/blog > author > Joe Brooks

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…

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We’ve all read plenty of resumes or profiles that state that the person in question is “results-oriented”  or “driven”. Various popular buzzwords come up from time to time and many people litter them throughout their resumes in the hope that this will help them get picked up by automated systems scanning for the ideal candidate. The reality is that the next step in the process is a human being checking through the recommended profiles, and when they see the same thing on every resume they read, they desperately hope to come across something more insightful and interesting. Whilst it’s important to tailor cover letters to make sure that you understand what it is about the role you’re applying for that you’re interested in, I’ve always found it interesting that people are advised to have different versions of their resume for different types of job they’re applying for. After all, isn’t…

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Snakes and ladders

When considering career development, typically people think about moving up the career ladder, suggesting that the only way to improve yourself is to move up the hierarchy within your organization. In reality, though, not everyone wants to take on a more senior role within their organization. There are plenty of salespeople, for example, who are not interested in (and should, in fact, be actively discouraged from!) becoming sales managers. Being good at sales doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to be good at managing people, so perhaps a salesperson’s career path should be more about adding and refining the skills that will help them to sell even more. The right path for one person is not necessarily the right one for their colleague, so development plans should be tailored for individual employees to help them be the best they can be in their current and target roles, without pushing them in…

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War on talent

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…

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No return

We frequently hear about the importance of a Return on Investment (ROI) to justify a decision being made to proceed down a certain path, especially when implementing a new technology. Clearly there are some systems for which there’s a clear ROI, such as replacing a completely manual process with an automated system (that may actually replace a person or people), or replacing existing training with an equivalent that’s cheaper. However, how many companies end up not implementing an innovative technology that may result in huge benefits, because they can’t assign an exact dollar value to that implementation? The areas in which a system may add value or benefits may be clear, but assigning a monetary value to that benefit may not be. For example, you might assume that a new applicant tracking system that automates and innovates some processes will add value, but how many of the efficiency improvements are…

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learners

Last week I attended Corporate Learning Week in Orlando. I attended a number of interesting sessions about how to engage employees and innovate the learning process and also spoke to many executives about learning practices and initiatives in their organizations. What was clear was that there is not a shortage of learning content out there, in all sorts of different formats, but many organizations struggle with finding the best way to deliver (and encourage) learning in order to engage their employees. Recent blog posts  by Jane Hart and Norene Wiesen on unwilling learners and how people learn through explaining their thinking respectively make it clear that different learning approaches work for different people, but employees need to understand the motivation for learning. When learners are directed to consume training content, they’re often doing it because they know they have to do it to tick a box, rather than because they…

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contract-management

In most organizations, HR has come a long way since the filing cabinets stuffed full of employee resumes, appraisals etc., but many systems in place today are legacy systems that simply transferred those paper processes onto a computer.  Hiring decisions may have been made based on these files, but often in isolation from any other information used by HR. For a long time job roles have been defined by HR leaders and managers to define the “ideal” profile and skill-set for particular role, but this has often been built on assumptions based on past profiles, rather than applying any serious analysis to it. The transparency revolution has greatly increased the amount of information easily available on employees and candidates, with sites like LinkedIn having millions of detailed profiles that are largely publicly searchable, so there’s plenty of data out there to start analyzing. This makes it all the more surprising…

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jumper

So often people have no idea what career they really want to follow. The advice from this video is simple – do whatever interests you and makes you happy. If you really like what you’re doing, you’ll become a master of it, and there’s always someone interested in paying you for what you’ve mastered. If you’re doing something you hate you’re never going to get the reward you want, or as the video puts it: “It’s all retch and no vomit”.  Read More…

p_office_people

I was talking to a former colleague today who is in the final stages of interviewing to join a start-up, because he said it’s “way too slow and boring” working for the large company that currently employs him. This sentiment is common among Gen Y employees, who seek fun and challenging experiences at work and see frequent job and career change as the new norm.   In a recent post, Key Consulting Group says that many Gen Y works think that traditional career paths in large corporations are dead end streets that are really not going to get them motivated. The result is that many large organizations are concerned about who their future leaders might be, as baby-boomers are retiring and many of the younger generation lack the necessary skills and experience to fill their boots.   The Key Consulting Group post goes on to say: “One report in the…

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bull_by_horns2

The Mayans were wrong and 2013 has started relatively uneventfully. Most of us are back at work, so now is a good time to take stock and consider what you want to achieve in your career in 2013.   Forget about not drinking for a month and instead think about what went well and what could have gone better in 2012, and consider how to make 2013 a productive year for your career.   This doesn’t have to be too onerous a task, with lofty goals set for the whole year. As Adrian Granzella Larssen suggests in ‘5 Career Resolutions Everyone Should Make in 2013’, this could be as simple as resolving to add some new skills to your resume this year by taking a course, or making a list of what didn’t make you happy in your job last year, and thinking about what you might do to avoid the…

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