Can you afford not to have an in-house career programme for development?

Do you have or are you seriously considering implementing a career development programme? It was not long ago that the only person interested in your career development was you.  

No employee would have expected their bosses or managers to concern themselves about their career progression, all that managers were concerned about was ensuring that the job got done.  

However, the workforce of today is far more demanding and wants to know where this job will lead them, how long will it be before they are promoted etc.  

As we are all fully aware of the cost of identifying and hiring the required talent we obviously want to retain talent for as long as possible to avoid the expense of rehiring.  

Having an in house career development programme can be a very cost effective way of achieving this.  

Before we consider different options, let me outline what is meant by a career development programme and why we would encourage all organisations to incorporate one into its talent retention strategy.  

Basically, a career development programme is an organised approach used to match employee goals with the business needs of an organisation in support of workforce development initiatives.  

The main benefits of having a programme in place are to enhance each employee’s current job performance, enable individuals to take advantage of future job opportunities and to full fill organisations’ goals whilst creating a dynamic and effective workforce.  

The real beauty of such programmes are that they are not overly costly or time consuming to develop and once established are relatively straightforward to maintain.  

In addition, investing in employees’ development is also a good way to boost morale.  

There are many different development initiatives that have evolved over the years and you will need to consider many factors to decide which options might be right for your organisation /employee.  

Some of the more traditional programmes would include the following:  

Alternative career pathing allows us to incorporate the employee’s current skill set with what their hearts really want to do. This is highly effective when you have particularly loyal, dependable and productive employees who have a calling or hankering to pursue alternative career paths. So rather than allow the individual to exit the company, you allow for an alternative career path for them so that they may choose to remain working with you.  

Career pathing is the process of actually outlining an individual career plan. Traditionally this is used with Management training and development. During this process employees follow predetermined steps to develop expertise in managing different types of organisational situations and to reach career goals. Periodic checks may need to take place to see what training is required or if adjustments need to be made to the path. This can be a very useful tool when you are competing to attract particularly well qualified graduates or individuals to your management training programme. You will be able to easily and efficiently illustrate what career progression they can expect in the first few years with your organisation.  

Dual career pathing involves preparing employees to succeed and be rewarded without being on a vertical or management career path.  

In other words being promoted and moving up is not the only way employees can grow and advance. This can prove to be a very effective way to retain and motivate valued employees.  

Cross-training allows employees to acquire skills and experience that is outside their job description.  

Many of us find that we do this to manage the day to day workload but if conducted in a planned and detailed manner a formal cross training plan can allow employees to understand the “big picture” and significantly improve communications and relations. Employees who are cross trained can prove to be more valuable to the organisation and significantly assist them to balance their workloads and respond quickly to business challenges such as employee absences.  

Career coaching would normally include assisting employees prepare for a career change or advancement in their existing jobs. As an employer you look at matching employee talents with organisational needs and assisting employees to identify and move into new employment opportunities within the organisation. This can be particularly effective as the coaching relationship should focus on input from the employee which tends to result in greater buy-in and can help boost morale.  

Job rotation involves a systematic movement of employees from job to job within the organisation. This may be done for many reasons including avoiding job boredom, orientating new employees, filling job vacancies and training new employees. Job rotation on a factory floor or production line will allow employees to try slightly varying roles within a department. Therefore avoiding feelings of tediousness and monotony which may eventually lead to poor performance or exiting the company.  

Adopting one of the above or a version of the above initiatives will, in the medium term, save time and money. Data and information will be readily available to share with existing or potential employees and in turn managing employee expectations will be simpler. But the ultimate reward of a defined in house career planning programme will be the positive impact on the bottom line.  

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