path framework to work for you. This will be done during induction for new hires. Current employees’ managers will do the same thing at performance evaluations.

Managers must discuss the employee’s short- and long-term objectives and aspirations during the career mapping discussion. If your supervisors aren’t currently doing this, you’ll have to train them. Managers will assess their progress, monitor their performance, and outline the job schedule for the future. Ensure that your supervisors organize regular training sessions. Also include staff career maps in their files.

10. Roll out your career path framework

It’s time to push out the career path framework to the whole firm after you’re satisfied. Transition, whether good or bad, is never simple. Therefore confident and better communication is critical. This will alleviate fears and give your staff a sense of worth.

You must reassure them and emphasize the significant reasons for using a career path framework. This will assist you in gaining staff support. You also should anticipate the questions you’ll get, as there will be many of them! Create a FAQs doc or page for the framework to answer frequently asked questions, and update it as needed. Both existing employees and newcomers will benefit from this.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Career Path Framework

career path frameworks

1. Not having proper alignment

Because fairness is at the heart of a career path framework, it must be uniform throughout all teams and departments. Having numerous frameworks that are incompatible will only cause problems. Operating from a single overall approach that all divisions agree on and follow is the solution. This structure should explain what is commonly anticipated of workers at each level in terms of work experience, expertise, abilities, delivery, guidance, behavior, and ethics.

Team-specific templates should always make additions and changes that do not conflict with the overall framework. The technical team, for instance, may contribute technology scenarios to contextualize a skill or value defined in the corporation model.

2. Believing it will solve all your career-related roadblocks

While having a career path framework is necessary, it will not solve all of your firm’s career-related problems. Its sole purpose should be to provide transparency and openness while allowing you to give the employees adequate processes and chances.

You should continue to develop policies that are fair in terms of salary, promotions, performance boost programs, and job rotations. It would help if you still urged people managers and team members to talk about their career expansion and growth aspirations. It would be best if you also kept working to eliminate prejudices in the office. The framework is designed to assist you in doing so, but it will not immediately fix all your problems.

3. Not seeking employee buy-in

Because your career path framework directly impacts all of your workers, having their buy-in is critical to its success. Obtaining employees’ commitment is extremely difficult if you’re creating the system without consulting them. Always ensure that teammates have the opportunity to give input before the process is finalized, regardless of how you accomplish it.

Suppose your HR department is responsible for formulating the career path framework, for example. In that case, you might provide an initial draft to each team manager to share and debate with their colleagues before finishing it. Collect feedback from them and solve many of the most prevalent issues. You won’t be able to appease everyone, but you should offer your team the opportunity to express input and feel appreciated.

4. Creating only individualistic frameworks

It’s attractive to model your career path framework on the people in your organization, but this usually only adds to the confusion. If you base your levels solely on the experience of a present employee, for example, you will set unrealistic expectations. You may eventually discover that this individual lacks or exceeds specific abilities needed for that grade of seniority, resulting in skewed expectations for all future employees.

Instead, use defined levels to construct your framework. Then, you can adapt your present staff to the structure rather than the other way. It’s more accessible and more equitable, especially if your team is increasing.

5. Missing out on internal mobility

Frameworks are pretty valuable for demonstrating why yyou should promote an employee, but don’t forget that lateral movement is just as crucial. Not everybody wants to work their way up the corporate ladder; others prefer to take a different path and try new jobs throughout their careers.

The great news is that your career path framework is just as good at picturing if a worker can effectively transition into a new position as it is at envisioning promotions. Finally, it allows skill-based thinking to take precedence over role-based reasoning. Internal mobility can boost employee retention by providing new opportunities for advancement and fostering cross-functional collaboration. Make a big deal and demonstrate to your coworkers that switching positions is possible.

How to Incorporate a Career Path Framework in Your Organization?

professional development

Career objectives are rarely set in stone and minimally follow a direct path. Professionals should hopefully explore new skills and interests. Take into account your firm’s roadmap as well. You have the option to diversify or shift. Maintain flexibility so that your career path framework grows. In addition, go through it periodically and make any necessary changes.

How can you integrate your career path framework into the culture of your company? It begins with the hiring process and continues throughout the employee’s career.

1. Recruitment, onboarding, and induction

Every job role now includes a career plan. In interviews for jobs, bring up your career path framework. This shouldn’t be an afterthought; it must be at the front and center. Mid-level hires will have already walked a portion of the journey with previous companies. This enhances the way recruiting managers to assess prospective employees. It will assist your recruiting team in creating more effective job postings.

During the onboarding process, exemplify possible career possibilities for the profession. If your company has a dedicated career counselor, that individual should spend quality time with each new worker during the first several weeks. Ascertain that each recruit knows the different career paths for their role. They will start work knowing that you will engage in their professional development.

2. Employee life cycle

Connect performance review criteria with career path objectives. If your performance assessments have been informal in the past, now is the moment to make them more formal. Your career path framework will lead you in the right direction. After all, it is a full-fledged map. A feature-rich Human Resource software is the most acceptable approach to building and administering a career path framework. You can manage career routes throughout the workforce lifetime with an all-in-one software platform.


Professionals have more knowledge and confidence in their work, company, and prospects once they have a sound career path framework. You may become more aligned as a firm by engaging with your employees and creating these frameworks, which will boost efficiency, staff morale, and long-term retention. The point is to keep the workforce experience fresh at all times. Provide your staff with new challenges and learning opportunities, the tools and support they need to grow and help them achieve their professional aspirations.

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