Every manager wants a more engaged and productive workforce. To achieve it we need workplace cultures that empower and engage employees – offering career management processes and initiatives.

 Organisations that help employees to manage their careers tend to be more successful at retaining the most talented of their employees; and, they are also likely to have a better track record on new product development and innovation.

The CIPD advise that career management is not just about providing advice to employees; it’s about creating a partnership whereby employers can guide employees to develop the capabilities they need tomorrow but within a context which recognises that individuals are different and will have different expectations and requirements from a career.

HR professionals need to design career management strategies predicated on an employee-based perspective. Initiatives need to be personalised for each employee, tailored to their motivations and values and appropriate for their situation and aspirations. Workers are more likely to leave if their career expectations are not met, so it is short-sighted not to try to meet expectations at some level.
•    Lead from the top – without support and commitment from senior management any career development system will have trouble taking flight. All managers and executives need to be trained to talk about career management with their staff.
•    This is not just an issue for HR;  employees are responsible for their own development with the organisation encouraging personal choice and initiative and empowering career development. Tailoring interventions to the actual needs of the individual will be more effective in the long term than simply concentrating effort on organisational needs.
•    Deliver on promises – saying you offer CM is a good start but you have to actually do it. If you don’t deliver you will damage morale and productivity, and likely have an adverse effect on staff turnover. To have a real effect on employee engagement ensure that you cater for employees’ career aspirations and development needs.
•    Measure, assess and evaluate the effectiveness of your CM programmes. Monitor employee and manager feedback on a regular and ongoing basis. Career management is an ongoing process and HR must make a long-term commitment to monitor progress and success.

The CIPD says good CM drives engagement; poor CM breeds dissatisfaction. Research suggests effective CM helps to shape the talent and capability the organisation will need to meet its future objectives and priorities. 

Employees are increasingly happy to invest time and money in career development and more prepared to move jobs to develop their careers. Given the economic climate, talent shortages and skills gaps, there seems a real risk that a lack of career support coupled with failure to understand what motivates employees could lead to disengagement and continued failure to build productivity.

Effective CM benefits both organisation and employee; far from prompting individuals to leave organisations, building their employability actively drives engagement, job satisfaction and employment. Those who do not feel engaged or feel that the organisation is not interested in their career, are likely to seek to fulfil career aspirations elsewhere.

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