We know there are many ways to grow and progress beyond just managing people. In a start-up we want, and need, to encourage people to develop their careers in lots of different ways. For these reasons we have 3 'tracks' for your career progression and you can be on any available track, progressing along the path upwards, or moving horizontally between the competencies where your interests take you.
Our three Tracks
- Expert: Looking after things
- Entrepreneur: Looking after ideas
- People Leader: Looking after people
Why do we have these tracks?
Every role has a mix of technical, entrepreneurial, and managerial responsibilities; this is true across every level of the team and across every function in Whereby. We expect everyone to be working on some competencies in all of the tracks while progressing and developing their skills in their role.
Similarly, some roles may lean more obviously towards a certain track (e.g. engineering = technical). Technical doesn't just mean coding however; it can mean technical design-skills, your ability to source candidates as a recruiter, or your accountancy skills if you work in the finance team.
We know everyone has their personal strengths, and those strengths tend to align with one of the specific tracks above. We've built these paths for you so that you can be develop and be promoted based on your strengths and natural interests. We also want to create space for members of our team who want to develop, grow, and progress, without the requirement to manage anyone (which most of us will never do in our time at Whereby!)
📌 Building out these tracks is based on a philosophy of strength-based performance reviews, which you can read more about at the bottom of this page.
Progression Tracks FAQ
- Who picks which track I am on? It's a mix between you and your line manager. Spend some time thinking about your strengths, and what you'd like to progress towards, and speak to your line manager in a 1:1. You can pick any track for any role, with the exception of Level 1, who are on a track to gain broader experience, and Level 5 and above, who must be on a version of a managerial track where they are also subject matter experts across both technical and entrepreneurial competencies.
- Once I pick, can I change? Absolutely - the walls between tracks should be permeable and can change and move at any point. It's important to understand that you could be smashing it across all tracks, but knowing where your strengths are will help you be more aware of what to do next to be successful!
- I don't know if I have any technical/managerial/entrepreneurial projects in my role...? Of course, you do! Even in a very tech-heavy role, you should think - how does a technical person use their technical aptitude to be entrepreneurial and improve things? How does a person who has no interest in management work on their communication across a company? Your strengths in a chosen track are always useful, no matter which role you're in!
- I just want to manage people, can I just focus on that? When you're in a Level 1 (Inaugurate) we need you to focus on building strong foundations. Of course, you can still work on the competencies you'll need to manage later on, but we'll be assessing your performance based on technical and entrepreneurial competencies. While you're here, why not take a look at Becoming a People Leader. In all other roles, once you reach the Director level we expect you have a strong entrepreneurial and technical background too, so if you would like to progress beyond being the leader of a small team, you will need to ensure you are working on your skills beyond just that of management.
- I never want to manage people, does this mean my career ends at "Director"? No. This is iteration 1 of our progression framework here at Whereby. At the moment, everyone at a Director level manages teams, but in the future that may change as we introduce principle-level roles. Nothing is set in stone, and all of our work in People Ops is iterative and fluid.
- Where do I keep track of my track? This is something which will be assessed in your 1:1s, performance reviews, and check-ins with your line manager. These tracks are not a formal set of checklists, and should be used as a tool. They are basically there to help structure conversations around progression with your manager, and not to indicate the "only" way to do things.
- What if I feel I am more of a generalist, do I have to have a strict track? There is no requirement to be 100% on one track or another, but it is important to identify your strengths and where you would ideally like to progress. This makes progression conversations easier for your manager and you to navigate, and it means you can be more focussed in fine-tuning your skills. Just because you are following one track does not mean that you totally abandon the others, you may just not be assessed against those skills unless you decide to switch your route.