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Opportunities for Upward Mobility Are a Key Attractor

People do not like to be stagnant in their job.  They want appropriate challenges to keep them engaged.  They want growth opportunities to give them something to work towards and feel the reward of accomplishment.

Employees with no opportunities for growth get bored and bored employees leave to find something new.  This article will explore the research around career development and provide strategic ways to address the upward mobility your employees desire.

“For increasing numbers of workers, professional growth and development opportunities are what inspire them to choose (and remain at) certain jobs and certain organizations over others. Because of this, it is important for companies to listen to employee feedback regarding growth opportunities and offer continuous and dynamic enrichment in a variety of capacities.” Article from Deloitte, Elevating the Workforce Experience

Create Strategies That Allow for Upward Mobility

If you are creating strategies to attract and retain great people, professional development needs to be part of that plan.  It has become even more important as new generations – who put a high value on growth opportunities – are making up the bulk of the workforce.

According to a McKinsey report, 41 percent of the employees that they surveyed quit because of the lack of career advancement opportunities. “Employees’ growth through career advancement plans instills confidence in their knowledge and skills. Employees look for this growth because it validates their competence in their chosen profession. For most employees, it pays to know they are becoming a better version of themselves as they fulfill their work.”

How Does Upward Mobility Affect Your Internal Practices?

Don’t fall into the trap of not developing your employees because you are afraid they will gain new skills only to take them elsewhere.  Development of employees is preparing for the future.  It’s anticipation of innovation and growth.

One practical way to provide helpful professional development is to talk one-on-one with your employees to find out what interests them and where they see growth opportunities. Here are some questions that could fuel this conversation:

  • What are you doing now that you really enjoy?
  • What training opportunities/training experiences do you believe would be beneficial going into this new year?
  • What activities are you doing that are less engaging for you?
  • Where do you see the potential for you and what actions can you take to see it become reality?
  • What can we do to support you in the coming year?
  • Share with me the top three-five goals you would like to set for yourself in [Insert Year]?
  • What can you do to help us achieve our strategic plan as you know it today?
  • Are you having fun and being challenged both at the same time?
  • What are you being challenged the most at this time?

Based on this valuable input, you can help equip your employees for the next step of their career path.  Creating a plan is rewarding for both the manager and the employee as you both see the fulfillment it brings.

How Does Upward Mobility Affect Your Hiring?

Typically, the people who are eager to learn and implement their learnings, rise to the top.  They stand out as leaders.  As they learn, they take on more responsibilities.  These continuous learners thrive on new challenges and have exceptional skills.  That’s the attitude you want in your top leaders.  Their talents go beyond the hard skills of technical expertise, keen administrative skills, and proficient financial management.

What that means to hiring companies is that the best person to fill your high-level job may not look like the perfect fit at first glance.  Top achievers are not interested in a job they’ve already excelled at for 5 years, they want a new challenge.  They want something new to succeed at.

“Today firms need to hire executives who are able to motivate diverse, technologically savvy, and global workforces; who can play the role of corporate statesperson, dealing effectively with constituents ranging from sovereign governments to influential NGOs; and who can rapidly and effectively apply their skills in a new company, in what may be an unfamiliar industry, and often with colleagues in the C-suite whom they didn’t previously know.” HBR article, The C-suite Skills That Matter Most

As an executive search firm, we’ve become adept at spotting the nontraditional candidates because that’s what organizations ultimately need.  When we see a highly competent leader who has succeeded in business and possesses the right passion, we will present them to clients who may be initially confused by our introduction.

Candidates who will bring you the success you are seeking do not always fit into neat boxes.  This is a new mindset that can take some getting used to.  As a hiring manager it is wise to realize that your original search parameters should allow for some flexibility to ensure you don’t discount an incredible leader.

For example, not all nonprofit organizations should rule out people with no nonprofit experience.  Hiring someone into a specific niche doesn’t always require that person to have experience in that area.

Upward Mobility and Attracting Employees

Attract and retain your people with a clear path for upward mobility.  Make it part of your regular conversations as you seek to give them opportunities to increase their skills.  Building this concept into your strategy will help your whole organization achieve upward mobility.