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Career development-programs

  1. 1. Has your organization seriously consideredName your career implementing a career development program?development If not, perhaps this is a good time to do so. The following description of several, widely-intervention used career development interventions and case studies can be used to stimulateJames J. Kirk discussion on various career developmentBridget Downey practices. From these discussions humanSteve Duckett and resource professionals can get a preliminary sense of felt career development needs in theirConnie Woody organization. They may even get an idea of what interventions might work and what interventions might fail. Career development can be described as a process for achieving specific employee and organization goals, including providing career information to employees, helping employeesThe authors identify advancement opportunities,James J. Kirk is Professor of Human Resource promoting job satisfaction, and improvingDevelopment, Bridget Downey is a Graduate Student, employee productivity (Bernes andSteve Duckett is a University Extension Agent, and Magnusson, 1996). Career developmentConnie Woody is a Graduate Student, all at Western activities can help employees identify andCarolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, USA. understand their vocational interests and strengths, plan and implement career goals,Keywords and develop themselves. They help employeesCareers, Career development, Employee development answer such questions as; ``Who am I?, ``How am I seen by my superiors?, ``WhatAbstract are my career alternatives and goals? and ``How can I achieve my goals?The first section of the article provides readers with an Career development can help companiesoverview of the most widely used career developmentinterventions including alternative career paths, attract the best employees, as well asassessment centers, career coaching/counseling, motivate, develop, and retain the best workerscross-training, flexitime, job enlargement, job enrichment, over time. The benefits of a carefully craftedjob rotation, job sharing, phased retirement, sabbaticals, organization career development system canand temporary assignments. Each intervention is described be a better employee-organization fit, a betterand accompanied with an example. The second section of employee-job fit, better communicationsthe article presents three case studies: When woodworkers between employees and managers andwont; How do we keep going from here? and Opportunity increased employee scarce resources. Each case is accompanied with a series Because individual employee careerof discussion questions and answers. Managers, trainers, development needs differ and organizationsand/or consultants can use the article and its case studies vary in the career development resourcesto facilitate discussions among employees regarding the available to them, organization careerpotential benefits and drawbacks of various careerdevelopment interventions. development systems make use of a variety of career development interventions (Schlossberg, 1997). Listed below are some ofElectronic access the most widely used interventions (see TableThe current issue and full text archive of this journal is I). Each intervention is briefly described andavailable at potential uses of the interventions are discussed. Finally, three case studies are offered. Readers are asked to identify theJournal of Workplace LearningVolume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . pp. 205±216 intervention(s) they believe to be the most# MCB University Press . ISSN 1366-5626 appropriate for resolving the case. 205
  2. 2. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216Table I Career development interventionsIntervention Description For use with employee groupAlternative career paths Examining skills and experience to transfer to a new career Passed over workers, burned out workers, career changers, mid-life employees, plateaued workersAssessment centers Activities or exercises used to identify employee potential Any, but specifically high potential employees, new workers, mid-life employees, possibly plateaued workersCareer coaching Helping people prepare to switch careers, or helping them Any, but specifically high potential employees, new workers, get ahead in their current career burned out workers, plateaued workersCareer pathing Outlining an individual career plan Any, but specifically high potential employeesCross-training Teaching workers several skills so that they may be Any, but specifically new workers, high potential employees, assigned a variety of tasks or positions semi-skilled workers, technical workersDual career tracks A career path that allows for success and rewards without Technical workers, creative workers, plateaued workers necessarily being an ``upward, or managerial, movementFlexitime Allowing employees to vary work schedules to better fit Pre-retirees, re-entering workers, dual career couples, in with personal lives mid-life employeesJob enlargement Increasing the number of tasks a worker performs Any, but specifically high potential employees, technical workers, semi-skilled workersJob enrichment Increasing the amount of responsibility and control a Any, but specifically high potential employees, burned out worker has over his or her position workers, technical workers, plateaued workersJob rotation Moving employees from job to job within an organization New workers, high potential employees, transferred workersJob sharing Two employees share one full-time job, including hours, Re-entering workers, dual career couples, mid-life salary and benefits employees, pre-retireesPhased retirement Gradual tapering of work schedules and responsibilities Pre-retirees until full retirement is reachedSabbaticals An extended period of leave Burned out workers, mid-life employees, pre-retireesTemporary assignments Special projects or special assignments Student workers (interns), pre-retirees, high potential employees, temporary workers, intrapreneurs, possibly career changers Career development interventions not lose a valued employee, and Janet does not lose any accrued benefits. Another Alternative career paths instance of creating an alternative career path One approach to alternative career pathing would be a situation where recent graduates involves ``incorporating the skills employees have followed their dream in their studies, but already have with what their hearts want to do. It can involve changing career and are having difficulty finding a job in their lifestyles for more meaningful and fulfilling specific field. For example, Sandi received a work arrangements (Rhodes, 1995). Creating doctorate in environmental science and public alternative career paths often involves policy, and is using her talents and skills at the incorporating other career development Smithsonian Institutions Division of Birds to interventions, such as flexitime or job prevent aviation mishaps (Jidoun, 1999). enrichment. Workers seeking an alternative career path may find themselves downshifting Assessment center activities or moving sideways (Hudson, 1997). Assessment centers are most often used to Alternative career paths should not be identify workers career potential, or for use in confused with dual career paths, which is job placement activities, and may be used described later. with either current or prospective employees. For example, Janet finds herself plateaued Assessment centers are most often used in in her current career and experiencing ``burn- conjunction with filling professional or out. By creating an alternative career path, managerial positions, although they may be Janet transfers current skills into a new career, used with other positions as well. one that in the past was considered only a Generally speaking, assessment centers do dream. Janet, along with her employer, may not constitute an office or physical space in an also decide that job enrichment or flextime organization. In most instances, a participant may be an option, so that the company does in an assessment center is simply asked to 206
  3. 3. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216complete several exercises aimed at you have helped him become a more satisfiedmeasuring higher-level management, employee, as well as retaining him as a valuedproblem-solving, and decision-making skills. worker for your organization.Several types of exercises may be used,including in-basket tests, leaderless discussion Career pathinggroups, and role-play situations. Career pathing, also called career tracking, is For example, Carla is being considered for a process of outlining an individual careera promotion in the accounting department of plan, usually within an organization. Careerher company. The promotion would include pathing is most often used as a part ofsupervising six members of the accounting management training and development,staff. To partially assess Carlas ability as a although individuals may develop their ownmanager, she and three other candidates for career track, either alone, or in conjunctionthe position take part in an assessment center. with a career coach.The assessment includes an in-basket exercise Employees follow pre-determined stepson analyzing cash flow, and several role-plays along the career path to develop expertise indesigned to evaluate their effectiveness on managing different types of organizationalgiving feedback, praising, and disciplining situations (Solomon, 1995) and to reach theiremployees. career goal. Periodic checks evaluate progress, as well as determining what further training orCareer coaching/counseling experience is needed to move to the next step.Career coaching frequently involves helping Career pathing often uses several other careerindividuals prepare for a career change or development interventions as part of thehelping employees advance in their existing process. These include cross-training, jobjobs (Nelson, 1999). By focusing on training rotation, job enrichment or enlargement, andand developing the skills of their workers, temporary assignments.firms can often build employee loyalty (Belk, For example, Jim accepted a position as a1999). While the career-coaching role in manager trainee at a well-established printingorganizations most often falls to the company immediately after graduation. Theimmediate supervisor, career coaching and printing company was planning to open a newcounseling has also become a career in itself. division, and was also at a point where several From the employees view, career coaching senior level managers would be retiring withinconsists of evaluating interests, values, work the next five years. As part of the careerstyles, and skills. From the organizations pathing program, Jim was to be rotatedview, it consists of matching employee talents between various departments in the companyswith organizational needs, recruiting and six national locations, spending two monthsretaining talent in the company, identifying at each location. During this period, Jimtraining and development needs, and assisting would be involved in the hands-on work ofemployees in specifying and locating new the company, as well as being involved inemployment opportunities within the managerial tasks and decision making. At theorganization (Hogan, 1998). end of the first year, if progress was made as For example, suppose you are a department planned, Jim would become one of the areamanager, and Joe comes to you inquiring managers of the new division. As other peopleabout other opportunities in the company. in the corporation moved into vacatedYou know Joe to be a very conscientious and positions, the plan was for Jim to move upintelligent worker, and want to make certain also.he does not look for opportunities elsewhere.Over the next few weeks, you discuss with Joe Cross-traininghis interests, education and skills, and how Cross-trained workers are taught skillsthey relate to various positions in your outside their current job assignment so theydepartment and others within the company. can be called upon to perform a variety ofYou identify a job area in a different tasks as the need arises. Many workers anddepartment which Joe feels better fits his supervisors find themselves cross-traininginterests and lifestyle, and together you make each other, just to make the day-to-day worka plan for some training Joe can pursue while life manageable. As a career developmentwaiting for a position to come open. While intervention, however, companies put intoyou are reluctant to lose Joe, you know that place a formal program of cross-training. 207
  4. 4. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216 Cross-training helps organizations to recommendations in a wide range of businessbalance workloads so everyone is busy, and areas, participate in high level decisions, andallows the company to respond quickly to act as mentors to other employees (Tuckeremployee absences. It also allows employees and Moravec, 1996). The interest in dual orand departments within an organization to multiple career tracks is likely to grow as moregain a better understanding of the ``big organizations do away with formalpicture, and to improve communications management titles and establish teamand relations. Employees who are cross- structures (Capland, 1997).trained are more valuable to the company, For example, take a look at Kevin, who hasand more marketable in the work world been working as an architect with the sameoverall (Terrel, 1997). large firm for the past eight years. There are To illustrate this intervention, consider the few ``upward possibilities, unless you are inaccounting department where Carla was one of the administrative areas, such asrecently promoted to manager. The accounting, or unless you become a partner.department handles a large volume of work, When Kevin began work, he was primarily anand each of the six employees in the assistant applying finishing technicaldepartment is assigned to a different function. specifications to projects (e.g. checkingThese functions are: daily data entry of blueprints). Gradually, he was able to letpayable invoices; daily customer billing; more of his creative talent show, and wasposting customer payments; posting vendor assigned as member of design teams andpayments and printing checks; and two became responsible for increasingly largerpeople who perform reviews and internal phases of various projects. Over the last twoaudits of the various journals and ledgers in years, Kevin has been project director on twothe department. Carla implements a different accounts, which involves initialcross-training plan within the department. design concept, more contact with the clientBecause slow or non-performance in the first and builder, and more control over thefour functions could create serious backlogs various phases of projects. Along with thisand cash flow problems if not kept up, Carla additional responsibility comes morebegins cross-training across these functions, recognition and respect in the firm, as well asand later includes the reviewing and auditing more money.functions. FlexitimeDual career tracks Flextime is one of the most popular and mostDual career tracks should not be confused widely known career developmentwith alternative career paths. Creating dual interventions. Flexitime gives employees thecareer paths involves preparing employees to opportunity to balance their work andsucceed and be rewarded without necessarily personal lives by restructuring the typicalbeing on a management or vertical workday to accommodate individualorganization career path. In other words, employee schedules (Arellano, 1999).``up is not considered the only way Arellano also reports (1999) that employersemployees can grow and advance within the who offer flexitime often report decreased usecompany (Schlossberg, 1997). The of paid leave, decreased tardiness andestablishment of dual or multiple career increased productivity. Other benefits for thetracks has proven to be an effective way to employer include a low-cost method ofretain and motivate valued employees providing personal time off and extending(Joinson, 1997). service hours without overtime pay (Brown, Management can be an attractive career 1998). This career development interventionalternative for many employees, but it is not is popular with employees who have extendedfor everyone. This may be particularly true for families or young children, who may be facingmany technical or creative workers. The ``burn-out, and those seeking furthernumber of people managed often education or pursuing second careers.distinguishes managerial levels, but under the Flexitime allows employees to set their owndual career track plan, individuals apply their schedules, within limitations set byexpertise (like managers) to tasks of greater management. For example, workers maycomplexity and impact within their specialty adjust their starting and ending times, but arefield. For example, they may make required to be at the office during 208
  5. 5. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216management specified core or peak hours. company, or more marketable in the jobWorking four ten-hour days is an example of a search.compressed workweek form of flexitime.Flexitime may also be combined with other Job enrichmentinterventions, such as job sharing, job Job enrichment involves increasing a workersrotation, and phased retirement. responsibility and control over his or her For example, Suzanne recently returned to work, and is also called ``vertical job loadingschool to complete her Masters degree. She (Parker, 1998). Job enrichment allows you tohad full support and encouragement from her expand your responsibilities or change youremployer, who agreed on the flexitime role to develop new competencies withoutschedule Suzanne proposed. Because the leaving your current position or thelocation of the school required an hour organization altogether (Managing Officecommute, Suzanne needed to leave work at Technology, 1996).3.00 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday to Job enrichment is also used as an effectiveattend a 4.00 p.m. class. To complete the motivational technique: According to this perspective, if a job provides a40-hour week, she arranged to start work one sense of responsibility, a sense of significancehour early on Tuesday and Thursday and to and information concerning performance, thework one hour later on Monday and employees will be internally motivated to highWednesday. levels of performance. The key to creating this situation is to enrich jobs so they provide five core characteristics: task variety, taskJob enlargement significance, task identity, autonomy andJob enlargement is defined as increasing the feedback (Whittington, 1998).number of tasks a worker performs, with all ofthe tasks at the same level of responsibility, Again consider Janet, our plateaued employeeand is also sometimes referred to as who is exploring alternative career paths. To``horizontal job loading (Parker, 1998). Be try to retain Janet and her expertise, hercareful not to confuse job enlargement with manager begins by allowing her to monitorjob enrichment, which follows. certain duties the department is assigned, and One such instance involves Lucy, a data asks her to participate in a focus group developed to advise management onentry person in the accounts payable improved communications betweendepartment, who learns quickly and departments. Later, Janet is asked to becomecompletes the majority of her tasks early. She an advisor, or short-term mentor, to newoften seemed bored, and even mentioned to employees in the department. Janet seems toher supervisor that she wished she had a little be more satisfied now, and is proud of hermore variety in the job. After reviewing her ``senior, to be sure it was accurate as well as fast,her supervisor assigned Lucy to help with the Job rotationcustomer billing, a function that had much Job rotation is the systematic movement ofmore volume and seemed to always be employees from job to job within anbehind. The intervention helped Lucy gain organization, as a way to achieve manymore skills and make better use of her time. different human resources objectives ± forThe department benefited also when the simply staffing jobs, for orienting newcustomer billing was sent out in a timely employees, for preventing job boredom, and,manner, reducing overtime and improving finally, for training employees and enhancingcash flow. their career development (Cheraskin and Job enlargement and job enrichment can Campion, 1996). Job rotation is often used byboth be used with plateaued workers or employers who place employees on a certainworkers who are experiencing burnout, and career path or track, usually for awith especially high achievers. These two management position, where they areinterventions may be used in conjunction with expected to perform a variety of duties, andeach other, or with other career development have a variety of skills and competencies.interventions such as job rotation and Job rotation is often confused with cross-temporary assignments. Both interventions training. While both interventions performprovide the employee with increased skills, essentially the same service of providingmaking him or her more valuable to the employees with a varied set of skills, job 209
  6. 6. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216rotation goes beyond this. Besides being used assistants, and both have been consideringas a means of management training, job working only part time to allow them morerotation can also be used as a form of job time to spend with their growing families.enrichment, by adding increased However, both are concerned that being partresponsibilities, increasing challenge, and time would only lessen the respect they havereducing boredom or burnout. earned for their positions, as well as having For example, when Jim, the new printing work pile up during the times they are off.division manager, was completing the job Their supervisor is especially concerned withrotation part of his training, he realized how this last aspect as well. As a solution, with themuch more interesting this made coming to approval of their manager, the two develop awork each day. Even though he may be job-sharing arrangement. Kim will workassigned a duty that he did not like at the Mondays, Tuesdays, and five hours onmoment, he knew that next week he would be Wednesdays. Tina will work five hours onrotating to a different task. Jim also realized Wednesday and all day on Thursdays andthat this rotation could be used as a valuable Fridays. They spend the overlapping hour ontraining and staff coverage tool. One of his Wednesday communicating status of projectsfirst big projects was setting up a regular job and duties. They will each receive half the payrotation system within each department at the and half the benefits of the position, and bothnew division. For example, in the pre-press retain their title as senior administrativearea, staff members rotated weekly between assistant. The company views them as onethe functions of design and layout, creating staff member.negatives, creating masters, and plate making.Boredom and absenteeism decreased, and Phased retirementjobs were covered when there was an absence. Organizations typically devote far more energy to recruiting and retraining than toJob sharing phasing out workers (Schlossberg, 1997).With job sharing, a full-time job is split Phased retirement is one intervention thatbetween two employees. The two employees workers and employers can use at the lattershare the duties and responsibilities, as well as end of the career cycle. During phasedthe salary and benefits of the job. These two retirement, workers gradually taper their workemployees must also work closely together, schedules until they reach full retirement.and with management, to co-ordinate hours, Other career development interventions suchduties, and communication among as flextime and job sharing are typicallythemselves and other departments in the incorporated into phased retirementorganization. Most often, job sharing is used arrangements. Retirees may work part timeby parents or adults caring for their parents, and serve as mentors or trainers to theirand affords employees a better balance successors. Benefits to employees include abetween their work and personal lives. greater sense of control over the transitionEmployees pursuing further education or a from work to retirement, lowering the risk ofsecond career may also use job sharing. economic insecurity, and more social support Job sharing offers advantages over part-time (Worklife Report, 1997). The employerwork in that employees are able to maintain benefits by retaining valued talent andtheir professional status as well as some of minimizing labor shortages (Duff, 1999).their job benefits. One example of the For example, consider Bob, who at age 64advantage over flexitime situations is that with is beginning to look forward to retirement.flexitime, parents may still require extended However, he also is concerned with ``lettingday care hours (Brown, 1998). Benefits to the go, and afraid he might be bored when heemployer include having ``two heads instead retires. And, after 17 years as part of theof one, retaining valued and experienced senior management team, Bob will leave aemployees, and down time due to vacation or huge void in the company operations. Bobssickness is reduced, because the job share company has a phased retirement plan, andpartners cover for each other. works with him to set up his new schedule. For example, Tina and Kim have both Bob will be involved in selecting his successor,recently returned from maternity leave. This and will work as coach and mentor full-timeis Tinas second child, and Kims third. Both for a while. After three months, he will scaleTina and Kim are upper level administrative back to three days per week, then eventually 210
  7. 7. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216to two days, and so on until he does not come assignment usually involves a single goal orinto the office at all. For another six months, target, or special set of circumstances. TheBob agrees to be available as a consultant and work project usually revolves around oneadvisor on an as needed basis. The entire certain aspect of the business, and has a finitephased retirement plan takes place over a two- term, or a definable beginning and end. Theyear period. current trend, at least in private industry, is to move toward project teams as the preferredSabbaticals management operating structure (Kanouse,A sabbatical is an extended leave from work. 1999).It can be paid or unpaid, and may or may not Returning again to Janet, the plateauedinclude a guarantee of position upon return, employee, her manager has another solutiondepending upon the sponsoring for increasing Janets job satisfaction. Janetorganization. Sabbaticals allow people time knows this department inside and out, andfor revitalization, and give the remaining has expertise and knowledge in other areas ofemployees an opportunity for new challenges the company as well. Because of herand growth (Semas, 1997). Sabbaticals are enthusiastic participation on the companysoften viewed as a benefit, rather than a career communication focus group, her managerdevelopment intervention. Employees and recommends her for a position on theemployers both need to realize the temporary task force created to implement theopportunities for both personal and career focus group suggestions. Janet feels not onlygrowth and development. They are often valued, but also that she is making aused as a retaining tool for valued employees, significant contribution to her career and theand as a way to relieve job burnout, and can future of the company.even be used as a ``trial period for pre-retirees. Summary Sabbaticals also promote teamwork because As organizations continue on into the newemployees must back each other up during century, more companies are realizing thetimes of extended absences. As for customers, advantages of retaining highly trained andcomfort levels rise. They know that more than experienced employees. Many have alreadyone person can help them. Professionals also realized that the cost of recruiting and trainingrealize humility in the recognition that the a new employee can far outweigh the costs ofwork world will and can function without some career development interventions. Thatthem, which in itself can lift many an alone could be reason to implement aimagined burden (Howell, 1999). comprehensive career development program. For example, Sams company allows an Overall employee satisfaction, dedication, andemployee a 12-week paid sabbatical after each loyalty to the company are added benefits. Asten years of employment. The first and last a final note, employees should remember thattwo weeks may be spent as the employee they can lobby for some of thesewishes. During the middle eight weeks of the interventions, and if their organization issabbatical, the employee is required to unwilling, some interventions, such asvolunteer at least 20 hours per week with an exploring alternative career paths, careerapproved charity organization. pathing and possibly a sabbatical, can be pursued by the employee on his or her ownTemporary assignments initiative.Temporary assignments are also known asproject work. Working at temporaryassignments or on special projects can help Case studiesemployees avoid burnout and can keepplateaued or high achieving employees Case 1. When woodworkers wontmotivated, giving them the chance to learn The Needmore Woodworking Shop is locatedmore and enhance their skills and experience. in the scenic mountains of Needmore, WV. ItMany times, temporary assignments (i.e. employs local woodcrafters to produce finely-project work) can be used by pre-retirees as a crafted art objects. The designs are uniquepart of their phased retirement plans. and their products are selling well at craft Project assignments are different from job shows across the country. The new Internetrotation in that the temporary/project site has also boosted business, which is now 211
  8. 8. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216the best it has ever been in Needmores ten- workers in the area. It is well-known that toyear history. keep your job at Needmore Woodworking, Needmore is in Hardy County, West the weekend party has to stop in time to get aVirginia, an impoverished area of the country good nights sleep Sunday night. From thewith a median family income of $20,745 and limited workforce in the area, Wright hasa population of just over 10,000. While most managed to assemble the best possible staff.people tend to live in Hardy County because Yet, he cannot seem to impress upon themthey are born there, a few people have the need to be at work when big deadlinesimmigrated to Hardy County from the approach. Most staff members average onlyWashington DC area, drawn by the four days a week on the job.spectacular beauty and simple lifestyle of thearea. Less than 20 per cent of people over the Discussion questionsage of 25 have any education beyond high (1) Which CD intervention could Wright use toschool, with 45 per cent not having a high motivate his existing staff so that they will be moreschool diploma. The skilled labor pool is dedicated to showing up for work, and how?limited. Most of the woodworking shops staff Flexitime would be an excellent solution towas trained on the job to perform the Wrights problems. This could take the formnecessary job functions. of varied start and end work times or A position at Needmore Woodworking is compressed workweeks. This would allowconsidered an extremely good job in the area. employees time to take care of personalSalaries, benefits, and working conditions business, while Wright still has staff availablecompare favorably with those at other local to meet the deadlines.businesses. As an added plus, the commute ismanageable, a short distance on US Highway (2) Is Wright expecting too much from his staff?55, which is passable in all but the worst Why, or why not?weather conditions. An unusual aspect of the No, he is not expecting too much from hisbusiness is that the shops owner, Wright staff. All employees should be made aware ofMasters, holds a more enlightened the importance of reliability when hired. Theymanagement view than most area employers. should also be made to realize that missedHe believes in knowing his employees and deadlines eventually lead to missedtheir needs and goals, providing continuous on new equipment and designs, andrecognizing the strengths and (3) Should Wright look for other staff, perhapsaccomplishments of his staff. importing them from the Washington DC area? Despite his nurturing qualities, Wright Why, or why not?often finds himself frustrated by the staffs No. If he imports staff, he runs the risk oflack of dedication to the business. It seems driving up his labor cost, and alienating thethat, among the Needmore Woodworking community he has worked so hard to becomestaff, its ``always something. Either Billy, the a part of. At the very least, bringing in staffcut man, has to take his wife (who doesnt from outside the area should be a last to the clinic to see about her back (4) What other CD interventions could be used toproblems or Bobby, the sander, has to spend reorganize or redesign the jobs to improve thethree days rebuilding the transmission on his reliability of the staff?pickup and cannot get to work. Even Betty, Cross-training and job sharing would also bethe bookkeeper, is frequently out because her good solutions. Cross-training would allowgrandma needs help on her ``bad days. While the work to be done in case of an absence, andit is true that one of the reasons people love job sharing would allow all positions to bethe area is its relaxed culture, there are covered, while employing more of thedeadlines to be met. When a shipment of available work force, a positive image boxes needs to be in Maryland by thenext weekend for the annual Sugarloaf Craft (5) Is this problem unique to remote,Festival, no money is made if it arrives after impoverished areas, or is it more widespread?the show. Unfortunately, it is more widespread and not On the job, Wrights staff is a hard-working, unique to remote and rural areas. Employersconscientious group. He has selected them can reduce the negative impact of thesebecause they are among the most reliable problems by being more flexible in their 212
  9. 9. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216scheduling, and allowing the use of modern the manufacturing or distributor side, in bothCD interventions. sales and customer service. The role of general operations managementCase 2. How do we keep going from here? fell to Constance. This role included supportIndustrial Forms & Labels, Inc. (IFL) is a staff supervision, software systemsmall, independently-owned distributor of administration and training, managingcustom produced business forms, labels, and customer promotions and events, occasionallyrelated products such as barcoding supplies assisting the owners wife with variousand ribbons. The owner and president, Dave bookkeeping duties, as well as implementingOlivetti, began the business in 1971 with his the human resource functions in the growingwife, after spending eight years as a sales company.person with a regional, direct selling printer of Until three years ago, the company did notsimilar items. IFL is now WNCs oldest and have much success with the full-time saleslargest independent distributor of business representatives hired. Most were impatientforms, labels and related products. with the amount of time required to develop Independent distributors in this industry long-standing accounts in the industry, andserve as middlemen and liaisons between end- expected quick sales and commissions. Theusers of products and the manufacturers of latest salesperson was hired in 1996. Matthewthose items. Unlike the large, nationally Guttridge was a ``right-sized, high-levelowned direct-selling companies, the purchasing manager from one of IFLs largestindependent distributor has a choice of which customers. Matthew brought 25 years ofcompany manufactures the products they sell. business expertise and contacts to IFL, andService to the customer soon became the was not just interested in making a fast dollar. Because of the rapid growth of the company,major selling point of IFL. but lack of full-time salespeople, the As Dave Olivetti developed his relationship maintenance of many ``house accounts fell toand influence with contacts and resources on the only other long-term employee available ±the manufacturing end, his reputation for a Constance Woodbury. Needless to say,high level of service to customers naturally Constance now has a job that has been ``over-grew. It soon became known that IFL could enlarged.get an order priced, produced and delivered Dave Olivetti realizes what is about toin less time than those larger national happen, so an additional inside sales supportcompanies took to just prepare the job quote. person is hired. This person also has As the company grew, as well as Daves considerable experience in the industry from afamily, Anita Jolsen was hired as an office- customer service position at a manufacturingadministrative assistant in 1981. Her duties plant. A full time bookkeeper that also hasincluded not only administrative tasks, such experience in HR functions is also customer billing, but also internal customer These two employees take away much of theservice. She soon became more of an inside overload from Constance. She is now left withsalesperson, and these customer contacts the more manageable duties of maintainingoften left the administrative duties behind. A ``house accounts, customer promotions,new staff member was hired, Constance including the company newsletter, andWoodbury, who continued the dual job computer network maintenance and training.descriptions of administrative assistant and The problem now remains in the salescustomer service, while Anita became the department. Anita and Matthew have broughtcompanys first full-time outside sales many new and large accounts to the company,representative, other than the owner. making the need for the additional people As the company continued to grow, several mentioned earlier not only necessary, butoutside salespeople and inside customer possible. However, both Anita and Matthewservice people were hired. The majority of the are over 60 years old. Both are lookingcurrent staff has been hired since 1993, and towards retirement in the next five years. Bothnow includes four inside sales support salespeople currently find it very hard to ``letpersons, an administrative assistant, and a go of some of the responsibility involvingwarehouse/shipping and receiving person. All ``their babies. Dave, at age 55, has alreadybut one of the inside sales support persons begun a semi-retirement, remaining ashave backgrounds in this industry, either from support and advisor only, and focusing on 213
  10. 10. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216financial management of the company. He (4) Why do you think Anita and Matthew arehas no children who are of age or interested in finding it hard to let go of some of their duties andtaking on any part of the business. Constance responsibilities?has made it known to Dave that she is not This is not just a money question. These areinterested in a full-time sales position, and in accounts that each person has spent yearsfact is pursuing further education in another developing, and they have even forged somefield. personal friendships along with the professional ones. There will naturally beDiscussion questions some emotional ties. This, plus the normal(1) What career development/career management transition from full-time work to retirement,intervention would be most helpful to this is never an easy one, and requires muchcompany? support on the part of co-workers.Phased retirement would allow the retiring (5) What is the best way to make Anita andsales people to gradually turn over accounts, Matthew feel more comfortable with this process?train new or existing personnel on the . If they want to retire, this is a much betterparticulars of those accounts, and also way than simply cutting ties with only aallow customers the comfort of a gradual months notice.change. . Even if their successors are not chosen(2) What is the best way to implement phased from the current customer service people,retirement in this situation? Should the these people will likely still be there toimplementation be different for Anita than for support the accounts. They are as familiarMatthew? with the technical details and ``nuts andIt should be determined first who will be bolts of the accounts as the salespeople,taking the place of the salespeople, whether and will be the customers tie to thethey come from existing inside sales support retiring salesperson and the company.personnel, or from outside hiring. Given the . They will be involved in turning overcompanys history with sales personnel, and ``their babies, and can watch and supervise and mentor the newthe experience of existing customer service relationship.personnel, the new people will most likely . Anita and Matthew need to be assuredcome from inside. An agreed upon time-line that their contribution to the companybetween Dave Olivetti and each salesperson will not be forgotten.should be set. Once implemented, the . No one says the personal relationshipsphased retirement should cover no less than have to end, just because the professionalone year. It should begin with smaller one does.accounts, and gradually grow into the largeraccounts. (6) What about Dave? After coming to terms Anita and Matthew may decide on different with the sales department dilemma, where shouldtime-lines, and this will be the main factor, his next focus be?along with the size and number of accounts Daves next focus should be on another formeach person has to deal with, in determining of succession planning. He needs to come tothe difference between each phased terms with what is going to happen in ten toretirement plan. 15 years when he is ready to completely retire. A few of his options are: one of his children(3) What are some of the steps that need to be may have a change of interest and decide totaken to ensure that the phased retirement plan is join the family business; he can searchsuccessful? elsewhere in the family for a successor; he canIn advance, all parties involved should be look at the option of selling the company; orincluded in any planning sessions. This he can plan on making some of the employeeswould include Anita or Matthew, Dave partners and have a management team inOlivetti, and the successor. All compensation place and ready to go when he retires.plans must be agreed to up front. Anyquestions regarding the addition of new Case 3. Opportunity in scarce resourcescustomer service people should be addressed Tom Harris is an agriculture agent with theif the successors come from inside the North Carolina Cooperative Extensioncompany. Service in Adams County. He has been with 214
  11. 11. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216the organization for three years and his areas county. Owing to the small size andof responsibility include livestock, row crops, population of Cobb County, the countypesticides, and community resource commissioners are reluctant to fund a full-development (CRD). He is a hard worker and time agriculture position there. Eric is thereally loves the agricultural side of his job, but only person on his staff with agriculturehe is not as enthusiastic about the community training, and he is constantly pressed for time,resource development aspect of the job. since he must do the agriculture programming Tom is excellent in designing and working in addition to the administrative tasks for hiswith agriculture programs, but he has to be county. The amount of work to beprodded by his supervisor to do the accomplished is too great for one position,community resource development work. This but the commissioners do not feel that there iswork involves meetings, seminars, and enough agriculture industry in the county toworking with volunteers to help solve local fund another full-time position, and Ericcommunity problems, and requires a great cannot get approval to hire a part-time of diplomacy and networking. Tom feels This situation is causing public relationsthat this part of his job involves too much problems for Eric, since the local farmers dobaby-sitting of the volunteers, and that the not feel that they are getting enough responsegroups he works with seldom accomplish to their needs, while Eric is also constantlymore than talking about problems and behind in completing the administrative workplanting a few shrubs to beautify the accomplished because he is attempting tocommunity. Tom does not see how this work keep his farm clientele happy. Eric wonders ifhas any benefit for the community, and he the states new program of hiring cross-countyonly does the absolutely essential work in this agents could help him. He is planning to bringpart of his job. One of Toms favorite lines is up his problem at the next western district``this would be a great job if only I could get county directors meeting.rid of the CRD responsibility. Jennifer is the Adams County extension Discussion questionsdirector, which makes her Toms immediate (1) Which CD intervention will successfullysupervisor. She came to her current position resolve this case and why?from the community development area of A form of job enlargement could work in thisextension. Jennifer is very pleased with Toms case. Jennifer and Eric could share Tomswork in general, but she is beginning to be position for the agriculture work, and Jenniferconcerned with his lack of enthusiasm for could split the CRD responsibility betweencommunity development work. Some of the the other agents, or Jennifer could take it onvolunteers she worked with in the past have herself, which she has shown interest in.mentioned to her that they have a hard timetracking Tom down when they need help, and (2) Is there another CD intervention, or any typehis indifference to the program is beginning to intervention, that can solve the issues in this case?cause discontent among that clientele. Mentoring or coaching might also be useful inJennifer has spoken with Tom on several this situation. If Tom could be given a modeloccasions about the importance of to follow, he might realize the value of hiscommunity development work, but her CRD responsibilities.comments seem to fall on deaf ears. Jennifer (3) Should Tom be fired in this situation?does not want to lose Tom as an employee, No, such a drastic step is not warranted. Tomsince the agriculture clients really like his should be utilized in the area of agriculture forwork, but she cannot allow the current both counties, which will solve two problemsituation to continue. She has thought of situations, and make a more satisfiedtaking back the CRD work herself, since it employee.helps build rapport with community leaders,which she needs as a director, but the county (4) What role should networking play in thiscommissioners are not willing to fund Toms case?position as a solely agricultural job. Jennifer and Eric should utilize networking in Eric Nelson is a county extension director their directors meetings to explore a commonin Cobb County, which borders Adams solution to both their problems. Talking withCounty. He is currently having difficulty in each other and their peers in the bi-monthlyaccomplishing the agriculture work in his directors meetings could help them come to a 215
  12. 12. Name your career development intervention Journal of Workplace Learning James J. Kirk, Bridget Downey, Steve Duckett and Connie Woody Volume 12 . Number 5 . 2000 . 205±216viable solution, or gain new insight into their Howell, J. (1999), ``O sweet sabbatical, Wenatcheeproblems from other directors that may Business Journal, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. b8-b9.previously have encountered the same type of Hudson, F. (1997), ``Career plateau transitions in midlife,situation. and how to manage them, Career Transitions in Turbulent Times, ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling(5) Will upper management involvement be and Student Services, Greensboro, NC, pp. 257-66.needed to solve this case? If yes, what should that Online at be? Jidoun, G. (1999), ``Feather figure, Working Woman,Yes, upper management will need to be October, p. 16.involved. Their role will be supporting the Joinson, C. (1997), ``Multiple career paths help retaininnovative solutions that Jennifer and Eric talent, HR Magazine, Vol. 42 No. 10, pp. 59-64. Kanouse, D. (1999), ``Make temporary assignments work,may come up with. They may also be needed Federal Times, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. help present the case to the county Managing Office Technology (1996), ``Sideways bound:commissioners, who usually want to deal with success doesnt always flow up, Vol. 41 No. 11,top people in an organization, and whose pp. 25-30.approval is needed for the budgeting process. Nelson, F. (1999), ``Career coaches busy as more switch jobs, Denver Business Journal, Vol. 50 No. 49, pp. 15-16.References Parker, S.K. (1998), ``Enhancing role breadth self-efficacy: the roles of job enrichment and other organizationalArellano, K. (1999), ``Work vs. family, Denver Business interventions, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal, Vol. 50 No. 46, pp. 19a-20a. Vol. 83 No. 6, pp. 835-52.Belk, J. (1999), ``Employment firms moving to provide Rhodes, A. (1995), ``Follow your heart, American Fitness, clients one-stop shop, San Antonio Business Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 48-52. Journal, Vol. 13 No. 12, pp. 17-18. Schlossberg, N. (1997), ``A model of worklife transitions,Bernes, K. and Magnusson, K. (1996), ``A description of Career Transitions in Turbulent Times, ERIC career development services within Canadian Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services, organizations, Journal of Counseling & Development, Vol. 76 No. 6, pp. 569-75. Greensboro, NC, pp. 93-104. Available online atBrown, B. (1998), ``Part-time work and other flexible options, ERIC Digest No. 192, ERIC Clearinghouse Semas, J. (1997), ``Taking off from the hi-tech grind, on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, HR Magazine, Vol. 42 No. 9, pp. 122-8. Columbus, OH. Solomon, C. (1995), ``Navigating your search for globalCapland, W. (1997), ``Plight of high-tech execs: should I be talent, Personnel Journal, Vol. 74 No. 5, pp. 94-9. a manager?, Boston Business Journal, Vol. 17 Terrel, P. (1997), ``Employee cross-raining initiatives, No. 24, pp. 9-10. <>Cheraskin, L. and Campion, M. (1996), ``Study clarifies Tucker, R. and Moravec, M. (1996), ``Dual career path plan job-rotation benefits, Personnel Journal, Vol. 75 rapidly gaining favor, Washington Business No. 11, pp. 31-6. Journal, Vol. 14 No. 47, pp. 26-7.Duff, S. (1999), ``Poll: more plan sponsors tapping phased Whittington, J. (1998), ``The same motivational style retirement approach, Employee Benefit News, Vol. 13 No. 8, pp. 50-1. cannot be used for all employees, Business Press,Hogan, J. (1998), ``Helping employees to grow key to a Vol. 10 No. 50, pp. 27-8. companys vitality, Kansas City Business Journal, Worklife Report (1997), ``Health risks of retirement, Vol. 16 No. 52, pp. 25-6. Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 2-3. 216