In the ups and downs of the modern world of work, navigating a career path can feel like being stuck in the middle of a maze. With technological advancements, economic shifts, and cultural changes, it’s now more crucial than ever to plan for the future. 

For organizations and individuals, career path templates are an invaluable tool for putting a plan in place and providing structure and clarity in an otherwise uncertain landscape. 

Let’s take a look at how you can create career paths for your people to give them peace of mind and something to strive toward. 

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What is a career path template?

A career path template is a structured tool companies use to lay out potential career progressions for people within their organization. You can use it to provide clarity and direction for your team members and give them a clear picture of how they can progress in their careers. 

Benefits of a career path template include: 

  • Boosting engagement and motivation. When people envision a clear future within their organization, it fosters more commitment and enthusiasm in their day-to-day activities. It also helps show that you care about their futures as much as they do and are actively invested in their professional development. 
  • Helping to identify training and development needs. Career path templates help pinpoint which skills and training people need to progress. This helps clarify goals and allows for targeted employee development initiatives. 
  • Aiding in succession planning and talent retention. Preparing people for potential future roles ensures you have a continuous flow of qualified internal candidates. This helps boost retention, fill skills gaps, and cut down on the cost and hassle of external hiring. 

<<Download and print this career path template to map your people’s careers>>

HR best practice also leverages development plan templates when crafting career paths for your people. Using career path and development plan templates together can help identify skills gaps and areas for professional advancement while aligning individual career goals with the company’s short- and long-term goals—supporting mutual growth, development, and success. 

How does career pathing motivate employees?

Most people will always have an eye on their futures. With career ambitions and goals at the forefront of their minds, career pathing will always play a critical role when it comes to motivation.

People are far more likely to feel considered and valued and envision their growth within the company when the organization helps them understand their career trajectories and provides insight into their professional futures.

Having this foresight can improve key HR metrics, such as job satisfaction, turnover rates, and even productivity.

Let’s take a look at some more ways career pathing can help motivate your people: 

  • Visibility. Having clear insight into different potential career opportunities can empower your team members to visualize their futures as a part of your organization. This transparency helps to set realistic and achievable career goals and reduces uncertainty about their journey. 
  • Achievement. Including defined milestones in a career path template fosters a sense of accomplishment for your people. As they periodically reach these milestones, they feel a tangible sense of accomplishment and progress, which can further motivate them for the next stages of their career. 
  • Growth. Career pathing presents the chance for both personal and professional development by encouraging people to learn new skills and expand their knowledge base. This helps to contribute to their overall career growth and improves their adaptability in an ever-evolving work environment. 
  • Recognition. Taking the time to develop and implement a career pathing strategy sends a very clear message to your people that you value and respect them and take their aspirations seriously. This sense of recognition can seriously boost morale and increase people’s loyalty toward your organization. 

Creating a career path framework

To develop an effective career path framework, it’s important to have a good understanding of the various roles within your organization and the pathways between them. This involves a number of key steps:

  • Step 1: Role identification. Make a list of the different positions within your organization. 
  • Step 2: Skill mapping. Determine the skills and competencies required for each of these roles.
  • Step 3: Growth opportunities. Identify how each team member can move vertically and laterally within your organization. 
  • Step 4: Customization. Make tweaks to your framework to cater to the variety of different career stages and aspirations within your organization. 
  • Step 5: Integration. Make sure that your framework fits your team members and aligns with your organization’s goals and culture. 

To get the best results from your career path framework, make sure to involve your team members in the development process. This gives you clear insight into what people are looking for and what would best suit them, allowing you to create something that’s tailor-made to benefit your organization as a whole.

It’s also important to ensure the framework is flexible enough to adapt to changing business needs and regularly updated to reflect new roles and opportunities within your organization.

Our career path template

To help kick-start the implementation of your own career pathing system, we’ve created this downloadable career path template. 

It’s designed to be user-friendly, easily customizable, and flexible enough to reflect a wide range of specific career progression paths—so it is more readily accessible to fit the unique requirements of your people and your organization. 

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How to use our career path framework template 

Using our template is simple—just follow these four steps: 

  • Step 1: Customize. Adapt the template to fit with the roles and progression paths of your organization. 
  • Step 2: Set goals. Work with your team members to set realistic and achievable career goals that are relevant to them. 
  • Step 3: Skill development. Utilize the template to identify the necessary skills and training, and then create a plan for providing them.
  • Step 4: Review and update. Regularly review and update your career path plan as your people grow and your organizational needs change. 

<<Download and print this career path template to map your people’s careers>>

Career mapping example

To give an example of what a fully filled-out career mapping template would look like, we’ve expanded on our initial example by providing a detailed career map for a marketing assistant. 

The scenario for this example is an entry-level marketing employee in an SMB. The mapping would be as follows:

  • Starting point: marketing assistant 
  • Step-up: marketing coordinator
  • Mid-career: senior marketing manager
  • Long-term aspiration: marketing director 
  • End goal: chief marketing officer 

A progression map may look like this:

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Measuring success and continuous improvement

Implementing a career path template is a good move for any organization, but really, it’s just a starting point in a long-term commitment to continuous improvement. 

To truly benefit from your career pathing, it’s best to set up methods for measuring success and ensuring that you’re always looking for ways to push forward and improve. 

Key strategies for measuring success

Here’s what you can do in order to effectively measure the success of your career pathing: 

  • Set up regular check-ins. It’s always important to check in with the people who your career pathing affects: your team members. Set up regular meetings with your people to discuss their progress, challenges, and any tweaks they need to make to their paths. 
  • Allow for continuous feedback. Put feedback systems in place where people can continuously share their experiences and any suggestions they may have for improvements. 
  • Define clear success metrics. Define clear metrics such as retention rates, promotion rates, career path ratios, and team satisfaction scores to help evaluate the effectiveness of your career mapping efforts. 

Ensuring continuous improvement

In order to make sure you’re always moving forward and improving your career mapping processes, here’s what you can do: 

  • Stay fully updated. Regularly update your career roadmap template to reflect any changes in your organization or the industry as a whole. 
  • Keep your people involved. Involve team members wherever and whenever you can in your continuous improvement process. This will help to ensure their needs and insights are always considered and implemented. 
  • Be adaptable. Be prepared to adapt and tweak your career pathing strategy as your organization grows and evolves. If you stay flexible, you can make changes with as little disruption as possible. 

Maximizing impact with career path templates

A career path template is one of the most valuable tools in your HR toolbox. It can help nurture and progress your team members—ensuring they reach their full potential with your organization. 

It offers a structured approach to learning and development (L&D), empowering your people to take control of their professional journey. 

By implementing a career path template, you can foster a more engaged, motivated, and skilled workforce that is adaptable, flexible, and forever ready to meet the challenges of today’s roller-coaster business world. 

<<Download and print this career path template to map your people’s careers>>