In the new world of work, many professionals feel conflicted or confused when it comes to growth, their futures, and what career development really means. Many motivated professionals have taken career development into their own hands by hopping from job to job in order to gain skills and experience, and many have been compensated handsomely for their efforts. There’s a distinct disconnect between the traditional picture of career success (defined by position and promotions) and today’s morphing, expanding definition of careers and career development.
We’ve seen this uncertainty play out through the Great Resignation and the Great Reshuffle, leaving employers wondering how to deal with employee dissatisfaction and hold on to their workforces. What we know now is that promotions and positions aren’t the entirety of career development. Instead, it’s time for a mindset shift in how we evaluate career development and the impact it can have on employee satisfaction.
Why the change?
Even before the pandemic, organizations were experiencing significant flux in their workforces. Then, COVID came, and employees began to reconsider their relationships with work in parallel with other societal and paradigm shifts. The following is a brief summary of some of the common topics in professional circles over the past couple of years:
- Employees of younger generations may not identify personally with their work or specific roles.
- The experience economy, in which experiences drive greater happiness than objects, has been seeping into the workplace.
- Employees want jobs that do more than just pay the bills.
- Promotions are not as plentiful with increasingly linear org charts.
- The ability for employees to work remotely has widened the talent pool.
- A significant portion of the workforce is comprised of contractors and contingency workers.
- The gig economy is changing employee expectations and behavior.
- Employees expect, and even demand, more choice and flexibility.
Given these profound changes, a new definition and approach is needed for career development satisfaction and success. The good news is that many of the firms successfully recruiting talent in today’s workplace offer a wide range of opportunities beyond, between, and beside promotions and role changes. With the right training tools, employees can reskill, upskill, and take on new challenges that contribute to their career development and fulfillment. And it’s not only the employee that stands to gain—World Economic Forum research shows that wide-scale investment in reskilling and upskilling has the potential to boost GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030.
L&D can work closely with HR in the career development space
Where the promotions process has typically been managed by HR, the L&D function now has an important role to play in facilitating career development by providing tools for employees to learn on the job and chart their own career paths. Ongoing education can help employees think about their own careers and provide expansive learning opportunities that increase their skills and scope. Technology-based learning experiences can be used to train leaders to provide career coaching and counseling—which is what Blueline did for one well-known global company.
The company’s goal was to attract, develop, and retain top talent by ensuring they were introducing career planning processes and tools that would maximize the right opportunities for the individual and the business—fairly, consistently, and transparently. The company needed help figuring out how to keep people motivated, fully engaged, and growing as they progressed in their careers through an equitable and empowering assessment and coaching process.
To do this, the company implemented technology that assessed individual employee motivations and likelihood of success as a leader. Everyone in the organization who wanted to be considered for leadership had the opportunity to be evaluated. But what if the assessment determined that an individual didn’t have the aptitude or for other reasons wasn’t eligible? What if people chose not to take the assessment, even if the company wanted them to? Blueline needed to help leaders navigate tricky conversations and ensure the right people were filling the leadership pipeline.
Our solution was to develop an immersive, scenario-based simulation to help supervisors develop the skills and confidence necessary for effective pre-and post- talent assessment development planning conversations with employees. Equipping supervisors with these skills helped them to reframe career development beyond outdated expectations and better align with today’s dynamic, employee-centric environment.
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Embracing alternative avenues for development
If organizations continue to equate career development with promotions, they’ll only perpetuate the expectation that growing means going somewhere—which includes going to another company! On the other hand, by reframing career coaching conversations in the context of learning and development, organizations can adopt a more inclusive and fulfilling approach that helps every employee plan for careers that maximize individual engagement and satisfaction.
Is your organization adopting an integrated, transparent approach to career planning, performance management, compensation, and skill development? We can help.
Contact the learning experts at Blueline Simulations.