Career ladder

A visualization of anti-growth mindset

Career ladder is a great tool for cultivating growth mindset in an organization:

  • It clarifies the promotion criteria transparently and advocates meritocracy
  • It aligns personal growth with organizational growth
  • It reduces churn by challenging long term employees
  • It sets examples of good behavior and inspires leadership

Unfortunately many companies fail to take full advantage of this tool. Let’s visualize some of the common mistakes.

The tool is there but it fails to serve most employees
Frustrating to navigate: people are often misplaced (or so it seems)
Does not support gradual growth, employees get stuck on the same step (often the step they started at)
Puts a hard cap on the growth and demotivates employees
Acknowledges going above and beyond but fails to compensate the extra effort
Has non-obvious (often unfair) rules for how far one can go up
Lifts some with minimum effort (particularly those who resembles the promoters)
Promotes shouting. Fails to set an example of those who just do their job.
Forces the employees to change teams or type of responsibilities to climb up
Some end up holding tight. Others keep jumping between irrelevant positions.
There is so much process around promotion that hardly anyone climbs
Set up to intentionally make it harder and more cumbersome to grow. Therefore the majority of the employees are at the lower levels and the culture they build eats the strategy for breakfast!
When the business itself doesn’t have the capacity of growth, any effort put into growth may lead the employees to become “too good” and leave
Not part of evaluation process or development talk
Screams “growth is not supported here”! (lack of growth mindset at the leadership level)

Knowledge Worker, MSc Systems Engineering, Tech Lead, Web Developer