How Do I Chart a Path for Employee Growth?

By Penny Morey

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I own a research and development company for pharmaceutical drugs. How can I create a success ladder for employees? I was thinking there would be three "ladders" altogether: Managerial, administration and scientist. What factors need to be considered? How should I get started?
It is commendable that you are thinking ahead to be sure that individual contributors have the chance to advance on their respective career paths. Many companies fail to do that and discourage or lose great resources. Technically-capable professionals should be able to earn commensurate with their level of contribution to the company without having to risk losing their finely-honed skills by taking the management route.

To get started, you should have accurate job descriptions for your existing staff and develop an organizational plan -- including projected hiring dates -- for the future. Often, putting together a series of organization charts, for example, by quarter is helpful in planning out your company's future growth.

As you have already identified the three ladders, you should develop job descriptions for the job families that will come into being as you continue to expand your staff.

Job families in large companies might look like: Scientist I (being the entry level job); Scientist II (requiring more education/experience/training); and Scientist III (being the most senior individual contributor job in this family reserved for the most expert.

Just as with top management, there should be very few at the extremely senior level in any job family. The same kind of levels with job families can be used -- albeit with titles appropriate to the roles -- for the administrative and management arenas.

Of course, as your company is not a large one, you can be more creative with the titles while still following the theme of a junior employee, a journeyman and a most senior level in each job family. And, there is nothing to preclude having more than three levels, if you need these.

Management of your career ladders will require that you adopt a sound job evaluation system that links to a salary grade chart so that you are paying properly for each position -- not only now, but as people progress within the same job and receive merit increases to their base pay or bonuses for their contributions and/or are promoted to higher levels in the organization.

You should work with a compensation expert to help you construct your plans. Your employees will feel more confident knowing that you took the extra time and expense to do this in a meticulous manner.

Related: How to Hire With Fit in Mind
Related: Seven Ways to Boost Employee Morale
Wavy Line

Penny is a seasoned human resources executive and consultant with over 25 years of diverse business experience in advising enterprise leaders on employment-related matters.

Editor's Pick

She's Been Coding Since Age 7 and Presented Her Life-Saving App to Tim Cook Last Year. Now 17, She's on Track to Solve Even Bigger Problems.
I Helped Grow 4 Unicorns Over 10 Years That Generated $18 Billion in Online Revenues. Here's What I've Learned.
Want to Break Bad Habits and Supercharge Your Business? Use This Technique.
Don't Have Any Clients But Need Customer Testimonials? Follow These 3 Tricks To Boost Your Rep.
Why Are Some Wines More Expensive Than Others? A Top Winemaker Gives a Full-Bodied Explanation.

Related Topics

Business News

'All Hell Is Going to Break Loose': Barbara Corcoran Issues Warning About Real Estate Market, Interest Rates

The "Shark Tank" star appeared on FOX Business' "The Claman Countdown" this week.

Growing a Business

Subscribers Exclusive Event: Discover How These 2 Founders Turned Their Side Hustle into a Million-Dollar Lifestyle Brand

Learn how you can transform your personal brand into a thriving business empire with co-founders of The Skinny Confidential

Business Plans

How to Change Careers: A Step-by-Step Guide

Want to make a career change without compromising your finances or future? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to change careers to learn more.


How do You Turn Employees Into Problem-Solvers? Follow This 3-Step Leadership Formula.

As leaders, we need to solve company problems effectively. We often have the urge to fix everything quickly, but is this system of problem-solving really sustainable?

Growing a Business

Entrepreneur+ Subscribers-Only Call | June 8: Discover How These 2 Founders Turned Their Side Hustle into a Million-Dollar Lifestyle Brand

Learn how you can transform your personal brand into a thriving business empire with co-founders of The Skinny Confidential


This AI-Powered Flight Finder Can Help You Cut Travel Expenses

Get a lifetime subscription to this AI flight finder for $59.99.