Career Planning & Development

Career Planning & Development

In this lesson, you’re expected to learn about:
– the importance of career development
– the career planning process

What is Career Development?

Career development is the process of improving an individual’s abilities in anticipation of future opportunities for achieving career objectives.

It is a formal approach taken by an organization to help its employees acquire the skills and experience needed to perform current and future jobs.

In simple terms, it means ‘Providing employees an opportunity to grow’, especially to those employees who deliver performance.

Career development is an ongoing organized and formalized effort that recognizes people as a vital organizational resource.

It differs from training in that it has a wider focus, longer time frame, and broader scope. The goal of training is improvement in performance; the goal of development is enrichment and more capable workers.

A company’s policies especially those relating to promotion, counseling the employees, and opportunities to excel in the future help employees to develop their career.

Career development consists of skills, education and experiences as well as behavioral modification and refinement techniques that allow individuals to work better and add value.

[Optional] The Art of Career Development
Watch this 3-minute HBR video to learn more:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6yW9IsQ00A
Importance of Career Development
In recent decades, career development has seen a shift in the way it is approached. Traditionally, it was up to an organization to ensure that its employees had the skills to meet the company’s long-term goals. Now, however, employees advocate that they are—and should be—responsible for their own career development.

This shift has changed the way that organizations handle career development. Career development is viewed today as a kind of partnership with employees. It is also a key component of a company’s attraction and retention strategy. Many candidates will not consider employment with an organization unless it offers career development as a basic component of its culture.

Matching Personal & Organizational Goals

Career development has come to be seen as a means for meeting both organizational and employee needs, as opposed to solely meeting the needs of the organization as it had done in the past.

Now, organizations see career development as a way of:
– preventing job burnout
– providing career information to employees
– improving the quality of work lives
– meeting affirmative action goals

Thus, career development must be seen as a key business strategy if an organization wants to survive in an increasingly competitive and global business environment.

Career Development from Different Perspectives

Career development needs to be considered from the perspectives of both the organization and the employee.

Organization: What skills and knowledge do we require to achieve our business goals?

Employee: What are the skills and knowledge I think critical to my current and future career plans?

[Optional] Think Strategically About Your Career Development
Identifying an Employee’s Career Plan

Employees should have a career plan that has been discussed with their manager. Generally, this would take place during the performance review process.

The career plan includes an assessment of the “gaps” or training requirements and should be reviewed on an ongoing basis. This ensures that both the employee’s and the organization’s needs and objectives are adjusted over time.

Discussions of career planning typically include the following:

Current job: Does the employee have the skills to meet the responsibilities of their current job?

Gaps: Assess the person’s current levels of competency and their future requirements. This will reveal what gaps need to be addressed to develop their skills so they can meet future job requirements.

Future aspirations: Where does the employee see themselves in the future?  What business results do they hope to achieve?

Career Planning Process

Career planning is the process through which individuals identify and implement steps to attain their career goals. There are five basic steps in the career planning process:

(1) self-assessment
(2) investigating career opportunities
(3) goal setting
(4) action planning
(5) evaluation

(1) Self-Assessment

In this phase, the individual begins by examining his or her own assets, characteristics, interests, and current level of skill development. Although self-assessment is often done informally, many formal tests and inventories are also available.

Measures of aptitudes, interests, personality, values, and preferences can prove to be quite useful in developing a profile. Two of the most widely used inventories are the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) and the Myers–Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI).

(2) Investigating Career Opportunities   

The second phase of career planning involves investigating a range of career opportunities to determine which skills, interests, and abilities are required.

Basically, this is an information-gathering step, and many sources may be used, including friends, family members, and business associates as well as written sources.

(3) Goal Setting

Goal setting is the process of using what has been learned through self-assessment and the investigation of career opportunities to decide where one wants to go, at least in the short run.

It is necessary to set one’s sights on opportunities that match not only personal interests, but also demonstrated abilities and skills. To be most helpful, the goals set should be specific and measurable as well as reasonably attainable within a specified time frame.

(4) Action Plan

Next, the action plan details specific steps required to accomplish one’s goals.

An action plan may include seeking additional required training or formal education; developing particular management, interpersonal, job search, or other needed skills either on or off the job; or even seeking an internship or temporary work assignment to gain experience. Whatever is needed to attain the goal must be addressed in the action plan.

(5) Evaluation

Finally, career planning involves ongoing evaluation of progress toward one’s career goals. Evaluation keeps planning on track and can also help identify strengths and weaknesses in a career plan.

Since people’s career needs are likely to change over their lifetime, self-assessment and career planning should be a continuous process, not a one-time activity.

Career Development in a Team Environment

An emerging challenge for an organization interested in facilitating the career development of its workforce concerns the use of teams for work production.

With the growing importance of working in teams, it becomes difficult to define an individual’s job in terms of its specific tasks and duties, or skill utilization, because any of these components are likely to change as a function of the team or project assignment.

When the specific skills to be utilized are poorly defined or changing, how is one to set individual developmental objectives for particular skill acquisition? A solution offered by Cianni and Wnuck is to focus on generic, yet important, collaborative skills that working on a team can provide.

[Optional] Steps to Create a Career Development Plan
Jim Rohn