Why bother with career management in organizations?
In today’s tough economic circumstances, organizations are seeking competitive advantage through the best use of their people more than ever before. In a time when the job market is uncertain many companies and business leaders may feel that career management is not a priority, seeing it as something that is personal to employees.
But the challenge is, that while organizations want to maximize employees performance, employees want to maximize their careers – and these goals are not one and the same.
Years of change, restructuring, outsourcing and down-sizing have caused people to take a more active role in managing their careers. Employees at all levels face career decisions on a daily basis: is my job safe? Should I stay or should I leave? Should I change careers? Should I pursue new projects? Should I go back to university? Should I start up on my own? And in a rapidly-changing work environment, the answers are not always obvious.
It is in the context of this economic reality that career management assumes more significance not less. Career management is about getting people to where they want to be and where the organization needs them to be. If employers want their people to be committed to the organization, engaged with their work and driven to perform they need to provide them with the tools and resources they need to manage their careers within the organization. It’s not just a “nice” thing to do - it’s a business imperative.
The potential benefit goes beyond turning around low employee satisfaction scores, reducing turnover or ensuring high engagement. It’s about performance. High-performance organizations require productivity, innovation and the right skills in the right place at the right time. To be responsive in their markets, organizations must line up their skilled employees to succeed in new roles as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
Career management provides the opportunity for an organization to align the aspirations of individual employees with current and future business needs, increasing the chances that the workforce will be willing, ready and able to move into the roles that the organization needs them to play.
The key reasons why companies should be paying attention to career management are:
Growing future leaders and specialists. Organizations need effective career management to grow the skills and experience the business needs now and in the future. Effective career conversations will also allow employees to be better informed and prepared for new roles and responsibilities so the transition into new roles will be smoother and more successful.
Resourcing & redeployment. In times of change and restructure, effective resourcing and redeployment of skills is more important than ever. Career management helps move people into roles where their skills are most suited and their aspirations are best met.
- Improving organizational performance. Research shows that providing career opportunities is a key practice that influences organizational performance.
- Improving employee engagement. Employee engagement is higher when the job fulfils the intrinsic needs and personal goals of employees. By helping employees manage their careers and providing opportunities for career development, the organization can ensure higher engagement & productivity.
- Attracting and retaining good employees. Good-quality employees will stay with an organization if offered challenge, empowerment and the chance to progress and develop. Although this may not seem a priority in the current economy, organizations need to prepare for the potential retention problems that are likely to become an issue as the economy improves and the market opens up.
Career management is about the future of the organization, and about the effective development and deployment of all employees. Get career management right and individuals will feel connected to their work, valued for their contribution, engaged with the organization, and motivated to contribute. Their willingness to apply and increase their capability will be enhanced. Manage careers well and the organization's capability to meet future demands will be enhanced by its ability to retain existing staff and to attract high quality applicants. This in turn unlocks the value chain which links personal success, organization performance and business results. Get career management wrong, and organizational capability is driven down as individuals exit either psychologically, becoming disengaged or de-motivated, or physically by moving to competitors.