A Career Progression Plan for your Best Employees

A Career Progression Plan for your Best Employees. In Blackboard Fridays Episode 70, Jacob talks about Leadership. Need this implemented into your business? Talk to the international business advisor who can do exactly that – Contact Jacob, Learn More, or Subscribe for Updates.

Almost exactly a year ago, we ran two of our most loved episodes on “How to Empower Your Team to Step Up” – and you can watch Parts One and Two.

I made a key point in that series about empowering your team members by helping them with their careers – even if that meant sometimes giving them the skills to advance their lives by working somewhere else.

This is a scary idea for business owners. None of us want to lose our best employees – it’s the fear that most keeps us awake at night. So I’ll be honest – if your team member has ambitions that you can’t fulfill (working overseas is an obvious example), then they will either leave anyway or stay only because you have crushed their soul.

And since you’re not that kind of a leader, you want to help your team achieve their dreams. Selfishly, maybe you also know that in doing that you will create greater outcomes for yourself as well – often when they decide to stay and fulfill their ambitions by your side.

This week’s episode, now viewable here, is a must-watch for every leader who wants an engaged team.

Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?

“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.

Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.

At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.

You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritise first.

That’s me.

Learn more here. Or Let’s chat.


Back in episodes 21 and 22, I introduced on Blackboard Fridays the system of the employee empowerment journey.

How critical it is as a business owner that you empower each and every one of your team members? Did you take them from the hope they have when they join your business to the empowerment that they need to actually do the best possible job to deliver an outcome for your business and for them themselves?

I quoted Richard Branson who said you need to create capability within your team so good that they could work anywhere and then create a culture so good that they wouldn’t want to work anywhere else. When I went through the different elements of that employee journey, one of the last ones I talked about was the importance of supporting the career progression of your team members.

Today, I’m going to walk through how you as a business owner need to do that and fundamentally, how you need to do that for a place of abundance. From knowing that, for some of your best team members, their best life is going to mean at some point, that they stopped working for you, and that that is actually an achievement not something to be mourned.

So, how do we help our employees with their career progression? Number one, we need to have an idea of what their vision is for their career. What is it that they want to be building in terms of their skills or maybe, their salary?

Different roles that they want to be fulfilling, different client types they want to work with, maybe, even different areas of the world that they want to work within. Some team members really have no idea what they’re wanting to create and that’s okay.

Keep having the conversation. This is where things like mentors and coaches for your team members can come in really helpful for helping your individual team members get clear because if they’re clear on their vision and they’re willing to communicate that with you, the business owner, then you can help them to achieve that as opposed to those team members we’d all be familiar with, who aren’t really clear, but just have this general sense of malaise, that they need to go and do something different. Leave on poor terms and leave you in the lurch.

So if you’re cleared the direction that they’re headed or even the clarity of exactly what they want from their career then you can work with them to create a roadmap for their career.

Now ,this includes things like a personal training plan. If they want to step up into a management role, do they need communication skills, leadership skills, coaching skills? They want to advance their career, maybe open their own business one day or open up another branch of your business do they need some sales training in their future that their current delivery role does not require.

Building that roadmap with your individual team members allows you to demonstrate your credibility that you genuinely do want to see them achieve the career they want to see them succeed.

Now, if you’ve got a team member who really has no idea, this is a useful exercise that I do with business owners who are stuck and encourage them to do with team members who are stuck.

If you think about your current role today and if I took 80% of the tasks off you created four days a week in your life, what 20% of those tasks would you keep? What would you add? What would you do differently if I took away 80% of your current role and got somebody else to do it just as well? Once you’re clear on that role, what would you do next?

What I normally find is within two or maybe three steps, every individual I’ve ever done that exercise with has found themselves connected to their higher purpose and suddenly finding a much clearer roadmap that engages them, that excites them, that makes them feel that they could actually do this, that this vision that they’ve got is not wishful thinking.

It’s not something that happens just to other people, it’s something that they themselves can take responsibility for creating to build a roadmap for. If you do that with your team, then you are genuinely creating one of those places where they want to continue to work.

If you can help them do that within your current business, and help them go on the journey to that, they’re not going to want to work anywhere else. They’re not going to take the risk of going elsewhere for somebody who might promise that that has no track record of delivering on those conversations.

The last element of supporting your team, of giving your employees career progression, is this, the party hat. It’s making a decision to celebrate when your team members leave. I see too many business owners who actually get really shitty at team members for quitting and I see too many teams who actually really want to take it out on those individuals they sit there and go, “Well, why should they get a party? They’re leaving.”

When you celebrate team members who leave, especially those who are doing it for the right reasons in progression of a vision that they have for their career that you and your business just can’t deliver at the moment, when you celebrate that you actually send a clear message to your current and future recruits and that clear message is this… I as a business owner value you as an individual enough to know that your career and your life does not begin and end when you walk in the doors of my business.

I’m going to go out of my way to support you to achieve that vision to ideally create a home where you can stay for the long term to achieve it here. If that’s not possible, if you do want to go and work with orphans in Bangladesh, or you do ultimately want to go and do something that my business can’t give you, then I’m going to celebrate that because I value you as an individual over the specifics of my business.

I can find someone else to do your job, you can’t find somebody else to live your life and I think that’s fantastic.Reflect on your business and the abundance or scarcity you feel with your team. When they leave, are you ecstatic that they’re moving on in their life? Or do you only think about yourself? 

Reflect on your business and the abundance or scarcity you feel with your team. When they leave, are you ecstatic that they’re moving on in their life? Or do you only think about yourself? 

Next Steps

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