Setting Realistic Career Progression Expectations for New Finance Hires: A Guide for Companies

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Career progression and growth are crucial to every finance employee. Every team member wants to see a future for themselves in their company – one that offers endless opportunities for learning, skill development, career progression and transformation.

94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if they knew the leaders were invested in their career development. In a Gallup survey, 59% of employees said learning opportunities are essential when applying for a job.

In today’s skills-short landscape, hiring managers may be tempted to promise candidates rapid access to career progression and promotions; however, timing is vital in any progression plan.

Promoting a staff member before they’re ready to handle the challenges of a new role increases the risk of burnout and damages productivity. So, how do finance brands keep their teams motivated, invest in their growth, and retain talent without over-promising?

The key to success is in setting realistic career progression expectations.

The Importance of Communicating Career Progression Expectations

While showing employees, they have opportunities to grow within your financial company is essential, setting clear expectations about how quickly they can develop is vital. Promising staff members quick promotions might make them more likely to accept a job offer initially, but your attrition rates will increase if you can’t deliver.

When you welcome a new staff member into your business, ensuring they understand exactly what their career trajectory will look like is crucial. Establishing clear career progression plans with each team member eliminates misunderstandings and improves the chances of your staff members staying engaged and productive.

Working collaboratively with employees on their career progression plan means setting goals together, establishing opportunities, and determining paths to success that work both for your business and your employee.

At the same time, creating a realistic career progression plan for your team members helps to strengthen your employer brand, demonstrating accountability and transparency.

Creating a Career Progression Plan: The Key Steps

An effective career progression plan should provide employees with an insight into the steps they’ll need to take to reach their goals while setting realistic expectations. In most cases, business leaders start by evaluating the positions and opportunities in their environment that may suit each staff member based on the employee’s goals and values.

Business leaders and employees should work together to:

  • Identify strengths and development areas: Examine the employees’ current skills and the places where they may need to improve before being considered for a promotion.
  • Setting clear goals: Establish realistic, time-bound goals for advancement based on the structure of the business and when new positions might become available.
  • Exploring career progression opportunities: To help them achieve their goals, employers can provide staff members access to relevant resources and opportunities, such as training and development courses or new projects.
  • Monitoring success: Every career progression plan should involve close monitoring from the employee and the employer to track how quickly the team member is moving towards their targets and whether they need additional support.

Envisioning Opportunities for Growth within a Role

One of the first steps in building an effective career progression plan is defining where opportunities might lie within a role. There are limitations on what any company can offer regarding career progression. For instance, an employee hired as a financial marketing manager may be unable to upgrade quickly to another leadership role.

However, business leaders can identify potential lateral and vertical movement opportunities by working with employees. In initial conversations with your employee, identify their current strengths and weaknesses, the possible positions they may be interested in pursuing, and your strategy for offering promotions and career development.

Even if you can’t offer a direct route to a promotion immediately, you can still invest in your employee by providing them opportunities to develop their skills and build their knowledge. Encourage team members to consistently build their skills and overcome weaknesses in their talent portfolio with on-the-job training, coaching,  seminars, and professional development events.

Setting Consistent Expectations

Once you’ve identified potential opportunities for growth within a role or position, setting consistent expectations is the next step in keeping staff members engaged and motivated. During the onboarding process, arrange to meet regularly with your team member.

When you bring your new staff member on board, you can discuss their long-term and short-term goals and identify the work they’ll need to do to prepare for higher-level roles. After six months, connect with your team member again, and assess their progress in developing their skills.

Ask them if their goals or priorities have changed based on their workplace experience, and gather feedback about their development experience.

After a year, conduct a more comprehensive review, asking your team members questions about which areas of their position they excel in, which areas they struggle in, and whether they’re taking advantage of the resources available.

As you progress, use the feedback from your team member to determine how you can provide access to new opportunities for development and growth. You could consider experimenting with mentorship and buddy systems or developing a succession plan for an up-and-coming candidate.

Keep Updating and Reviewing your Plan

Finally, it’s worth remembering that your employee’s goals and your business’s needs can evolve. As your staff members develop new skills, they may become more passionate about certain aspects of their finance job. This could open new lateral career movement opportunities throughout your business.

As your company transforms, you may create new roles designed to help you leverage specific tools, technologies, and strategies emerging in the financial space. This could open up new opportunities for your team members to pursue additional job titles.

Additionally, as team members leave your company or retire, you might want to accelerate specific progression strategies to help promising staff move into leadership positions faster. Keep updating your plan as your company transforms.

Set Realistic Expectations for Progression

Ultimately, every employee wants to see evidence they have room to grow in their finance company. However, this doesn’t mean business leaders should be making promises they can’t keep. Working collaboratively with your staff members on realistic progression plans ensures you can keep them motivated, engaged, and passionate about your business.



Rachel Mitson

About Rebus Financial Recruitment

Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, ranging from various organisations, including SMEs, to large PLCs.

We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs, and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly.

To learn more, contact one of our team today, or call us on 01282 930930.


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