Careers Over Jobs: Fostering Professional Growth via Internal Mobility

Experts explain importance of supporting employee growth

Silhouette of custodian with cleaning cart

Start a job at Cleveland Clinic, stay for a career. This describes the professional path Cleveland Clinic provides for its caregivers across many roles, departments and locations.


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“We’ve created a path between those two worlds — job and career,” explains Dawn Zmecek, program manager in the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Global Leadership and Learning Institute (MGLLI) in the Caregiver Office at Cleveland Clinic. “We increase caregiver satisfaction by having a solid process in place for managing professional mobility and allowing people to work at the top of their license.”

Fresh opportunities

To demonstrate its commitment to caregiver growth within the organization, Cleveland Clinic offers a variety of professional programs and educational resources. One such tool is the Career Development Guide developed by MGLLI. Designed to foster professional growth, the guide shows caregivers how to access skill-development resources and mentoring and networking opportunities, as well as navigate the organization’s internal job hub.

Another important instrument for enabling caregivers’ internal mobility is Cleveland Clinic’s Career Path Guide. The resource contains job descriptions, educational and certification requirements, and ways for caregivers to gain experience to reach higher-level positions in each area of the organization.

The Career Path Guide increases caregivers’ awareness of roles to which they could aspire, based on their unique interests,” says Zmecek.

For example, a caregiver might begin their Cleveland Clinic career in the Environmental Services Department, where they work as an Area Cleaner – a position that does not require a high school diploma. Using the guide, the caregiver can explore other opportunities within the department and learn about the requirements needed for other positions, including special skills, certifications and work experience. Working with their manager, the caregiver can develop an individualized career path designed to build on their current skills and knowledge. The guide also includes information that can help those who are looking to move between nonclinical and clinical positions.


“A caregiver who begins their career as an Area Cleaner could very well become a future leader within the organization,” Zmecek adds. “The sky really is the limit!”

Growth through education

Career growth through education is a vital component of caregiver mobility, says Zmecek. For instance, Cleveland Clinic provides development courses through LinkedIn Learning, an online educational platform that features more than 9,000 video tutorials on business, creative and technology topics like project management, strategic thinking, data analytics and teamwork. Individual courses are available on various subjects, including developing a resume, writing a strong cover letter and succeeding in an internal job interview.

In addition, MGLLI partners with many departments across the enterprise to engage and connect employees while helping them develop their skills as caregivers and healthcare leaders. A newly updated benefit makes both full- and part-time caregivers eligible for tuition reimbursement after 90 days of employment, instead of one year.

Personalized career guidance

To further promote mobility within the organization, Cleveland Clinic encourages and supports regular “talent reviews” – facilitated conversations between caregivers and their department or institute leaders. These meetings provide employees with important opportunities to discuss their career ambitions and interests with their managers.

“During talent reviews, leaders learn what they can do to help individual caregivers advance their careers,” Zmecek explains. “The conversation may create job-shadowing or mentorship opportunities or generate ideas for new projects, rotations or assignments outside of the caregiver’s current role.”


After the meeting, the manager debriefs the caregiver about what was discussed and works with them to decide which development, experiential or formal education or mentorship options might best support their career aspirations. “It's a proactive way of developing caregiver loyalty,” she says. “Happy caregivers feel connected to the organization – and each other – and their satisfaction is reflected in improved quality, stronger diversity and inclusiveness, and better patient care.”

Everybody wins

Zmecek emphasizes that Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to career growth through internal mobility is a true win-win situation for both the organization and its employees.

“We define success not only by our ability to meet caregivers’ immediate needs right now, but also by the opportunities we provide to help them learn, grow and explore new skills,” she adds. “By promoting internal mobility, we help foster our caregivers’ institutional knowledge and support their professional agility.”

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