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Creating Career Pathways for Your Hourly Employees

Creating Career Pathways for Your Hourly Employees 1200 600 Sprockets

With a shortage in the labor force, creating career pathways for your employees is important. Many small businesses and franchisees are using them as a tool to attract and retain hourly employees. 

To begin creating a career path, follow these steps:


Step 1: Outline All Roles

Begin by creating a list of all of the roles currently held at your location. This may include cashiers, kitchen staff, kitchen managers, delivery drivers, crew leaders, hiring manager, assistant manager, brand ambassadors, and a General Manager.


Step 2: Create a Career Pathway

Creating a pathway may include levels that need to be completed before advancing to the next position. For example, Penn Station East Coast Subs has a program named My Penn Path, which includes six modules to become a Crew Leader and 12 modules to become an Assistant Manager. For an average restaurant location, here are two examples of career pathways to introduce.

Kitchen Staff


  • Management training course 1 + six months on the job


Kitchen Crew Leader


  • Management training course 2 + six months on the job


Kitchen Leadership


  • Management training course 3 & 4 + one year on the job


Kitchen Director


General Staff:

Crew Member | Delivery Driver | Catering Staff


  • Basic training + six months on the job


Crew Leader

  • Management training course 1 + six months on the job

Assistant Manager | Hiring Manager | Catering Coordinator


  • Management training course 3 & 4 + one year on the job


General Manager


Step 3: Get Input from Current Staff

Getting input from your current staff members who have moved up the ranks is important. They will be able to provide insights to what is helpful to know at each step. For example, having experience working the day shift vs. the night shift may be important for the step to becoming an Assistant Manager to understand how many people need to be scheduled and which personalities fit at each shift time. By getting insight from your trusted leaders, you will be setting the program, and future leaders, up for success.


Step 4: Roll Out & Advertise Plan

Once your career pathways are defined and branded accordingly, roll it out to current staff members. Consider sitting down with individuals one-on-one to map out how they would like to be involved in the company. During these individual sessions, you will be able to gauge whether someone is going to stick around or if they aren’t committed. This is an easy way to tell which employees are worth investing more time and resources in to train for the management positions.

Next, begin advertising the career path plan on all job postings for your location. Then, when people are brought in for an interview, discuss which pathway they see themselves on. This is a great indicator for the interest of someone in the position and if they will turnover quickly.

Overall, building and implementing a structured career pathway for hourly workers is a great way to boost employee engagement and reduce turnover costs. To assist in choosing the best candidates for your business, check out our Applicant Matching System.

Plus, check out these tips for building a great hiring process!