What is career management?

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Most companies recognize the value in attracting and retaining the right employees. With growth projections for the US workforce of 4.4% from 2013-2017, it is also predicted that there will be accelerated turnover in many organizations.  Employees are expensive to attract and train, so losing employees to competitors can prove very costly.

Accordingly, it makes sense for companies to have clear strategies to retain valued employees, by providing them with the information and tools they need to continue to grow – both in terms of their skill sets and their career progression. Clearly the more skills an employee has, the more valuable and attractive they are to both your organization and your competitors’ organizations.

Whilst there is a lot of discussion about “Talent Management”, this all-encompassing term covers many different components of attracting, developing and managing employees.  “Career Management” or “Career Development” more specifically covers the steps an employee needs to take to follow a career path. Bersin describes Career Management as:

“an employee’s progression through a logical sequence of jobs requiring the development of new skills sets that are gained through advanced or diverse assignments—and which result in greater influence and responsibility.”

Based on that definition, in order for an employee to be able to manage his or her career, he or she would obviously need to be able to identify what the most “logical sequence of jobs” would be, yet frequently we see reports with employees citing a lack of visibility into opportunities being a key driver in their decision to move companies.

Bersin’s inclusion of Career Management as a specific item in their “High-Impact Talent Management Framework” clearly shows that this is an area on which many companies would do well to focus, but still very few companies have a specific budget assigned to Career Management initiatives, so it ends up competing for resources with the many other categories overseen by HR.

With the War for Talent being as relevant today as it was when the term was coined in 1997, it still surprises me how few companies really focus on providing their employees with the tools they need to a) identify the different roles within the organization; b) know what skills and competencies these roles require; and c) create a career path that helps them get there.

At a time when it’s easier than ever for companies to track down and poach talented people from their competitors, wouldn’t it be easier for employers to focus on making their organizations the best places to be employed, through providing and clear opportunities for development and the resources to get there?

 

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