Understanding the four distinct types of career paths is the first step to co-creating an engaged culture. A leader can then discuss career plans, support opportunities, and provide development and recognition that is most engaging to the individual.
Expert – Leaders should recognise experts as some of the most stable people in the organisation. They are committed wells of wisdom who provide ongoing quality and long-term focus in their area. Encourage experts to refine their skills, provide opportunities to deepen their knowledge and create best practices in the organisation. One of the simplest actions a leader might take to engage experts is to provide them with the latest technology and equipment needed to perform their role. A recent study showed that while remote workers were more likely to stay with an organisation, a common reason for leaving was not having the equipment they needed to do their job.
Linear – The linear career path is surprisingly misunderstood. Many people have a false view of this path, moving up the corporate ladder the only path to career success. It’s a common organisation dilemma – the technical expert who was rewarded with a promotion to a manager role, yet a few months later the team and the manager are both unhappy.
It’s equally as common to find women who have never considered a linear path. It might be they were never encouraged to assume a leadership role or were lacking in effective role models. They may see themselves as a team supporter. Yet, they may be motivated to lead and influence others.
It’s important to discuss career goals and promotional opportunities with remote and hybrid workers. Research has shown while people working remotely are more productive, they are often overlooked and aren’t rewarded with promotional opportunities. Providing those individuals with linear motives with opportunities to lead projects, lead a team, influence others, drive outcomes, improve productivity and coach colleagues, will be both engaging and rewarding.
Spiral – Spiral career opportunities can be created through formal or informal job rotations within a functional area over time. People with spiral motives want self-development, role mobility and variety in learning within their functional area. They are also often motivated by coaching or developing others, influencing others, and improving teamwork. Remote mentoring initiatives can offer the benefit of pairing people across geographic locations at a low cost when technology is used for communication.
Transitory – Leaders need to look for transitory people within an organisation. They are mobile, flexible, adaptable, willing to take risks and ready for change. Creating opportunities for them to contribute within different parts of the organisation will be rewarding to them. It can also create value by networking across locations, functions and departmental boundaries. Building a cross-functional team to make a recommendation for change, or a process improvement within the organisation, is an opportunity an individual with a transitory career view might enjoy.
It is possible to provide engaging opportunities in a remote or hybrid environment and co-create an engaged culture. It begins with ongoing transparent communication about how people view career success and what most motivates them. Then provide people with the opportunity to explore their motives, reflect and discover their ideal career path.
Saundra Stroope is a global organisation development leader, certified Decision Dynamics CareerView coach and master practitioner with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Rikard Larsson is the co-founder and partner at Decision Dynamics, a leading provider of solutions for leadership and talent management.