Stop Offering Career Ladders. Start Offering Career Portfolios | Harvard Business Review

Talent Management

Career development continues to be a driver of employee attraction, engagement, and retention, according to most reports. At the same time, the notion of career ladders—a metaphor for describing career progression as a series of vertical promotions through well-defined steps—has been a relic in many organizations for quite some time. As a result, organizations increasingly describe career growth using terms such as horizontal development, career lattices, nonlinear careers, or—as coined in this new HBR article—career portfolios. The common theme across these and other terms is that there are various ways to develop one’s career beyond vertical progression. This philosophy has given rise to the internal talent marketplace—a technology-enabled platform that helps connect employees to internal work opportunities, such as projects, stretch assignments, task forces, and full-time roles, based on each employee’s existing skills and career goals. Firms are increasingly experimenting with and implementing ITMs to support aspects of career development. But as I mentioned in a previous post, Non-technological Barriers to Internal Mobility in Organizations, ITM efforts are often approached as a technology initiative and lose sight of the non-technological barriers that must be addressed when implementing an ITM/Career Development strategy. As you look at the list of barriers, pick at least one where you can affect change and identify 2-3 ways you can begin to help your organization overcome it during the next 60 days. The HBR article includes other ideas on how to get started enabling and encouraging career portfolios within an organization.