Supporting Employees' Career Development

Article excerpt

"Where do you see yourself in five years?"

This "$10,000 question," designed to reveal a candidate's ambitions and goals, has become standard in most job interviews.

And yet, once the hiring process is completed, how many companies follow up with a formal program of employee career development? This is the million-dollar question, because candidates gravitate to growth opportunities.

In today's tight labor market, companies that help employees plan for and achieve professional advancement will have greater success with recruitment and retention.

In a recent survey conducted by Robert Half International, 82 percent of workers polled believe people who develop a career plan are more successful than those who don't. But surprisingly, less than 25 percent of those surveyed actually write down their career goals.

Obviously, there's an opportunity here for employers to help staff turn their good intentions into action plans. As a manager, you can take the lead by adopting these techniques.

* Encourage planning from the beginning.

At the orientation session, discuss the importance of developing a career plan. Reinforce your company's commitment to advancement from within -- through training programs and other ways your firm helps employees achieve their goals. Recommend that staff record career goals and create a timeline for achieving them.

By working with employees to plan their careers, you develop future leaders. They will be well-prepared and more likely to stay with your company if they know there are established paths for growth and resources to help them achieve their objectives.

* Hold a workshop.

If your firm has the resources, an in-house workshop on career planning is an excellent resource for both new employees and those who have been at the company for years. Attendees can learn about professional development, draft their own objectives and then brainstorm about the best ways to achieve goals.

Be sure to follow up on the most feasible suggestions that are discussed. For example, if numerous employees say they want to upgrade their technical skills, and someone mentions an outstanding training program she attended, explore the possibility of bringing the trainer on site for a series of seminars.

* Provide examples.

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