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Why Career Progression Matters

A lot of small businesses lack the formality and hierarchical makeup that large corporations have. In many ways, this is a benefit to the stakeholders and provides a more flexible, agile environment in which to work. One area that small business owners should consider implementing a hierarchical approach is in career progression.

A lot of small businesses lack the formality and hierarchical makeup that large corporations have. In many ways, this is a benefit to the stakeholders and provides a more flexible, agile environment in which to work. One area that small business owners should consider implementing a hierarchical approach is in career progression.


Typically, in the private clinics we work with, there are a number of various positions that employees fall into. Sometimes these positions do have an implied hierarchy, supervisors and managers, for instance, but in many cases, there isn’t a clear path of transition from one position to the other, or an established pay range. This can create a lot of questions for employees that owners don’t generally consider:

  • I’m now working the front desk. How do I progress to become a tech?

  • Is a patient education position considered a move up from a tech position?

  • How do I become a trainee for new hires in my position?

  • What path can I take to get a raise? Do I just work hard and hope someone notices? Do I have to ask for one?

  • How do I know if a position is available in my clinic? How can I make sure my supervisors know I’m interested in something more?

Many employers miss out on the opportunity to answer these questions for their employees without ever having to be asked. A good career progression program is made up of several smaller pieces:

  • Every clinic should have clear job descriptions that are available to all employees.

  • While not mandatory, each position should be tied to an appropriate salary range. Salary ranges should not be a secret. If you, as an employer, don’t know what they are, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to a host of problems.

  • You should have an organizational chart that is updated and posted in a place that all employees can refer to as needed.

  • Open positions are posted, and employees are given time and instructions on how to make their interest in the position known.

Think of career progression as providing a roadmap for the work “lifespan” of one of your employees. Perhaps you want to institute two levels within a position – ie. Tech L1 & Tech L2. The Tech L2 has the same responsibilities of a Tech L1 but is also the clear “go to” person for questions, is the person who trains all the new hires, and perhaps sits in on employee interviews.


Promoting internal candidates or hiring someone from outside the organization should always be left to the discretion of the employer. However, having this kind of program in place can go a long way toward answering the questions posed above. It can also keep employees from feeling that they are in a dead-end job and will need to look outside your organization for advancement.

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