This article looked at a recent survey released by BlessingWhite,
a global consulting firm based in Princeton. Called "The
State of the Career Report 2007," the study was designed
to investigate the following issues: What
are organizations doing about career development? How is it
From the executive standpoint, career development
is often tied to larger workforce initiatives. It is one part of
a more complex strategy that can include successions planning,
performance management, and re-deployment of talent through lateral
moves within an organization.
Employees will often develop their careers through their same
employer if they can foresee the opportunity to develop new skills,
receive promotions or make a lateral move within their organization.
To achieve this, organizations must make clear the link between
career development and business priorities. First and foremost,
employees must understand their organization’s long-term
strategy and what’s required to execute it.
According to authors of the report, "The more employees know
and care about the organization’s direction and business
priorities, the more willing and able they’ll be to satisfy
their career aspirations and apply the necessary skills when the
organization needs them."
No one tool or resource will speak to every employee, but nearly
all HR executives polled in the same survey agreed:
"Put conversation before information." Employees
don’t find online resources, printed brochures or other information
sources that useful. When people talk about their major career
influences, they almost always mention career coaches, senior-level
mentors, networks with business colleagues, and even training sessions
where they have exchanged ideas and received advice.
One respondent, the HR director for a global business services
firm, had this to say about a former mentor: "She was not
limited to 'the obvious' or to what immediately impacted my job.
She helped create opportunities and contact with other execs. She
also coached me on the best way to approach this."
"Beware the 'career' word." When employees
express dissatisfaction about career opportunities, it could mean
a number of different things. It may be that they are merely looking
for new challenges, flexibility or skill development. Individual
perceptions of the word vary, therefore an organization needs to
define the word for itself, then communicate it to its members.
"Build managers’ skills." Managers
can often be the first people to recognize an employee’s
talents and capabilities. They can also be first to see how these
talents align with the overall business strategy of the organization.
Yet many of the executives interviewed described managers as skeptical,
sometimes fearful, and even likely to "disinherit their staff" if
they themselves were not on board with their organization’s
career development initiatives.
As one respondent, the Director of Learning and Development for
a leading global law firm, expressed, "We wanted to make sure
we didn't create a monster, where the managers' capabilities did
not equal the enthusiasm of associates and of the organization.
After all, they never had this type of support themselves, and
helping others find their own answers is very different from their
"Encourage cross-functional education and networking." Lateral
moves are an effective career development strategy, yet according
to executive expertise, they are best pulled off if they include
temporary assignments, mentoring and employee networking groups
to ease the transition.
"Identify the 'work' required to drive organizational
success." Employees typically care most about the
work itself. What often motivates people is work that challenges
them, is meaningful to them and that can be balanced with their
personal lives. The main goal of all career development initiatives
should therefore be to help employees find the work they want
to do, while at the same time defining the type of work that
will drive the organization forward.
"Take a reality check." Nearly three
quarters of survey respondents indicated that their organization’s
career resources aren’t helpful. What about yours?
According to survey results, the most helpful
career development resources offered to employees were:
1. Career coaches/consultants
2. Career coaching training for managers
4. Temporary assignments/secondments
5. Job Postings
6. Assessments for development planning
The least helpful were:
1. Brochures, printed guides/tips
2. Online networking/communities
3. Career centres
4. Published career paths or levels
5. Online information
6. Online career planning tools
Source : http://www.galtglobalreview.com