Q. State the major career development activities found in organizations.
Career Development Activities (Career Planning) in Organizations:
A broad view of career is defined as an “individually perceived sequence of attitudes and behaviour work-related activities and experiences over the span of a person’s life.” In normal parlance the term career has both an internal and an external focus. An internal focus and refers to the way an individual views his/her career and the external or objective focus and refers to the actual series of job positions held by the individual. The dynamics of career development in an organizational context has two dimensions:
- How individuals plan and implement their own career goals (career planning), and
- How organizations design and implement their career development programs (career management).
Career planning is a deliberate attempt by an individual to become more aware of their skills, interests, values, opportunities and constraints. It requires an individual thinking to identify career-related goals and establishing plans towards achieving those goals. Often it is a self-driven process, which every professional (irrespective of the nature of employment) spends some time to dwell on and discuss it with peers or superiors and frame it. It is also viewed from time to time that the individual looks for possible new career options. Having a career plan builds a commitment towards achieving it and is viewed as an excellent personal goal-setting exercise for self motivation.
Career management is considered to be an organizational process that involves preparing, implementing and monitoring career plans undertaken by an individual alone or within the organizations career systems. Organizations establish policies that provide for multiple career path options that an employee can choose from and pursue. This is supported with a lot of training and development activities that are agreed to with the manager and planned carefully and executed.
A variety of career development activities and tools exists for use in organizations. HR managers should be familiar with these components because the managers often serve as internal consultants responsible for designing the career development systems. Some of the activities described are individual career planning tools and others are commonly used for organizational career management. In general the most effective career development programs will use both types of activities.
A variety of career development activates are available for use. Some of the more popular ones include:
1. Self assessment tools: these are usually technology enabled on-line (on the corporate intranet) tools that form part of the performance appraisal system and allow the individual to identify areas of strengths and parallelly identify career paths that would leverage these strengths the best. E.g. Career Planning Workbooks, Career Workshops hosted by the organizations from time to time.
2. Individual Counseling: formally the process allows for individuals to discuss this as part of the performance management process with their immediate managers and share and take feedback on the appropriateness of the choices and how to go about pursuing it. Often managers recommend relevant other managers and leaders who the employee can link with to seek advice and support. Organizations also provide for formal mentoring programs to which an employee can enroll and sign up a mentor who can then provide the support and counseling on the best career option and how to go about it achieving it.
3. Information Services: organizations have established policies on what skills and experiences that each job in the organization requires. Jobs with similar skills and experiences are clubbed together to create parallel career paths. For example in a software development firm the career path options for the software engineering team can be designed as follows:
Figure: Career Paths in a software company
These are typically called career ladders or career paths and they help an employee identify what his options are for future growth and identify the appropriate one based on his personal skills and capabilities/ limitations. These career paths would be supplemented with additional information on skills and experience that one must have for each role/job in the career path. It would also specify the particular qualification or special certifications that the positions demands. An employee aspiring to pursue a career option would need to dedicate time and effort and the expenses towards acquiring the same. Large MNCs (multinational companies) also encourage the reimbursement of these expenses as an annual fixed amount on successfully clearing the exam/certification. The employee however needs to find the time and expend the effort away from work. The actual move of the employee to the new role would however depend on the existence of a job vacancy in that role. The employee can also approach career resource / talent management centers supported by the HR teams for more information on how to plan careers and apply for new roles sand jobs. Organizations usually have formal job posting systems through which the employee receives this information and applies for the job after discussing with his manager.
4. Initial employment Programs Organizations also run internship and apprenticeship programs wherein the individuals aspiring to do a particular job can spend some time as a temporary employee to explore interest and skill fitment for the job/role. (e. g. Anticipatory socialization programs, realistic recruitment, and employee orientation program)
5. Organizational Assessment programs: organizations can proactively establish formal processes wherein an employee can volunteer to participate and understand himself/herself and his/her strengths. Through the use of Assessment Centers organizations can help an employee identify areas for improvement and means of building those skills. So he can achieve his career plans. Certain organizations offer Psychological Testing instruments which profile the employee’s strengths and roles and responsibilities he / she will best fit into.
6. Developmental programs focus the effort of the employee towards helping the employee to achieve his career goals. The Assessment Centers, Job rotation programs, in-house training, tuition refund plans, and mentoring, all prove effective tools to help the individual along.
No matter what tools are used for career development, it is important that employees develop and individualized career plan. For example Raychem requires every person to have a learning or development plan.