Making career management a reality: A Guide for HR

To achieve a fully engaged workforce, employees must feel valued and that they have a future within their organisation. Employees need to know they have the opportunity to progress in their careers and to develop their knowledge, skills and experience.

HR has a major part to play in creating the right environment for career management, not least because high employee satisfaction is linked to better performance, productivity, retention and business results.

Communications and transparency are key factors for career progression in an organisation.

The right culture must underpin effective communication of the opportunities that are available to employees and break down organisational slides so that people can find out about all the opportunities available to them. Both employees and leaders need to operate in an environment where they can have open and constructive conversations about career progression.

A working environment that provides career opportunities include:

  1. Employees should feel free to express interest in new roles without upsetting their manager.
  2. Creating an environment that fosters career progression needs to start from the top.
  3. Executive level support of internal mobility needs to be visible and accepting of the best progression route for individual employees.
  4. Openness and clear communication between company executives and management.

HR managers need a clear cross-functional view of what is going on in the business and the profile and needs of each employee if they are to foster a culture of support for career progression.

Don’t get carried away!

REMEMBER employees in a multi-generational workforce may have different expectations of career progression, depending on their age and background. It is not always possible to generalise as to the expectations and aspirations of a person according to their generation, however, so best practice is to aim to achieve an understanding of each person’s individual skills and aims. That is as likely to be related to what is going on in that individual’s personal life at any one time as it is to be influenced by their age.

Best practices in supporting a culture of career management include:

  • Managing expectations – if your company is established and stable, there may be fewer opportunities for speedy advancement than there would be in a fast growing new business. If the company is growing fast, employees may have unrealistic expectations about the pace of their career development and may need support in recognising some of their development needs.
  • Start at the top – leaders need to be provided with a clear view of the opportunities across the organisation and be prepared to be open about them.
  • Demonstrate the value of career progression initiatives – to get operationally focused managers onside. If positions are filled more quickly and people are getting up to speed in roles efficiently that all translates into time and money saved.
  • Make an explicit commitment to support internal mobility – support that through training and development, self-reflection tools and coaching. Management should be prepared to enable job shadowing and encouraged to develop internal people who can offer 80% of what is needed for a role rather than take on external candidates who have prepared a CV to match a job spec 100% – but who will need training and development too. Capitalise on training and development within the organisation to promote internally where possible, saving time and money in recruiting and developing a new person.
  • Celebrate success – share news about internal job changes so that employees see that the business supports career progression.

The need to create a culture fostering career progression and greater employee engagement sits against a backdrop of a skills shortage that is expected to heighten as businesses build confidence and hire more people. HR has a vital role to play in nurturing career management and getting buy-in to its contribution to organisational success.

Article by: Dominique Jones – hrmagazine.co.uk