Lattice vs. Ladder

lattice work

Lattice vs. Ladders

I am often asked about implementing career ladders or establishing career paths for existing employeess.

Attracting the right employees has always been a challenge for employers, but there are several trends that are making that task harder, including the economic recession and increasing globalization.

Rather than create a career ladder for employees, some companies are crafting a career “lattice”, which enables employees to develop their own career paths by obtaining certain skills or experiences outside their current job without turning to a competing firm. Lattice frameworks also enable employees to move sideways or even downward depending upon their career and personal goals, which fosters retention and continued engagement.

One of the first steps is for an employer to use technology to map out the career architecture of the organization and then link that information to the HR system, which will match workers to skill areas. Creating an ongoing dialogue about performance with workers can help employers uncover hidden talents and skills.

Employers’ budgets are strapped, meaning they are unable to train every worker, but lattice frameworks can help companies locate people with the right skills and background to fit their needs. However, in some ways, workers can be overwhelmed by the choices available to them, which is why HR needs to create models that illustrate those opportunities and whether they are a good fit for particular employees.

The IntelliGap Assessment exclusively provided by Ember Carriers can help your organization define the skills gap needed for your organization’s success.  Contact an Ember Carriers senior consultant today at (513) 984-9333.

Source: Human Resource Executive (11/01/10) Ciccarelli, Maura C.


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31 Responses to “Lattice vs. Ladder”

  1. The perspective painted in Maura Ciccarelli’s commentary sounds good in theory; however, from my experience, not so good in practice. Here are three reasons why:

    1) Employee roles tend to be directly tied to salary, and if the employee is not providing enough value in their role, or if the company needs to cut expenses, the end result will not be beneficial to the worker or the business.

    2) Organizations invest in workers who have specific skills. As soon as an employee starts becoming a generalist, they loose value, and except in rare cases, loose efficiency and become a liability during economic down-turns.

    3) Training is often a differentiator in organizational performance and revenue. World class organizations invest in training to increase profits. Training in a “lattice” fashion could provide some value, but in my opinion, will be less efficient, and without reinforcement, less effective.

    In the short term a lattice framework looks a lot better on paper than a ladder. It may have short term results, but like fighting forest fires in California, will likely create greater problems for the worker, and potentially the employer, in the future.

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