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Should you manage your employees’ career? January 20, 2008

Posted by Tariq Ahmed in Managing Employees.

Everyone knows the adage that “if you aren’t promoted in 2 years, you should find another position”. They also say the fastest way to gain salary increases and titles, is to change companies every 2 years. This of course applies to the employees who are highly motivated and have career goals. Not all employees are like this, many are quite happy to stay in the same position for decades.

The situation:

  • You’re a highly motivated professional and have been excelling in you position. You are a superstar.
  • You haven’t been prompted in 2 years and the company is content with you in your current position.
  • You’ve received small inflation based pay raises.
  • You don’t see a career path/room to be promoted in the current department/organization.
  • Your next job may be your manager’s position.

In this situation, if you’re itching for a large pay increase, direct reports or that “Senior” moniker in your title, what choice do you have? If you discuss it with your manager, you may just confirm what you already know, that there isn’t a new viable position available for you. It will also create an uncomfortable atmosphere at work, if your manager thinks your looking for a new position and will be leaving soon. On the flip side, your manager may value you, and work to give you what you want.

Now that the foundation is set, how should you as a manager handle this situation? Should you care to actively be concerned about your superstars leaving? How do you answer these questions?

  • Who is a superstar and highly valued?
  • Which superstars are highly motivated to move-up?
  • What if your organization doesn’t have available positions?
  • Do you consider your superstars as numbers, and do not concern yourself with their careers, but just with what they can do for you today?

There are 2 schools of thought on this: Have a visible career progression path for all positions. In this case, the company is active in managing career paths and retaining superstars. The other option is no policy/action from management and let the chips fall where they may. In a large and profitable company, managing careers is possible, in a smaller company; it’s very difficult. Concrete solutions? I encourage discussion on this topic.




1. Scott - April 10, 2008

I say that’s BS. The best thing an employee can do in a company (one that’s sane) is to get really trained in his area, and do so well and show so much potential (maybe take educational classes to get more specialized in an area), that the company would be dumb not to promote him or bumb his pay.

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