Four Ways Every Stakeholder Can Make Career Development Successful

November 1, 2017 in
By Ben Porr

Many successful companies have an integrated career development program with supporting tools that align with the overall strategy of their business. However, what does it mean and how does one even start? This will be the first in a series of blogs designed to help businesses understand the benefits of structuring career development in their company, as well as, provide practical tips for employees and leaders. In this first blog post, I’d like to cover the key stakeholders in a business’s career development program and its main areas of focus.

Leaders set the business strategy, objectives, and culture for the company. From a career development perspective, leaders should,

  1. determine how technical, support, and management positions work together to fulfill the mission;
  2. understand the lifecycle (e.g., typical tenure, career progression, knowledge/skill development) and needs of each position (e.g., training, resources, support);
  3. invest in resources that enable the development process; and
  4. communicate leadership’s vision and objectives, so business priorities are clear.

Supervisors and managers communicate and execute on leadership’s strategy and objectives, while working with employees to maximize morale and productivity. From a career development perspective, supervisors and managers should,

  1. develop an individual relationship with each of their employees to understand career goals, strengths, and weaknesses, so they can put them in positions to succeed or provide feedback to ensure they are clear on priorities and objectives;
  2. identify and minimize risks in terms of succession management of critical roles, lack of skills needed to perform work, and engagement issues;
  3. understand and promote resources available for employees to support development and goal accomplishment; and
  4. communicate team and individual goals, so employees know how to prioritize and focus their effort, while also communicating potential issues and solutions to leadership.

Employees, who can be individual contributors up through executive leaders, perform the day-to-day operations to meet the goals and objectives of the business. From a career development perspective, employees should,

  1. understand how their role and the role of those they work closely with meet the business’s goals;
  2. understand what knowledge/skills they should obtain and develop to perform their role better now and into the future;
  3. build a plan to develop critical knowledge/skills by identifying gaps through self-assessment or feedback from others and identify how to improve in those competencies through training or stretch assignments (e.g., rotations, special projects); and
  4. communicate their interests and goals with their supervisor and mentors, so they can gather feedback on their goals, while also gathering feedback on the best way to execute their development plan using company resources.

Each stakeholder is responsible for contributing to the career development process and the more aligned they are through culture and communication, the greater the impact is on the organization and each individual. In the next three blogs, I’ll focus on each level and provide practical steps they can take to meet their career development goals.

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