Embedding Company Values To Build a Well-Structured Career Ladder

Daniel Naves

Director of Engineering at CareMessage



We lacked a clearly defined career path for our engineers and were having trouble with developing better structured job descriptions for both individual contributors (ICs) and managers. In addition, we were undetermined how to measure engineering performance at different levels and how to encourage engineers' personal growth. Engineers were confused about what was expected from them in terms of communication, team work, product knowledge, and technical skills. Also, they also had no clear expectations regarding salaries and titles.

Actions taken

  • First off, we have separated our career paths for ICs and managers. We used a popular spreadsheet that details roles and responsibilities. However, many roles overlapped and we had to adjust the spreadsheet to fit our needs.
  • We agreed upon and defined our core values that included execution, diversity and inclusion, communication, collaboration, leadership, company impact, focus on problem solving, knowledge of the product and the targeted audience.
  • We meticulously defined these values and broke them down for six different position levels, from junior to principal level. We created the document that clarifies what is expected at each level regarding those values. Then we broke these core values by departments.
  • Once completed, we shared the document with all the teams and thoroughly discussed with them all aspects of the document. We provided them with everyday examples that illustrated each role and task.
  • We asked our employees to go through the document and highlight their roles and tasks with red, yellow and green; red meaning they are not meeting expectations and green that they are exceeding expectations.
  • Their self-assessment was discussed with their managers during 1:1 meetings and afterwards shared with everyone else.

Lessons learned

  • People were pleased to be provided with a transparent and structured plan for their personal growth and improvement. ICs were also included in the plan and have been provided with instructions on how to climb up the ladder without becoming managers. A clear set of goals was established to gauge a personal progress.
  • When building a career ladder make sure that your values are well defined and that people understand what they really mean. Also, develop indicators that are not only data-driven as people may focus only on the quantitative aspect of their performance while neglecting the qualitative side.
  • Illustrate your points with day-to-day examples that people can easily absorb and relate to.

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Daniel Naves

Director of Engineering at CareMessage

CommunicationPerformance MetricsTechnical SkillsCareer ProgressionCareer LadderSalary GuidesDiversity and Inclusion InitiativesIndividual Contributor RolesTeam & Project Management

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