Can you increase retention by establishing a career path for your employees?

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Sr. Director of Enterprise Security in Software, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Retention is so hard and if people don't have a career path you can't retain at all right now. I have folks who would love to stay but now that they have a new skill or certification, there's no upward mobility. That's how you start losing people. It’s essential to invest in creating a career path for your team members.
Founder/Chairman/CTO in Telecommunication, 201 - 500 employees
I had a conversation in which the great resignation was characterized as what happens when the traditional midlife crisis meets Millennials. It's comical and a bit pejorative in a lot of ways, but I think there's an element of truth to that. There’s a desire to have a clear line of sight to the future, and to know what they should be doing with their lives.

As a leader of a security operations center (SOC) or a CISO, it's not your job to career counsel everyone to their perfect place, but being able to answer that career path question is wise considering that it’s on the table for a lot of people right now. If you're not providing some line of sight that maps to their core intrinsic drives, you'll lose them. They'll say, "We didn't think that we could work from home and COVID taught us that wasn’t true. So, what else is untrue?" Then they'll go off and try their own thing. It’s easy to underestimate that phenomenon at this point in time. 

Career path is something that I've always addressed. I started asking, “What do you want to be doing in 10 years time? Because neither of us will be working here.” My favorite answer was “I don't know,” and my second favorite was, "I want to sell tshirts in a store in Oregon." That was oddly specific, but it was just something that this person had as a drive. You could see that as something their future would contain. Bugcrowd became known as a swag company that dabbles in cybersecurity sometimes and this person was the one who drove that. They drove the branding side and the creation of icons for the hacker community, which has traditionally been disenfranchised. That weird answer in their job interview ended up streaming into that output for the business. It's hard to optimize for that, because sometimes lightning just strikes and cool things happen. But there’s something to the idea that your people are pregnant with visions that you can't parse out unless you ask, or find a way for them to express that.
Global CIO & CISO in Manufacturing, 201 - 500 employees
I learned that I have to look out for myself early in my career. I need to work for a manager who at least has an idea of what the career trajectory is for the next three months, or the next year. A lot of what I do to help my direct reports develop focuses on setting some kind of career roadmap. We’ll periodically discuss how they are learning and how they can push themselves across the spectrum.

Establishing a career path is one thing that I absolutely push to anybody that I'm working with. And whether they’re working with me, for me or near me, I tell everyone: Know the full scope like you own the business, and know why you're doing things. You have to ask yourself, “Why am I coding this? What's the impact on the business?” Understanding all those pieces is important.
CISO in Software, 501 - 1,000 employees
Our role as managers should be to leave our people in a better place than when they came to us. And that includes developing them in such a way that they are highly employable by other companies. The key is to develop people and pave their careers, but also to make them sticky to the organization. It's win-win to develop people who go on to join other teams in your business. But it’s also a win to develop people who then move to other businesses as people need to make the right decisions for them, according to their interests and careers.

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