Creating a career growth plan: 6 best practices for managers

Creating a career growth plan: 6 best practices for managers

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A good manager always has a plan. They brief their team members, make sure everyone is on the same page and check in to monitor progress. When it comes to the career development of your team members, a good manager should have a plan for that too. You should take pride in helping your team members shape their career identities and embark on an exciting career journey, with new opportunities around every corner. Apart from helping your current employees, having a career growth plan also means you’ll attract ambitious, talented staff to join the team. According to a report by Gallup, 59% millennial respondents said opportunities to learn and grow are important when applying for a job. What’s more, it’s a useful way to show your team members you really do value them - not just as workers, but as people too.

After checking out The Ultimate Guide To Career Progression, an important part of creating a good career progression growth plan for your team members is learning the best practices for managers. Here is a handy guide with some of the best practices for you to apply.

Being honest and transparent

The idea of the workplace being a cut-throat, cloak and dagger environment has become a thing of the past. Having a solid foundation of honesty and transparency is essential to building career growth plans. If you start to make false promises to a team member about a promotion or pay rise just to incentivise them, it won’t be long before your dishonesty catches up with you and your working relationships are damaged. Being straightforward with team members builds trust, even if that sometimes involves sharing uncomfortable truths. Then you can build on that trust and come up with ideas to aid growth together. Instead of hinting at a promotion that doesn’t exist, you could help your team member gain experience in other ways, even if that means a lateral career move to another department.

Maintaining a culture of honesty and transparency may also mean making some different management decisions. You may have to weed out any dishonest behaviour or any systems in place that aren’t completely transparent. However, you’ll soon reap the benefits of working in an honest environment, not just in the world of career progression, but in practically every aspect of working life.

Collaborating with team members

Creating a career growth plan is never a solo mission, it’s a collaborative project. One of the most important aspects of creating a career growth plan is maintaining contact with the team members concerned. You want the plan to be a result of a back-and-forth discussion between management and employee, so that everyone's plan can be tailored to their own ambitions and strengths. With collaboration, managers can help turn their team members' goals into actions. On top of this, collaboration can help identify team members’ potential and readiness to take on specific roles and responsibilities.

Collaboration can take many different forms. A great way for managers to foster collaboration is asking team members to self-assess before discussing their career growth plan. This way, team members can identify their transferable skills and shine a light on the areas where improvements are needed - without feeling like they are under surveillance. Self assessment will put your team members at ease and allow you to reflect on their performance together.

Providing resources and support


Even the most organised, highly motivated team member you can imagine would struggle to make a career growth plan without resources and support from a manager. Planning out a team member’s development on paper is useless unless you offer opportunities and resources along the way. Some examples of effective tools you can provide are:

  • Pairing team members with mentors
  • Offering training courses
  • Providing a budget for seminars, conferences or courses

Remember: some resources won’t be universal – any resources provided should be suitable for each person’s role and goals, helping them to bring their career growth plans to fruition.

For example, some team members may need more practical resources such as job shadowing opportunities, help with identifying skill gaps, or encouragement to take on new projects. Others may need learning resources for personal development such as mentoring, coaching and attending webinars or conferences.

Having a way of measuring growth

You wouldn’t try to improve your golf game without keeping track of your scores, so why should you treat career growth any different? As a career journey can take an employee on an exciting journey with no linear destination, checking in and tracking their progress is essential. With every team member forging their own career path, keeping track of growth can be daunting. Luckily, there are tools available, such as Progression, to streamline this process. Managers can measure and team members can track their progress over time.

Having an easy-to-use growth measurement tool

The ability to measure your team members’ career growth shouldn’t be intimidating. With simple, intuitive and effective tools available, there’s no need for convoluted spreadsheets or email chains. Here are some features to look out for when choosing a growth measurement tool:

  • Not dependent on complex tech. Your tool needs to be accessible, as not everyone on the team will be totally tech savvy. A complex tool can put people off growth measurement or general use of the tool.
  • Clear. A good growth measurement tool should ensure that career paths and development opportunities are visible and accessible for everyone involved. This links back to the idea of honesty - there should be nothing hidden from your team.
  • Centralised. Although every individual will have a different career growth plan, you want your growth measurement tool to keep all the information in one place. It’s also a great idea to share your career progression framework publicly. We’ve laid out some tips and tricks for doing so here: sharing career progression frameworks publicly: The why and how.
  • Providing clear comparisons. A good career growth measurement tool should allow for performance to be compared across time, as well as across different roles.

Staying engaged

Creating a career growth plan isn’t just a one-off activity on a random Tuesday afternoon, it means being engaged and invested at all times. Although your company may still conduct appraisals or quarterly progress reports, effective career growth plans should be ongoing, not tethered to scheduled events.

You can prove to your team members you are continually engaged in their career growth plan by pointing out opportunities throughout the year, congratulating team members when they accomplish a task, and correcting them if they make a mistake. Not only will this maintain growth momentum, but it’ll contribute to a healthy employee-management relationship. Team members value managers who continuously show they are rooting for their success.

As a manager, creating a career growth plan for your team benefits yourself, your team and the entire culture of your company. Try and apply these six practices when embarking on a career progression journey with your team: collaborating, providing resources, measuring progress, using an accessible tool for career growth and staying engaged and invested in your team’s future. You can start creating career growth plans easily and effectively with Progression.


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