Career management -- why bother?

Guest Contributorby Dominique Jones | Posted | Career Management

Career management -- why bother?

With all the talk about talent shortages, war for talent, and all the other ‘terms du jour’, what are organizations doing internally to try and address some of those issues?

Relying solely on external talent to meet current and future needs is often the perceived ‘easy’ solution to talent acquisition, but there’s a lot to be said for considering and nurturing internal talent — not only through robust development processes, but also more fundamentally through having career management philosophy and practices that help employees progress.

At Halogen, we believe that the only way for us to meet current and future people requirements for our business is to have an all-encompassing talent acquisition strategy that includes a commitment to internal career management — to help our employees grow in their current roles and also grow into future roles internally.

We believe that creating a focus around career management leads to enhanced employee engagement– something our own employees told us this in an annual engagement survey.

Make career management a long-term strategic priority in your organization

You might think that we’re pretty small to be worrying about career management, but we see it as a long-term strategic priority and a personal win for our employees. So what are we doing in the area of career management and what’s our goal?

Our goals are threefold:

  1. Prepare our employees for future roles within Halogen by aligning people strategies with corporate strategy.
  2. Challenge our employees to take control of their own careers by giving them the relevant tools required to manage their career paths.
  3. Increase employee engagement at Halogen in a way that will result in long-term business performance enhancement.

Career management should be a formal, intentional program

Three years ago, when we recognized that we needed some expert help with career management frameworks and tools, we engaged Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions — a leading provider of career management services.

With guidance from Knightsbridge, we’ve implemented formal programs in which employees can leverage tools and techniques that will help them to identify their strengths, development areas, career motivators, and also enable them to have better (or start having) career conversations with their managers.

In support of these programs, all managers have to attend workshops that help them prepare to have these important career conversations with their employees.

We’ve seen some great successes so far, including employees who have self identified as being in the wrong job and who we’ve been able to move into roles for which they’re better suited and feel more fulfilled. We’ve also seen an increase in employee movement into other roles across the business.

The definition of career management has changed

While examples like these are a great testament to that fact that this approach is working, it takes time to challenge and change longer term embedded mindsets about the definitions of career management.

Many of us were raised with the belief that, and have worked in companies where, the definition of career management pretty much always meant upward promotion.

We’re working hard at ensuring our career conversations at Halogen focus on breadth in career management as well — helping employees and managers understand that lateral moves, gaining additional skills and expanding cross-functional knowledge are all great examples of career management, and serve as great building blocks for the future.

The other mindset that we’re working on changing is “careers are managed by managers (i.e., that they hold all the cards and make all the decisions about where employees go next)”. It’s a myth we’re really trying to dispel by focusing on things employees can control and giving them the tools to manage their careers themselves.

This approach helps to ensure that employees get to know themselves better, learn how to talk to their manager about career goals and aspirations, benefit from better coaching and ongoing feedback, and learn tips and techniques for successfully marketing themselves.

All new employees and managers have the opportunity to participate in our programs. We also support training transfer and prior learning for others through regular lunch and learn sessions.

Continuing to build on these programs and embed them into our culture is an ongoing priority for us, and we’re confident it will stand us in better stead against the increasing demands for talent in the marketplace.

We’re encouraged by our early success and will continue to work diligently to ensure the momentum continues well into the future.

Your turn: What career management goals has your organization focused on? How are you encouraging employees to take ownership of their career goals?

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