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The Power of Career Pathing
Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP --  The Herman Group Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP -- The Herman Group
Austin, TX
Thursday, December 17, 2020


The Herman Trend Alert

December 16, 2020

The Power of Career Pathing

For decades now, wise Human Resource leaders have understood the value of career pathing; I remember speaking about it in my seminars in Southeast Asia for IPA in the late 1990s. Then, recently, I had a great conversation with soon-to-be-again Employer of Choice® Len Carter, CHRO of FHN Healthcare in Freeport. Illinois. Behind him on a White Board was FHN's impressive Career Pathways Program. Later, to get the details I spoke with Ramona Thompson, the health system's Director of HR and Professional Development. But first, a little history. . .

Probably the Best Recruiting Platform. . .Ever

Back in 2003, Federated Department Stores had a very impressive recruiting website called Retailology.com". I was so captivated, I wrote a whole Herman Trend Alert about it, titled "Job or Career". The store chain's website emphasized that they were looking for people seeking careers, not just jobs. The website had video testimonials of their happy and loyal employees who had climbed Federated's corporate ladder. (Using videos at that time was really a leading-edge strategy.) The site primarily targeted college students and recent graduates contemplating how they might pursue careers in retail and featured a wide range of career paths. (By the way, if you click on www.retailology.com in that Alert today, you will arrive at Macy's Career Timeline on the Macy's College site. While very effective, this site is not nearly as engaging as the previous iteration.)

A Sign of Things to Come?

At that time, my late partner, Roger Herman and I believed that companies would evolve to understand the value of recruiting long-term employees and that demonstrating career pathing within their organization would be a definite win for the company. This kind of long-term engagement is clearly bucking the trend of Millennials and Gen Z staying with one employer for only a few years. In spite of that fact, the most successful and well-respected employers have attempted to create these valuable career paths to hold onto their talent. . . including FHN Healthcare.

FHN's Career Pathways Program

Carter and his team have left no stone unturned in mapping their entire career ecosystem. The Career Pathways Program, an integral and important part of their recruiting process, starts with 14 clinical and non-clinical positions, including seven different kinds of techs from IT to Patient Care to Emergency Department and Cardiovascular, these front-line positions are mostly patient facing.

A Role Model for Doing Training Right

According to Thompson, the Career Pathways Program was developed to attract and retain talent and allow people to grow without feeling stagnant. In addition, FHN offers leadership development programs for different levels of leadership. FHN has their Leadership Discovery Program for those in non-leadership positions and are interested in leadership. Leadership Discovery allows them the opportunity to learn the rewards and challenges of leadership. Participants even get to shadow leaders and this learning experience definitively helps employees make the decision about whether they want to be leaders. There is also the Lead to Achieve program for front line leaders that allows them to learn how to be effective leaders in a non-threatening environment and continue to build their leadership toolboxes. The third leadership development program that FHN offers is their Leadership Academy program which is designed for the Director level and above and provides various continuing education opportunities. FHN promotes continues learning and offers an Education Assistance Program to support FHN staff and leaders as they continue to develop.

Some Example of How Career Pathways Can Work

The heath system recruits Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Those employees are encouraged to study for their Associate Degrees in Nursing (ADN). Once they have their ADNs, then they are supported to study for their Bachelor Science in Nursing (BSNs). Moreover, the nurses are offered additional certification preparatory courses for specialties, like operating room, emergency department, or critical care. On the office practice side, with Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs), the health system offers paid apprenticeships giving them hands-on experience working in medical offices. At the end of the apprenticeships, recruits are ready to be 100 percent productive.

Cross Training Creates a More Flexible Workforce

I have always promoted cross training to my clients. It is a win-win-win proposition. The employees win because they feel good that they have additional skills; the organization has a more flexible workforce. And if needed, FHN helps people get the additional needed certifications, while they are on the job.

Clearly, having Career Pathing as a tool in recruiting makes a lot of sense and FHN's Career Pathways delivers an excellent return on investment in their low employee turnover and long employee tenure. Other employers would do well think about how career pathing could be a part of their recruitment processes as well. As the employment market heats up, using all of the tools in the HR toolbox will be critical to success.

Next Week's Herman Trend Alert: Our 2021 Workplace/Workforce Forecast

Every year, around this time, I draft the annual workplace/workforce forecast. We will begin the year in Normal 2.0 and end the year in Normal 3.0. Thus, this forecast will be particularly valuable and important. See you next week!


Read this Herman Trend Alert on the web: http://www.hermangroup.com/alert/archive 12-16-2020.html



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Thriving in Normal 2.0 will require much more of you and your teams. We will need to embrace uncertainty, not ignore it. Adaptability will be the set of skills that the Harvard Business Review and others believe will be your competitive advantage. With adaptability, you can transform the way your teams and business operate and reimagine your future. My new podcast partner, Ira Wolfe, can help ensure you and your teams are adept at adapting, are change-ready, and have the ability to dance with the shifts that will happen. To learn more about or participate in Ira's MasterClass, visit here, and be sure to use the code hermanalert for a surprise discount.


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News Media Interview Contact
Name: Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP
Title: Certified Speaking Professional and Management Consultant
Group: The Herman Group
Dateline: Austin, TX United States
Direct Phone: 336-210-3548
Main Phone: 800-227-3566
Cell Phone: 336-210-3548
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