Magazine article Management Services

IPD Publication Urges Employers to Wise Up to Career Development

Magazine article Management Services

IPD Publication Urges Employers to Wise Up to Career Development

Article excerpt

The popular annual report statement that "our people are our main asset" is not being backed up by action in today's world of 'jobs for now' rather than `jobs for life', says a new study from the Institute of Personnel and Development.

Many organisations are forgetting about career development, expecting to poach talent from rivals or hire expert consultants on fixed-term contracts.

But such an approach, common at a time of tight budgets and permanent cost cutting, is short-sighted, argues Tricia Jackson, an experienced freelance consultant in training and personnel, in Career Development, the latest in the IPD's Good Practice series. The balance of power seems to have shifted even more towards the employer, she says. "Employees certainly seem to be working longer hours, with unwanted additional responsibilities, under more pressure to achieve stringent targets and with more limited prospects of promotion than before.

"Not surprisingly, the motivation and commitment of employees have been hard to sustain following major changes, especially where employees have not been offered development opportunities."

Access to organised career development programmes can go some way to make up for the lost promotion chances and can improve motivation and performance. Knowledge of employees' skills and aspirations also reduces the likelihood of ,square pegs in round holes'.

A prime example quoted is a potential solution to the problem of `plateaued managers', who have climbed to the highest level of responsibility they are ever likely to achieve.

"Recent developments such as shortened hierarchies and decentralised operations have meant that more, and younger, employees will arrive at career plateaux rather earlier than expected and regardless of their performance," she says. "What is needed is a change in attitudes and culture so that career bridges, lateral moves, project work, development roles and secondments are all viewed in a positive light as helpful to long-term career development. …

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