Why Career Management Fails

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Last week, Towers Watson’s Global Workforce Study reported that Career Management Programs are missing the mark, with many employees feeling that their companies are not adequately supporting or providing visibility of career development opportunities.

It seems strange that many organizations report challenges around staff retention, but are not helping employees to identify opportunities to develop their skills and careers within the organization. The result is that, often after significant investment in training, companies are losing valuable employees to competitors. Often it’s not until the employee hands in their notice to leave that their managers express surprise and say they were going to be earmarked for a promotion some time soon.

Technology enables us to make so many processes at work more efficient and transparent, but career management initiatives are often antiquated and secretive, being managed as succession planning initiatives that are often invisible to the employees, who feel they’re not being sufficiently valued. By empowering employees to drive their own career paths, not only are companies able to provide better transparency, but they’re also potentially identifying the ambitious and eager employees who feel they are ready to progress.

Perhaps one challenge is that few organizations have a clear budget line dedicated to Career Management, so often systems are implemented that purport to address the challenges, but often as an add-on to another core process that the system is really designed to address. With ROI being harder to calculate, investments in implementing Career Management practices are often neglected in favor of projects and initiatives that are easier to quantify.

The reality is that you only need to retain one or two high potential employees to more than recoup the investment in saved hiring and training costs so, seemingly, investing in Career Management should be a clear employer and employee win win. Employers get a clearer picture of the skills, experiences and career intentions of their employees and employees finally get to see that there are opportunities to progress with their current organizations.

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