The Totally Doable Way to Provide Career Advice and Growth Opportunities to Every Employee

February 7, 2018


VP of Marketing at Ascendify

mployees the world over have said for years that they want more feedback. They want to be benchmarked. They want to know where they stand and what they can do to improve — they especially want to improve. They want to be stretched, to take on new responsibilities and to learn new things.

All of this may sound obvious, but I think it’s worth a renewed focus. In Ascendify’s work building a smart, end-to-end talent platform, we’ve spent a lot of time gathering input from our clients’ most passionate and talented workers — and we’ve learned just how big of a gap there is between what employees are looking for and what employers are offering in terms of feedback, development opportunities, and career guidance.

Of course, it’s perfectly understandable that companies, especially larger enterprises, can be missing the mark: That sort of deep, individualized support — while unquestionably worthy — is far too time- and resource-intensive for even the most efficient HR organization to make possible. So many employees, so little time.

Rethink what’s possible in terms of coaching and development


Yet with retention and engagement increasingly among HR’s top concerns, it’s probably wise to rethink what’s possible in terms of coaching and development. Especially because, as with many things these days, forward-looking technology and data intelligence in talent management have made what was once just an ideal a reality. It’s time to evolve.

There are two main facets to making meaningful, personalized career growth and guidance for all employees a part of your organization’s talent strategy. Below, a brief intro to each.

1. Make It Self-Directed

Admittedly, this will initially require some heavy lifting on your part. Yet it’s worth the upfront time investment. Essentially, you’ll need to enable and empower employees to freely move about the organization in terms of the initiatives they’ll be a part of. They should be encouraged to seek out projects and join teams that align with their career interests and long-term goals. They should even be able to initiate their own projects, and self-assemble into their own teams.

It’s not that crazy of an idea, and it’s actually already happening — just look to the gig economy. That’s really what this model is — a series of career-boosting internal “gigs” instead of static, years-long roles — and as it stands, this structure is likely the future of work. It’s best to adapt now, and it’s already necessary, for the reasons mentioned above.

2. Use an Intelligent Career Advisor

AI-powered smart talent management software can help tremendously here. Machine learning and predictive analytics take so much of the important, but resource-draining, work off your shoulders in providing this level of employee support.

Here’s just a sampling of what an intelligent advisor for career acceleration can do:


  • Assess an individual’s current skill level and compare it to both where it should be for his or her role, and where it needs to be for wherever they’re trying to go
  • Reveal critical knowledge gaps, then suggest the learning assets proven to be most effective for quickly establishing competency
  • Intelligently surface the appropriate stretch projects, leadership programs and development opportunities, all based on each employee’s goals and passions
  • Recommend personalized, optimal career paths — both lateral moves and upward progression — and then detail the steps to get there

“Enable and empower employees to freely move about the organization.”


Offering employees this level of feedback, guidance, and opportunity is something talent management professionals of the past had to quickly dismiss as “wonderful, but unrealistic.” Not any longer. Today we can do it. Given the broader macro shifts toward a gig-based economy and employee free agency, it’s also pretty clear that we must.

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Jay Hinman

Jay Hinman

Vice President Marketing

Jay Hinman is the VP of Marketing at Ascendify, an Intelligent People Management™ platform that reinvents how companies attract, develop and inspire their talent.

Jay has over twenty years of B2B/technology storytelling and demand generation leadership experience. Jay most recently led marketing at Neumob (acquired by Cloudflare), and has overseen marketing organizations and teams at Opera Software, MobiTV and Smaato. Follow Jay on Twitter.

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