People & Teams

How do you keep your design team members growing?

Do you consider your company design led? Design is at the centre of every experience we create. So how do you ensure your design team has a path to improve, up-skill and deliver even more value?

  • Founder at Make & Grow

    Every designer wants to feel like their work has impact and that they are growing and learning. But even now, only a minority of design leaders have set out a clear path for those in their teams to grow. To remedy this, a progression framework is key.

    What is a progression framework?
    A progression framework (or ‘competency matrix’, ‘career ladder’) is an internal document created to help employees understand the expectations of their roles, and how to progress and grow at work.

    They attempt to answer common progression questions, including:

    • How do I know if I’m doing a good job?
    • What does my company expect of me?
    • Why does (s)he have that title and I don’t?
    • How long until I get a promotion/pay rise?
    • Why shouldn’t I take that job offer in my inbox?

    Not having a progression framework in place leads to frustration, apathy and talented designers leaving the company – while leaders are putting off implementing a framework, their designers are being approached and poached by others.

    The problem is, these frameworks are hard to write, and harder still to use effectively in assessing and setting goals for a team. A good framework (a) goes into a level of granularity that leaves no ambiguity around expectations, (b) is flexible as a team grows and (c) allows for regular goal-setting and measurable growth over time, for everyone. This takes hours of manager and team time.

    Luckily some teams have open-sourced their frameworks. Several of them are on progression.fyi, providing valuable guidance and even a template.

    I’m also developing Progression Pack, a framework builder with 24 in-depth skills and behaviours, a team skill-set assessment and goal tracker. Feel free to ask me about it on twitter.

    Jonny Burch, helping designers build great careers at Make and Grow, previously design lead at Deliveroo

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