Career Development and Career Planning

For HRD professionals, the career development task in the 2020s will be to balance the individual’s needs for freedom and growth with the organization’s needs for productivity and results.

Most existing career development systems will continue to maintain the basic components of career development. These components include:

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1. Techniques for individual self-assessment: Skills, interests, preferences, values and constraints such as family needs, geographical location, financial pressures, etc.

2. Techniques for managerial assessment of employees along validated performance dimensions. Various EEO guidelines mandate that these dimensions be based upon a thorough job analysis and that the assessments be free from subjective and non-reviewable factors.

3. Knowledge of job opportunities shared by both managers and employees. Such knowledge will come from:

• Human resource planning fore¬casts of labor demand, e.g. where new markets are opening; where acquisitions are pending; where funding is available, etc. At the very least, this would include a statement of the number of positions at each level of the organization and the average number of vacancies which occur in these positions.

• Career paths based on similar behaviors and skills, or along functional lines. Since 75% of all mobility occurs within a given function, functional career ladders appear to be most relevant.

• Promotion requirements such as minimum job experience, education, satisfactory completion of tests, psychological assessments, and so forth. These also must be validated scientifically.

• Affirmative action requirements. If any “override” for a job exists, such that women or minorities are specifically needed, this in¬formation should be communicated.

4. Useful output: Lists which show target jobs for each individual, readiness assessments, and action plans for reaching each targeted job. Another useful output is a list of generic training needs. For example, as a result of career planning, it may become clear that all supervisors need basic training in production planning and control techniques.

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Assuming the basic components continue to serve us in the 1980s, a more specific trend would be greater ownership by line functions. Most HRD professionals are quite possessive of their programs. Unfortunately, they confuse ownership with leadership. Ownership will be held by line managers through their input regarding the design and use.

The program will specifically meet their needs, and the line will be allowed to use the system only where it is needed. For example, in a lean and stable organizational unit with low turnover, having people “churn” through career planning may be more disruptive than a simple maintenance strategy for those unit members who are content in this secure but chal¬lenging environment.

Perhaps all the HRD specialist will do is monitor that turnover is too low. The operating principle in all such situations should be: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

In the 2020s, we will control unrealistic expectations. We will do this through clearly defining jobs and communicating straight with our employees.

Ongoing counseling will be part of the performance and goal review. Not everyone will discuss promotion opportunities, but it is clear that some development will have to take place for everyone. All employees should be on some development track, either fast track for those of superior talent, maintenance mode for those seeking to improve their skills, or in the case of declining performers, a remedial action plan. When unrealistic expectations do develop, it will require conflict resolution skills on the part of the HRD professional.

Career planning will be based more on required knowledge and skills, not just a match in values. Most current career planning programs are for individual growth alone. In these workshops, individuals get in touch with themselves, but “harder” evidence of suitability is not fed into the organizational system for human resource planning.

Future placement decisions will need to be made by the mobility specialists and the hiring manager; and they will look at individual career planning data which assesses requisite abilities, more closely than preferences.

We will begin to better reward managers for career development. Besides the obvious tangible rewards allocated through the performance management system, there are some more subtle forms of recognition. For example, giving these managers first priority on trainees or increasing their staff or budgets are ways to reinforce development.

Reinvesting savings from career development back into the manager’s budget is another. A more subtle example is to train subordinates to “reward” managers using behavior modification techniques.

There will be more information available through on-line searching for candidates and job information regarding possible career moves.

There will be more col-laborationand mutual decision making. The boss who has always had a role will be brought into focus as a key resource. Third party experts such as counselors and HRD profes¬sionals will be needed to facilitate discussion.

The bosses’ boss, as well, can expect to be added to the dialogue and decision making. All this will of course/ require training in giving feedback, coaching and counseling.

There will be a change from organizational dominance and influence to a situation where the individual has a share of information and resources. To paraphrase John Kennedy’s famous statement, too many individuals ask what the organization can do for them, rather than what they can do for themselves. For the 1980s this will have to change because, while organizational resources can be shared, these resources are limited.

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Since motivation comes from within the individual, each employee will have to initiate his or her own career planning. The question then becomes, what can / do within the context of ongoing organizational activities to foster my own personal growth. This does not mean that trainers will be out of the picture. It simply means that they will have to provide a context for individuals to do a good bit of their own career planning and development.

Source : TRAINING Magazine