15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 159 Chapter 15 Career Development: Encompassing All Employees Beverly Kaye, Ph.D.,Founder and CEO Joyce Cohen, Senior Consultant Beverly Crowell, Senior Consultant Career Systems International T HERE’S A NEW NORMAL THAT IS DEMANDED OF CAREER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS AND practices. It is required alongside reorganizations, downsizing, budget con- straints, and flattening levels of leadership. The new normal suggests that career development must occur right here, right now, and right where you are. Consider that old saying, “There’s no sense in waiting for your ship to come in if you haven’t sent one out.” Companies who are excelling in the war on talent are getting their ships out and getting them out fast—at the helm, the employee. It’s time to declutter past thinking about career development. In business envi- ronments where employees and leaders are operating faster and leaner, career devel- opment must be flexible and self-powered by the employee no matter where they are or what they are doing. The new attitude about career development places responsi- bility squarely on the employee. It may even mean that succession plans for a few are replaced with career growth plans that build on the strengths of all employees. It promotes the belief that all employees must learn and grow, not just those on the high-potential list. Opportunities are readily present to do so if, and only if, the organization can truly support an “up is no longer the only way” philosophy. 159
15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 160 160 Part I. Creating a Talent Management Program for Organization Excellence World-class businesses who embrace this new attitude are building wider and deeper bench strength, enhancing employer brand, improving workforce flexibility and resilience, developing employee self-advocacy and career accountability, engaging and retaining key talent, and increasing employee productivity. The Changing Face of Career Development The nature of work today is very different from what it was several years ago. Because of the unsettling economy, HR departments are charged with filling the talent pipeline, with limited or no budget, fewer resources, and less time to execute. At the same time, they are tracking regrettable losses, satisfaction indicators, and individual develop- ment plan (IDP) progress. Business leaders and busy managers are turning to HR for quick answers and even faster solutions to talent management challenges as they are being held accountable for growing the talent in their departments. They must put practices into place that align the talent of an organization with the strategic direction of the business. When careers are aligned with core business principles, employees take on greater self-accountability for career, and connections foster strength across the organization. On the organizational level, HR leaders look to identify and align with the organi- zational mission and strategy, evaluate organizational change and how it impacts the workforce, and track and monitor emerging trends and understand their impact on both the industry and careers within the organization. In addition, they will need to educate the workforce to take responsibility for their own careers and be willing to coach one another. Within HR there is a need to respond in a timely manner to evitable change as it occurs, ask for opinions, value and respect diverse points of view, create a brand reputation, market to wider career audiences, and develop enrichment options that support career choices. It also demands the creation of an infrastructure that supports self-motivated career development and growth plans. A proactive and accountable career development process, when partnered with succession planning, can meet these challenges swiftly and head-on. To work, it requires leadership buy-in, systems and tools that support this model, managers equipped to career coach, and employees willing to take ownership for their careers as well as their own job satisfaction. Ultimately, a development-minded strategy is needed that • Holds employees accountable for personal development. • Wins confidence of customers, community, and suppliers. • Gains commitment of internal and remote workforce. • Propels teams forward with internal worker support and buy-in. • Uses power of generational teams to work together as partners in unprecedented ways. • Optimizes diverse skills, talents, and age differentials. • Gathers new information and remains open to new options, ideas, and strategies.
15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 161 Career Development: Encompassing All Employees 161 The Tie That Binds: Career Development Links to Succession Planning Succession plans have been the mainstay for organizations for many years as the way to develop the leadership pipeline and to ensure a healthy talent management pro- gram. Career development was often reserved for the high-potential employee on the fast track. We believe a development message is critical for a wider array of workers. Career growth plans (CGP) are needed to enhance the traditional succession plan. Change in today’s work structure calls for self-advocacy on the part of all employees. The CGP could become part of the hiring process, describe a variety of paths to devel- opment, emphasize the need to focus on mastery of the current job, build relevant skill sets, and value contributions from all generational groups. A CGP could motivate all employees to learn from their experiences and daily work, while expanding reach and network, both social and professional. All employees must learn to build their own individualized career plan. Each person creates a master plan with the help of managers and mentors and their own peers to promote the learning and personal development areas that needs to be addressed. This CGP continues to latter stages of one’s career within an organization where experienced employees focus on “what’s next,” legacy development, mentor- ing younger workers, sharing expertise, and working on projects aligned to their experience and skills. Each organization must grapple with how to create a healthy tie between the busi- ness strategy and the ever-changing workforce. Along with the strong need for flexi- ble policies and procedures, there is an immediate need for upgrades in skills. During one’s tenure, from on-boarding all the way through phased retirement, it is important to balance individual goals with the business needs of an organization. New language, such as “zigzagging” career moves or lattice instead of ladders is needed to replace terms that have lost their meaning. An example of such verbiage is the search for a new word to replace retirement, the last phase of the career contin- uum. Many words have been recommended to take its place, such as refirement, rewirement, and protirement, but none have caught on to date. That debate still con- tinues after a decade of realizing that a new paradigm has emerged without much clear direction. Other gray areas and questions emerge. What about those not included in a suc- cession plan? How can career development be made viable and important to all? How will the organization respond to the younger generation who is asking about their development? How can traditional succession plans integrate harmoniously with emerging career growth plans? A New Model for Career Development Career development and career growth plans have evolved to be a business impera- tive that can directly impact the success of any organization. Talent demands more
15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 162 162 Part I. Creating a Talent Management Program for Organization Excellence than a job. They demand a satisfying career that meets professional, personal, and emotional needs. The hand-holding days are long gone. Multiple jobs are the norm with constant re-skilling and networking to stay attuned to business needs. Consider Ben and Janis who are self-motivated and successfully managing their careers. Ben is mar- ried, 42, with three children, completed a bachelor’s degree through the armed forces ROTC program, has held six jobs and is working full-time as a computer technician, and is taking courses in pursuit of a master’s degree in organizational management through an accelerated adult learning program online. He has already conducted numerous informational interviews and is focusing on a next career move as an IT business partner liaison (drawing on his education, current interests, and previous IT expertise). He is also beginning to think about his next career after he retires from this current line of work. A combination of a career development plan, flex time at work, distance education, and ROTC is making Ben’s career dreams possible. Janis, on the other hand, at age 32, has already navigated four different careers in education, library science, and early childhood development. She is job-sharing a position with a colleague to spend more time with her young child and her elderly widowed father, who lives with them. Each unique situation can be accommodated by providing work/life balance, strong career fit, appropriate education, and flexible hours. Both Ben and Janis say their career choices and decisions have been driven by developing a portfolio of transferable skills and competencies, concrete career planning, personal life circum- stances, and taking advantage of the flexibility of today’s workplace and educa- tional options. Research suggests that challenging work, flexibility, career development, and the opportunity to learn and grow are some top reasons employees choose to stay, and stay engaged, in an organization. It doesn’t happen by accident. Worker’s attitudes and expectations have changed—permanently. What Keeps Them? These factors influence job satisfaction and commitment: Exciting, challenging, and meaningful work Supportive manager, great boss Being recognized, valued, and respected Career growth, learning, and development Flexible work environment Job security and stability Fair pay Job location
15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 163 Career Development: Encompassing All Employees 163 Working with great coworkers or clients Pride in the organization, mission, or product Fun, enjoyable work environment Good benefits Loyalty to my coworkers or boss Source: Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay. Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans; 4th edition. (January 1, 2008). Organizations must think beyond the traditional models of career and expand their thinking to an overall career development and growth strategy that focuses on three critical groups: the organization, the manager, and the employee. To begin, ask lots of questions. Investigate what’s happening in your organization to discover the truth about your development culture. The Organization Organizations are continually asked to reinvent themselves and are forced to juggle priorities that shift regularly. The result is a leaner organization with fewer resources, fast-paced work, expanded spans of control, and a new normal at work that demands flexibility and the ability to thrive when ambiguity and change are the order of the day. To remain competitive in business and attract top talent, an organization must provide the systems and structure that support the career development needs across all levels. Framing responses to the questions below will be an important first step to addressing the development of systems and structures that support career develop- ment needs. • How can leaders and managers who work within the organization guarantee that the business strategy will work, the day-to-day tasks are updated and redesigned, and the workforce still remain engaged? • How do we respond to the constant change in business today? • What does a career look like in our organization today? • Do our systems and processes support career development and succession plan- ning for the next generation? • How do we measure results and does our career development process support those results? • How do we establish a foundation for employees to grow in areas that matter across the life continuum of the organization and the employee? The Manager While the company provides the systems and tools for career development, the devel- opment-minded manager provides the support and guidance. Most managers are
15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 164 164 Part I. Creating a Talent Management Program for Organization Excellence trained in performance management, and some believe performance management and career development are the same. They’re not. Managers must understand that build- ing talent for tomorrow requires commitment to career development today and at every level. Development-minded managers create and implement developmental assignments, encourage risk taking, set stretch goals, and tap unused resources. They provide a professional safety net so that employees can experiment and learn on the job. They continually ask themselves some key questions: • How do I serve as a career advocate for my employees? • How often do I talk with my employees about their career goals and what mat- ters most to them? • Do I provide candid and frequent feedback to my employees about what they need to do to grow in their careers? • Do I link employees to the resources and information they need in support of their careers? • Do I take career growth plans seriously? What amount of time do I devote to planning? • Do I provide information to employees about the future of the organization and look for opportunities for employees? • Do I stay current and future focused in the above concerns for me and my career as well as the careers of my direct reports? • What am I reading and discussing with colleagues to ensure the above? The Employee No longer can employees wait for career development to happen to them or for them. To be effective, employees must begin to manage their careers by knowing themselves, knowing what’s out there, knowing what others think of them, and knowing whom to ask for help. They pave the way by taking charge of their careers: developing on the job, ensuring that their work has heart, and networking throughout the organization to engage with others and energize daily work. There are five critical areas that demand exploration by the individual: Change. What trends are impacting my organization and how can I capitalize on this reality to benefit my career? How will I hold myself accountable? Specifically, what am I willing to do? Interests. How would I describe my current values, skills, and interests on the job? How do I use them regularly at work? How do I ensure that I’ll continue to learn, grow, and develop on the job? Reputation. I received a 360-degree report about my performance/work style and said, “They got my number!” What were the main messages of my strengths and weaknesses? How will I ensure ongoing performance feedback? Options. If I could do any job within the organization, what would I like to do and why? How can I explore multiple growth avenues? Do I view change as an opportunity?
15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 165 Career Development: Encompassing All Employees 165 Actions. What do I want to be doing in one or three years and what’s my plan to get there? What actions will I put in place to ensure that I put myself in position to turn these dreams to reality? With whom can I talk about these issues and build a viable personal plan? An Important HR Role Given the environment of constant change and uncertainty, one thing is for certain: HR leaders must align with the vision of the organization by serving as strategic partners who can integrate business-driven solutions around a robust career development program. This means they must take stock of their existing career development processes to integrate new thinking, ignite new strategies and behav- iors, and infuse it into the culture of the organization. They must examine key ques- tions about policies, systems, and structures that are designed to support career development in the organization. The list of questions that follows is just some of the challenges for HR professionals to consider and implement as new processes take shape. How are our policies, systems, and structures • Aligned with development choices? • Focused on future directions? • Driving new positive behaviors? • Creating partnerships that energize and engage while fulfilling valued services/ products? • Investing in broad talents and determining where those talents can best be utilized internally? • Growing a new brand of worker who is fulfilled both personally and profes- sionally? • Building confident, cost-conscious risk-takers? • Ensuring respect and inclusivity across the workplace? • Providing opportunities for employees at all levels to learn, grow, and develop within the organization? Generational Diversity: Gifts of the Ages No matter the generation they represent, employees want work that provides satisfaction. Consider the generational group when developing career develop- ment and growth plans by valuing and utilizing the uniqueness of each. If atten- tion is provided across generational groups, organizations have a head start in embracing the new meaning of career, alignment to business strategy, self- accountability, connectedness, sustainability, and attention to a future-focused business.
15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 166 166 Part I. Creating a Talent Management Program for Organization Excellence MATURES (Ages 65 ) Savvy, experienced workers who want to use their expertise and be integral to the job. Include them in training (they’re often overlooked) where they can learn new technologies and emerging concepts. Involve this group fairly, investigate phased retirement options, and consider age-specific perks. BOOMERS (Ages 46 to 64) Boomers are confident careerists who are also natural subject matter experts, teach- ers, and mentors. They possess a strong work ethic. Help them explore new work options and utilize their talent, expertise, and skill sets on the job or specific special projects. Redesign their jobs to meet multiple life demands and encourage growth in place. GEN Xers, GAMERS (Ages 29 to 45) They are collaborative, value team approach, work/life balance, self-reliance, and applying new skills. They seek autonomy, love a challenge, and need opportunities to grow. Provide feedback on reputation and candor about how to leverage their entrepreneurial spirit. Want to win their hearts? Offer meaningful work, stake- holder status, food, and fun! GEN Y, GEN WHY, DIGITAL KIDS (Up to Age 28) These global, street-smart, green multi-taskers are driven by technology and social media such as blogging, twittering, absorbing 24/7 news, e-learning, and electronic gadgetry. They adapt easily, value learning, love working in teams, and thrive on being developed by experts. Ensure that learning, growth, group work, and devel- opment are high on their work agenda. The Opportunity Environment Opportunities for employees to learn, grow, and develop within any job is key to a suc- cessful strategy. For many years, opportunity was defined as a promotion. Now oppor- tunities can manifest themselves in many different ways—most specifically through enrichment in the current job and keeping an eye focused on emerging trends. These opportunities can be somewhat elusive to the untrained eye. Today, we operate in a new opportunity environment as organizations position themselves to embrace a culture of success. Career development is not for the chosen few, but for all. With that said, organizations may struggle to understand where all this development will happen. Understanding that each organization is an “opportunity marketplace” is a critical mind-set necessary to meet the learning and development needs of employees. The organizational culture must nurture all talent and educate managers to under- stand the needs inherent in the professional lives of their direct reports. By looking
15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 167 Career Development: Encompassing All Employees 167 wider and deeper for talent within internal ranks, organizations can develop a new understanding and sensitivity to backfilling jobs and promoting career ownership. How might an organization embrace this concept of an “opportunity marketplace?” Consider the following examples: (A) Communicate select issues downward in the organization typically discussed “at higher ranks.” Isn’t it time that more people seriously take on important internal problems? Encourage internal talent to turn those issues into opportu- nities and to think strategically and innovatively. (B) Redirect a portion of funds earmarked for high-potential development to chal- lenge and mobilize talent in the middle. Initiate competition, and embed reward/recognition in the stakes. (C) Coach managers to work with their talent and reward competitive innovative thinking aligned to an organization’s strategy, vision, mission, and purpose. (D) Unleash “innovation teams” across generational lines to take on real company issues. (E) Challenge employees to think about talent that will be needed in their “future” departments” to deliver the business strategy. Conduct a gap analysis, and redesign jobs with a focus on the future. As needed, update skills and retrain. (F) Who may retire in the near future? How will you ensure his or her knowledge is transferred and important intellectual capital doesn’t walk out the door? Or if it does, how will it be replenished internally and cost-effectively. Think of it this way: Who would you sorely miss if they didn’t come to work tomorrow morning? How will you capture that expertise and where should it reside? That’s costly, irreplaceable talent unless you start now. Generating Buy-In HR professionals readily understand and accept the importance of a development culture to drive talent to greater performance, higher levels of engagement, and job satisfaction. In a time when senior leadership and managers are focused on the bot- tom line or doing more with less, placing a priority on the career development of its people is often lost in the shuffle. Creating a strong business case, developing a mar- keting and communications strategy, and branding the career development effort early on will increase the probability of leadership buy-in and sustained support. Find a champion. Who in the ranks of senior leadership places a high priority on career development and actively models it in their organization? Creating a strong culture of development will require the resources and funding that only senior lead- ers can deliver. Develop a business case. What is your “burning platform?” Link to employee or culture surveys, take a look at turnover, tie talent to organization vision, link to busi- ness metrics, and identify the cost of doing nothing or maintaining status quo. Bottom line: Develop a case that demonstrates the return on investment for the leaders signing the check.
15_Berger 10/13/10 4:21 PM Page 168 168 Part I. Creating a Talent Management Program for Organization Excellence Know your key stakeholders and influencers. Talk with them often and keep them updated on the progress of your career development strategy. Ask their advice, seek their support, tailor your communications to their priorities, and encourage them to share the how and why with their teams. On the other side, know who in the organi- zation will seek to derail your efforts. Get them on board and get them on board early. Use employees to tell the story. Look inside the organization for employees who embody the culture of development in your organization. Demonstrate through videos, posters, e-mail, intranet, and reward “real” employees who have self-powered their career for success. Keep it simple. Busy managers and employees need career growth plans that inte- grate into existing systems and processes with minimal impact on time, the most valu- able resources today. Provide training to help master the how and sustain the learning though coaching, career action teams, career development resources, messaging, and communications. Keep the momentum going and commit to a long-term plan. The Challenge In this era of self-accountability, every organization must take a leadership role in devel- oping individual resiliency through a strategic priority on career development. There will be times of not knowing. Recession tested leaders must convey a message of soli- darity. In the midst of uncertainty, it is critical to reach out to all levels and work together to achieve deadlines and solutions. In developing a more robust career development process and ultimately transforming a culture, everyone is a stakeholder. So, here’s the challenge, “What step(s) will you take now to build career development and growth in your organization?” Organizations, managers and employees alike, want a career cul- ture where employees are in charge of their own destiny, feel more in control, and seek to do meaningful work. To make that happen, it will take new flexible career options, future-focused thinking, and professionals at all levels who are committed to their own learning. The time is now to launch—right here, right now, right where you are!